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Mr President, retire means pack your bags and leave

By Barrack Muluka | Apr 22nd 2022 | 3 min read
By Barrack Muluka | April 22nd 2022
President Uhuru Kenyatta at State House, Nairobi. April 22, 2022. [PSCU]

To retire is not to go into disguise. It is to pack up your bags and go.

You leave the stage and make room for someone else. You don’t hang around, wearing a mask, stage managing them. This is what the Constitution of Kenya (2010) says. No matter how efficient, or popular you may be, you must leave the presidential stage, for example, after two terms of five years each.

This is what Narc Kenya Party Leader, Martha Karua, had in mind when, in February, she advised President Uhuru Kenyatta to serve his term and leave. Addressing her party’s National Delegates Conference in Nairobi, Ms Karua shot like an ace archer, 

“I want to tell any fellow lawyers who may try to misinterpret the Constitution. The term limit (for President) means 10 years to steer the nation at the top. You (then) exit. This is irrespective of your age. You could even be 40. When the term limit is over, you go home and do other things.” 

Such things do not include going into another guise so that you can continue doing the same things you have been doing. Ms Karua has since joined a political entity that is headed by the same President Uhuru Kenyatta.

The Azimio Council is the topmost organ of the Azimio la Umoja-One Kenya Alliance.

Listed at the very top of the hierarchy as Chairman is President Kenyatta himself. Next is ODM’s Raila Odinga, as Party Leader. Ms Karua is listed as a member of the coalition council, alongside another ten people.

The council is a political entity, as is the alliance itself. Its goal is to capture political power and organise how it is exercised, and by whom.

Power matrix

As part of this agenda, President Kenyatta and Raila are already looking at various personalities and how they could fit into the power matrix. The latest device in their toolkit is former Nairobi Deputy Governor, Mr Polycarp Igathe. He has been tossed on board from nowhere, and positioned as Nairobi County Governor in waiting.

While this has upset many earlier dreams in the Jubilee Party and ODM alike, a more significant concern is the President’s intent to migrate with Raila into the next dispensation. As Azimio la Umoja-One Kenya chair, he is already arranging a possible government for tomorrow. The return of Igathe is only one move on this chessboard.

Wider schemes are in the works, to form the Government with Raila, should he become the next president. It is wrong. The president has a constitutional right to support Raila and to campaign for him.

To impose a deputy president and governors, however, is extra-constitutional, if not outright unconstitutional. In the case of Nairobi, President Kenyatta and Raila may even design to appoint the county government with Mr Igathe, if the present designs succeed. 

This disregard for the law is bad. It, especially, sets a bad example for the future. Raila should be free to choose his running mate, for example. He should also form his government without pressure from President Kenyatta, if his presidential effort succeeds.

Death of dreams

Meanwhile, Mr. Igathe and his government – if it is his – should not be dictated by Raila and President Kenyatta. The political dreams of MP Tim Wanyonyi of Westlands and ODM Secretary-General, Edwin Sifuna, are going into the cesspit, as are those of governor Ann Kananu, Agnes Kagure and Richard Ngatia, and their supporters. 

All of these things are playing around a president who does not seem keen to retire. The noble thing is for His Excellency the President to collect his retirement package and go, when the time comes.

He should drop the desire to be a part of the next dispensation. It is against the letter and spirit of the law. If he was never too young to become the president, he can never be too young to retire.

Meanwhile, Kenyans will be waiting to see whether Ms. Karua has won the war against her former self, now that she is an insider.

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