By Francis Ngige
Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta’s Saturday statement on why he could sacrifice his presidential ambition has sparked speculation in his central Kenya political bedrock.
The pronouncement made during the burial of former Internal Security Minister George Saitoti has also given the region mixed signals as the President Kibaki succession race enters the homestretch.
Uhuru asked mourners at the burial to emulate Saitoti, but curiously added he was ready to sacrifice his personal ambition for the sake of national unity.
Uhuru, who has previously insisted his name would be on the presidential ballot paper despite the serious charges lined against him at The Hague, suggested he might consider giving up his ambition “for the sake of the country”.
“I want to state here that I’m prepared to give up my own ambition in order to take this country where Hon Saitoti wanted,” said Uhuru. He was eulogising Saitoti, who gave up his presidential ambition in 2002.
The unexpected pronouncement by Uhuru has opened speculation within the political circles that he may, after all, decide not to contest the presidency in the General Election.
With talks that his fellow Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi may be President Kibaki’s choice of a successor, the telling statement by Uhuru has added another twist to the succession debate.
Mudavadi has, however, categorically denied he was anyone’s “project” insisting he was his own man ready to fight it out in the presidential election.With Uhuru’s statement coming at a time presidential hopefuls are criss-crossing the country seeking support, the political game may be changing.
Uhuru supporters are now unsure whether the DPM is still in the presidential race or he is about to defer his ambition.