Is it fair or right for a country of more than 40 tribes to be led in all of its history by only two communities which exchange presidential leadership?
The answer is clearly a resounding “NO.”
Since independence, Kenya has been led by the Kikuyu, who have dominated presidential leadership and the Kalenjin, who luckily got in between on account of Kenyatta naming Moi as his vice-president, not with a view to one day succeed him, but altogether for different reasons.
Moi just managed—and initially barely so—to cling to the presidency upon Kenyatta’s death.
No one expected Moi to last more than the constitutionally provided 90 days within which a new president was to be elected—or more accurately, selected among the ruling class, elections merely being a rubber-stamping of some kind.
Thanks to the likes of the eminent Briton who never was Sir Charles Njonjo, Moi quickly figured how to entrench himself as president and the rest is history, including the fact he ended up ruling our country more than Mzee Jomo Kenyatta.
Moi was, of course, succeeded by Kibaki, another Kikuyu as our next president.
Interestingly and really the point of this blog, Moi himself preferred another Kikuyu and none other than Kenyatta’s son Uhuru to succeed him.
Thanks to efforts by political giants like Raila, Moi’s Uhuru project was resoundingly rejected by Kenyans who ushered in Kibaki in a euphoric election of 2002 which many believed would lead in transforming the country.
They were wrong as soon after being sworn in as president, Kibaki defaulted to yet another tribalist president stuffing all key government positions with his cronies and other members from his community.
So much so one embassy was staffed by members from his community, one passing by and hearing ordinary day to day chat in the office would be rightly mistaken to believing they were deep in a village from Kibaki’s neighborhood.
With the dominance in presidential leadership, so has been the case in the allocation of resources in the country besides jobs, which clearly and indisputably favor the Kikuyu community.
This is simply neither right nor fair as other communities are left to scramble for crumbles, if at all.
One of the reasons Raila has been mercilessly opposed in the Mount Kenya region is because there are many there who believe presidential leadership belongs there and no one should even bother seeking to yank it from them.
Uhuru, for his part, believes presidential leadership is his birthright.
Both notions are wrong for several reasons.
First, Kenya as in many other countries has never embraced dynastic rule, even though one can argue that the dominance by one community in presidential leadership is no different from a dynastic rule.
Voters must reject this notion of dynastic rule come March 4, 2013.
Second, underlying the thinking among those who hold the view presidential leadership belongs to the Mt. Kenya community is this sense of misguided belief that one community from that area is particularly superior to all others, which is pure nonsense.
It’s actually this kind of thinking that has created hatred and animosity among tribes of all manner in many countries, most notably Rwanda where the 1994 genocide is attributed to this backward superiority based ethnic and tribal divide.
Third, closely related to this backward superiority thinking, is tribalism.
There are those from the Mt. Kenya region who believe that no other tribe other than theirs can lead the country.
This is obviously so wrong and backward there is no need to elaborate as to why other than to say we are all Kenyans and each community has the right as any to have a president elected from within its community.
To say this or that community cannot lead a country is both nonsensical and primitive those holding the view must be ashamed, if they have any shame at all.
Fourth, there are those who argue it’s discriminatory or a form of tribalism to urge Kikuyus to give us a break from yet another presidency from the community.
This is simply not the case; there is nothing discriminatory, divisive or tribalist in making the plea or holding this view.
Indeed, there are many from the very same community who have made the same plea and see nothing wrong with it, which there isn’t.
This is just a question of fundamental fairness to say other communities also must be given the opportunity to lead the nation.
It’s also a question of fatigue; we are simply tired of being led by one community.
This is not even a phenomena confined to Kenya as other countries have much come to the same conclusion as to their own presidential leadership.
In the United States, for example, former president George H Bush was followed a few years later by his son George W Bush as president—this in a country with a population of more than 300 million.
When George H Bush’s other son and former governor of Florida Herbert Bush wanted to run for president in 2012, he was prevailed upon by people who told him it was not a wise move because Americans were simply tired of being led by the Bushes and besides it was akin to trying to create a ruling dynasty, which Americans long rejected.
Hebert Bush heeded the advice and did not vie and rightly so.
Someone should have prevailed on Uhuru not to vie for the same reasons but that would have been an exercise in futility as the man is determined to vie for reasons that go beyond his belief the presidency is his birthright or that the same belongs to his community.
Fifth, the constitution attempts to force this issue of not having one tribe win the presidency merely due to its numeric majority by the strict requirements as to who can be sworn as president, especially in its regional vote requirements but that’s not enough to prevent yet another Kikuyu from being elected as president, at least not this time around, given we have already had two presidents from the community.
It’ll take the wisdom of Kenyans going to the polls on March 4, 2013 to make that happen as it should.
Again, there is nothing tribalistic, divisive or discriminatory in urging our brothers and sisters from the Kikuyu community from giving us a break from yet another presidency; this is just a question of fairness and fatigue anyone objective would have to see it that way.
As others have said before, the election of Raila Odinga as our next president will go a long way in ending tribalism and his harvesting of votes in the former Central province will be key in that outcome.
Thus, those from the region must ask themselves is it in the country’s interest to end tribalism and if so, would they like to be a part of that eventuality which is certain to come, anyway.
On the other hand, the election of Uhuru Kenyatta will be condemnation of the country to dominance of one tribe at the expense of all others, which is unfair, not right and undemocratic notwithstanding its occurring in a democratic process.