In March 2002, then Vice President George Saitoti was removed from his position as second in command in KANU in an acrimonious delegates conference at Kasarani.
This dealt a big blow to Prof Saitoti’s chances of succeeding President Moi. His removal paved way for four positions of vice-chairmen that were given to Musalia Mudavadi, who represented Western, Katana Ngala for Coast, Uhuru Kenyatta for Central and Kalonzo Musyoka for Eastern.
Saitoti did not know Moi had by-passed him as his successor and was secretly grooming Uhuru, then a political novice, to succeed him. This marked the beginning of pedigree, class and royalty in Kenya’s second generation political leadership.
In August 2002, Moi told Saitoti to his face that they were friends but could not trust him with political leadership. Saitoti, who had served as VP for over 13 years, felt betrayed.
Circumstances of 2002 and the present time, ahead of 2022 polls may be different but succession plans are similar.
Saitoti was not removed for lack of leadership credentials or ability to occupy the big office but lack of royal linage which had started establishing itself in local politics. He was a victim of emerging politics of nobility versus bourgeois and the proletariat.
Ten years later, Kalonzo Musyoka, who had been President Kibaki’s VP for five years was elbowed out ahead of the 2013 elections, to clear way for Uhuru Kenyatta, who went ahead to become Kenya’s fourth president.
The point is, history will most likely repeat itself ahead of 2022 elections. President Kenyatta is highly likely to elbow out Deputy President William Ruto for Baringo Senator Gideon Moi as his preferred successor.
And this kind of political succession is not unique to Kenya. In India, Jawaharlal Nehru family has ruled for about 40 years of the 70 years the country has been independent.
Nehru’s daughter Indira Gandhi and her son Rajiv Gandhi became prime ministers. Singapore had the Lee Kuan Yew dynasty and so is that of Bush and Clinton in the US. These are but a few examples of democratic dynasties.
So if Uhuru by-passes Ruto for Gideon, he will only be doing what seems the norm in the world. In most cases, leaders are made by their predecessors, not their own effort.
This is even Biblical. When Adonijah, King David’s second son, who was the heir apparent to the throne, exalted himself, the king was angry. He elbowed him out and had Solomon anointed king.
And Ruto is seemingly taking the path Adonijah took. He says he is self-made but Uhuru’s preference is likely to carry the day and Senator Moi is the man to watch.