The ongoing political mudslinging and horse-trading threatening to tear apart President Uhuru Kenyatta’s party has been godsend for a select group of former legislators who have unwittingly jerked to the forefront of national debate years after voters rejected them in their elective posts.
Although a few of them got pity by clinching State appointments, many disappeared from the public eye, but shocked Kenyans this week when they dominated live news broadcasts and public affairs programmes defending President Kenyatta.
On Friday, eager not to miss out on this once-in-a lifetime media spotlight, a group of former MPs and Senators held a press conference to express their support for Uhuru and chastise those talking about 2022 succession politics.
“Ladies and gentlemen of the press, it is clear that you know the people in front of you very well because they have served the country for many years,” former nominated MP Hassan Osman introduced the crowd.
In the entourage were renowned lawmakers who have in recent times fallen off the vicious Kenyan news cycle - Kenyan dalliance with memory loss is legendary.
Barely 24 hours earlier, another posse was at the same venue, Serena Hotel talking about the same issue.
This time though, the caucus was led by Kenya National Congress presidential candidate and party leader Peter Kenneth. Spotting a shadow of a beard and a hint of moustache, Kenneth, looking like a man fresh from a prolonged holiday, willingly accepted to read out a joint statement on behalf of the others.
“We as leaders from Mt Kenya region want to put the record straight on a number of issues in this pointless political discourse,” Kenneth said.
His main bone of contention was the apparent lack of respect for the President.
To his right was former Starehe MP and one time untouchable Maina Kamanda whose ruthless push-back against musician Jaguar, otherwise known as Charles Njagua, earned him (Jaguar) party nomination and a seat in bunge.
At the height of his political prowess, Kamanda’s voice did not need company as it was a sure bet.
To Kenneth’s left was presidential hopeful and Narc leader Martha Karua. The Iron Lady has seen it all, done it all. Served as MP, as a tough-talking, no-nonsense Justice Minister and a presidential hopeful.
However, unlike some of her colleagues who made their way to Serena that afternoon, she had not been entirely forgotten by the public. Through her protracted battle with Anne Waiguru over the governorship of Kirinyaga County, her gender activist and Narc Kenya leadership roles, she has remained relevant.
“The President has said that we should focus on national development and not succession politics,” she said. “Let all Kenyans know that elections are far away and Kenyans have bigger problems…we should not pander to political interest and individual ambitions.”
Kilemi Mwiria sat next to Karua. Kilemi, a heavyweight in his own right and a professor of repute bid his time.
The academic-turned-politician-turned-bureaucrat could not wait his turn to go full circle and remind Kenyans of the politician under the immaculately cut suit.
A few inches behind was formerly vocal legislator Maoka Maore. Although he bounced back to Parliament in 2017 election, Maore has since been flying off populist politics radar for a while.
Yards away was Dennis Waweru, former Dagoreti South MP who once harboured the fiercest of ambition to be Nairobi governor. Looking like a man fresh from his barber’s, he looked every inch of the banker that he is, but unable to satisfy the political itch somewhere on his back.
Others, like Mary Wambui, smiled on, looking happy enough just to see cameras shining their spotlight on them once again.
The unfolding saga in Jubilee will more likely lead to re-emergence of former political big boys and girls. True to their nature, they will milk this dry, even if it means saying same thing over and over. Secretly, they will thank Moses Kuria and David Murathe for this new stroke of luck as the public struggles to keep up with these returnees.