An open letter to Uhuru Kenyatta

By Kiriro wa Ngugi

Let me admit that your quest for State House is off to a great start. Signing up William Ruto as your running mate was no doubt a significant strategy in the ethnic arithmetic that invariably drives Kenyan politics.

But your candidature for President, while facing charges at the ICC comes with certain consequences, least of which is potential damage to the spirit of Chapter Six of the Constitution.

Despite the façade of legal and logistical finesse, the ICC is a tool for political intervention and regime change in Africa by former European colonial powers. Thus, in my view, respect for the ICC process by Kenyans is an act of self-hate.

It is therefore perfectly legitimate to seek a “referendum on the ICC process” but to posit that your election as president is the equivalent of such a referendum is reckless and dishonest.

It is reckless because it risks international sanctions against Kenya as a country and dishonest because it is crafted to serve your personal interests ahead of the greater national interests.

We do not need to elect you or anyone else the president as a referendum methodology. If we had our mind to it, we would and in fact we should, frame a separate referendum question as to whether to continue subscribed to the Rome Statute or not and run it co-currently with elections.

We all know that your political fortunes turned on the ICC process, which omitted to include the two principle protagonists in the disputed 2007 Presidential race – President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga. Had these two been listed, your political star would not have soared as high as it has today.

Your current political clout therefore stems from the people’s collective backlash to a misguided, naive and jaundiced Parliament that handed us over to Western powers who promptly brought in the ICC process.

But the people have vigorously protested this and in so doing have anointed you as their trustee holding political clout on their behalf. You should thus use it only to their optimal benefit.

It is for this reason that signs of a suffocating political atmosphere you seem hell bent to create in the Mt Kenya region should be stemmed before they spawn into full-blown political tyranny and dictatorship.

I will illustrate these signs and fears with examples. First, Alliance Party of Kenya has complained loudly that they have been humiliated, not once or twice but repeatedly in their sincere effort to forge a viable, mutually beneficial political alliance with TNA and you as their presidential candidate.

GNU leaders are also on record over similar complaints. APK draws its largest support from the Meru people who form an important part of the Mt Kenya community.

GNU also draws support largely from central Kenya. Where is the sense in humiliating these other political leaders? What does this attitude say about you as a person? Mr Uhuru, sir, please be benevolent and accommodating; we haven’t elected you yet.

Second, given the political clout TNA enjoys in your backyard of Kiambu County, the TNA nomination process is effectively the actual competitive general elections in the county. Anyone who gets a TNA nomination paper is virtually assured of the seat they are seeking on March 4  or so it would seem.

TNA recently ‘elected’ its officials who will oversee party nomination in Kiambu County. It was a violent fiasco, chairs flying in the air in full view of TV cameras. The entire programme appeared choreographed to achieve exactly the end result obtained.

The person selected to chair the panel is a well-known court poet of one of the aspirants for governor.

Has TNA in this instance demonstrated commitment to a free and fair party nomination?

Moreover, not-so-clear position on this despicable violent fiasco in your home county operates in the public mind, as your tacit personal approval of hooliganism as a political tool.

Any adverse perception of integrity and character in the person who becomes Kiambu governor in such circumstances therefore impacts on your personal honour and standing.

The strictures of honour, rather than law, allow us to demand from you a duty of care over the integrity and character of all persons seeking positions of leadership on a TNA ticket; yourself included. Your candidature resonates with the people because there is a bigger picture; the ICC process was itself political and must be countered politically.

But please be warned, back home in Kiambu, the people will not tolerate tyranny be it from TNA or any other quarters.

The writer is a consultant on public affairs and policy