Uhuru: The making of political genius in a crowded field
SEE ALSO :Renewables top 90pc of Kenya’s powerUhuru lay low for two years soul searching before he re-emerged with a public appointment as Kenya Tourism Board chairman, later a nominated MP, a Cabinet minister and a presidential candidate for Kanu, all in quick succession. When he lost the 2002 contest, Uhuru easily settled for the Opposition Leader role, honing his skills. In between the 2002 and 2007 General Election, he had won three major battles. Few remember that he served Kibaki the very dose he gave him, working with Raila to delegitimize and collapse the Narc regime. He also fought and won the battle for the soul of Kanu involving rounds of National Delegates Conference (NDC) meetings in Kasarani. And finally, he won the 2005 Orange versus Banana referendum battle. “It was during those Kasarani NDC’s that he was hardened and nosed for rough and tumble of politics. The genius sparkled on the day our then nemesis Nicholas Biwott bolted in the dead of night and we took charge,” former Jubilee Vice Chairman David Murathe recalled. In the run-up to the 2007 General Election, after dealing Kibaki many a blow, Uhuru pulled a fast one; dumping Raila’s side and closing ranks with the man he had previously described a “see no evil, do no evil and hear no evil” kind of politician.
SEE ALSO :It pays to put cash in empowering people“He tends to listen to as many voices as possible before he makes a decision. He is slow to act impulsively. These two combined predispose to making sound and latent moves,” National Assembly Speaker Justine Muturi says. His unassuming posture and approach to politics easily confuse his enemies. When the spoils of the original handshake between Kibaki and Raila in 2007 were being shared, former Cabinet minister Martha Karua is said to have made a fatal mistake that haunts her today. “She assumed that given the prominent role she had played in protecting the Kibaki presidency, she would be an automatic choice for Deputy Prime Minister position. She was gravely mistaken for Uhuru had long bagged it and walked away, whistling and puffing away,” a source at the heart of grand coalition politics told the Sunday Standard. Dropped him A similar situation obtained in the run-up to the 2013 General Election, this time featuring Kalonzo, another heir to the throne who turned out to have been equally clueless. After entertaining him for a while, Uhuru eventually dropped him like a hot potato, telling him to his office, and in his own home, to forget the presidency and DP. “There was silence in the gazebo. As tension rose, Uhuru suddenly stood up, pushed his seat back and stepped out of the sliding glass door. He walked five steps to the waterfall, removed a packet from his jacket pocket and pulled out a cigarette,” Kalonzo recalled in his recent memoirs. Uhuru then led Ruto in making history as the world’s first pair to be elected President and deputy with an international court indictment hanging around their necks. For Prof Peter Kagwanja, Uhuru is the quintessential democrat and a pragmatic leader. “He has ensured national discourse steers clear of 2022 politics. He has refused to be drawn to play partisan, populist or tribal chieftain but elevated engagements to the bigger common good ideals of the country he leads,” said Prof Kagwanja. Mudavadi says Uhuru is “a nice guy” who would like to please anybody and at some point, he would not even take action even he knows they are wrong. “He is a goodhearted person. He always means well but this sometimes acts against him in terms of making difficult decisions,” said Musalia.
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