Did Uhuru Kenyatta's advisers get it wrong on Mt Kenya?

President Uhuru Kenyatta when he addressed religious leaders from the Central Kenya region during a non-denominational worship and prayer service at State House Nairobi. 

I am filing this column in the deadlocked moments of Kenya’s presidential election. We voted three days ago.

We are waiting with bated breath for word from the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission.

Between Deputy President William Ruto and ODM leader Raila Odinga, someone will be declared president-elect. It is difficult to tell who, even this late. Tallying by media houses has oscillated from one to the other, the margins slim.

The big numbers have already added up. Now it is small numbers that count. Every plus matters. The smallest single-unit minus is painful. Herein resides the philosophy of everyone coming out to vote. Your vote counts.

If you did not vote, you are to be pitied, even as it remains your democratic right not to vote. The ancient Greeks called a person like you an idiot, as distinguished from the citizen. There was also the tribesman – but let me not go there today. 

The pollsters are biting their fingers. They are looking for where to hide their heads. They gave ridiculous projections, usually in favour of Mr Odinga. The media houses, too. They refused to publish projections by Intel Research Solutions, which can now be vindicated.

They stayed with Tifa and Infotrak, despite the two pollsters’ dubitable opinion polling history. In 2013 and 2017, they consistently indicated that Mr Odinga would beat President Uhuru Kenyatta. They quietly ate humble pie.

Not so different are those who surround alpha male politicians. Do they seem to excel in reading the big man’s lips and singing music into his ears? I have debated on national television with, now former MPs Jeremiah Kioni (Ndaragwa) and Esseli Simiyu (Tongareni) on many occasions. It was always clear that they were backing the wrong tree.

It would cost them their seats, I repeatedly told them on live TV. I was dead wrong, they said. See? When you sit with the big man, please, find a combination of courage, humility and honesty to tell him the truth.

President Uhuru was misled. I know quite a bit, from first-hand interaction, with the rest of the alpha politicians.

I can tell you who is measured, calm and deep.  I know who literally sleeps through the meeting, because his mind is already made up.

I also know who is clueless and shifting, now here now there trying to be everything at once. But I do not know President Uhuru. My assessment of him from his performance in public is, however, of an individual who must have it his way. 

When you have the misfortune of being his advisor, you will listen to his words; and listen also to his emotions. You will tell him what he wants to hear, or go away like Murang’a Governor-designate Irungu Kang’ata.

Those who sit with President Uhuru have done him injustice. They have cost the Jomo Kenyatta Inc its hegemony in Mt Kenya region – and in Kenya. Uhuru will be remembered as the person who dropped the Kenyatta ball.

The mountain might never listen to this family again, thanks to the sycophants who have felled the Mugumo tree.

For irregardles (sic) of who becomes the next president, the mountain has rejected Uhuru’s Raila Odinga-Martha Karua ticket. 

It is a sad way to go home. Uhuru can, however, take solace in the knowledge that he goes not alone, but with his prime choristers – Kanini Kega, Wambugu Ngunjiri, Lee Kinyanjui, Francis Kimemia, Ndiritu Muriithi and Amos Kimunya.

Years to come, people will be looking back and asking, ‘How did this even happen?’ The answer, they listened to my mother’s nephew, Francis Atwoli.

Dr Muluka is a strategic communications advisor.