By JUMA KWAYERA
A longstanding rivalry in central Kenya is adding impetus to the on-going search in the region for President Kibaki’s successor.
Political realignments in the past three months point to the region’s willingness to shed perceptions of its hegemonic hold on power to avoid a repeat of 2007 when the opposition mobilised the electorate against Mt Kenya chauvinism, blamed for entrenched ethnicity in Kibaki’s two tenures.
The ‘restructuring’ is a boon to candidates from outside Mt Kenya, with Prime Minister Raila Odinga and Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi looking to benefit.
An ensuing class struggle, picked momentum after the 2008 post-election violence, in which the common folk bore the brunt for not supporting other tribes.
Thus, present and past circumstances are forcing the elite – described as the aristocracy – from Central Kenya to reach out to other communities, a development that has seen the region attempt to align themselves to Raila and Mudavadi, his former ally, should the case Uhuru Kenyatta faces at the International Criminal Court impede him from running.
The battle for Central votes has rekindled another fierce rivalry between the Kikuyu aristocrats as epitomised by former Kiambu ruling clique and the commoners – represented by those from beyond River Chania.
During Kibaki’s 10-year tenure, Kiambu, which did not vote for him in 2002, has tended to hog government appointments and businesses, but retired Anglican Church Archbishop David Gitari says, there has not been uproar in the region because the President tried to balance representation during his tenure.
“It is true Kiambu did not want to cede power. They did not want the flag to go beyond River Chania. The euphoria we are seeing about Uhuru is about his money or a former son of president. A gradual revolt is building up because some people believe they can be ruled by someone from outside the region,” says Gitari.
The revolt, it turns out is against 20 or so extremely wealthy businessmen, who include the President, accused of taking the rest of the community to the guillotine in 2007/2008 post-election violence.
Young generation politicians The Standard on Sunday interviewed are talking of an itwika (in Kikuyu) or ntwiko (in Meru) phenomenon – a generational change – that is challenging the older order that has