The Standard Group Plc is a multi-media organization with investments in media platforms spanning newspaper print operations, television, radio broadcasting, digital and online services. The Standard Group is recognized as a leading multi-media house in Kenya with a key influence in matters of national and international interest.
  • Standard Group Plc HQ Office,
  • The Standard Group Center,Mombasa Road.
  • P.O Box 30080-00100,Nairobi, Kenya.
  • Telephone number: 0203222111, 0719012111
  • Email: [email protected]

A Ruto presidency and Moi's 100 years of Kanu rule edict

 President-elect William Ruto (right) with the late President Daniel Moi during a past event in Eldoret. [File, Standard]

At the height of clamour for multi-party politics in the early 1990s, one of the loyal lieutenants of the late President Daniel Moi, Joseph Kamotho, made a proclamation that Kanu would rule for 100 years.

Then, many laughed him off as a deluded sycophant, as signs were there for all to see that the Kanu era was coming to an end.

The statement was later reinforced by Moi and after 57 years, another Moi's protege is set to take office as the fifth president.

In a recent interview with The Sunday Standard, Wilson Leitich, a former Nakuru Kanu branch chairman, echoed the late Moi's sentiments, saying with a Ruto presidency, it is now evident that Kanu will rule for 100 years.

"Mzee Moi spoke of 100 years. Already, we have done about 57 years since independence and Kanu is still in control either directly or indirectly and we still have Gideon Moi in active politics," said the elderly Leitich.

When Kenyans ushered in a new political dawn with the introduction of multi-party politics, it was believed the old order was being swept away.

Three decades later, however, as the country prepares to swear in the fifth president, it is clear that the late Kamotho was not wrong after all.

Dr William Ruto, who will be taking the oath of office on Tuesday, September 10 at the Kasarani Stadium in Nairobi, was a key member of the independence part.

Ruto was a 'Kanu damu' type in the months leading up to the late President Moi's succession in 2002.

An articulate politician, he threw his weight behind Uhuru Kenyatta, Moi's preferred successor.

Mr Ruto joined politics in 1992, having been mentored, he says, by Moi. He was part of the youth for Kanu that was tasked with mobilising voters for the party at the height of the multi-party elections held the same year.

Ruto serves after President Uhuru, who was plucked from political obscurity before beginning a dizzying climb through the ranks of Kanu then.

Uhuru was not elected in 2002 but stayed on up to 2013 when he took the leadership mantle from Mwai Kibaki, who had also served under Moi as the vice president.

Ruto's key ally in Kenya Kwanza Alliance, Musalia Mudavadi is another Moi protege, who in November 2002 was named vice president and served for only two months.

The ANC leader is now set for a government position in President Ruto's administration and may be next in line in the Ruto succession matrix.

Others in the category include Kalonzo Musyoka, who served under the Kanu regime as an assistant minister for works, housing and physical planning (1986-1988).

He is another student of Moi, who is still in active politics and still has time to make a stab at the presidency in 2027.

The Wiper leader served under the Kanu regime from 1986 to 2001, when he rose from an assistant minister to a full cabinet minister.

He was one of the Kanu vice chairman, who fervently hoped that Moi would tap them to be the presidential candidate in the 2002 General Election.

Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Presidential candidate Raila Odinga, who lost to Ruto in the August 9 polls, also had a political stint in Kanu.

On March 18, 2002, the merger of Kanu and the National Development Party (NDP)-under Raila, was approved by their delegates.

It was then believed that the two political parties merged to increase their chances of winning the 2002 General Election since the NDP was the second largest opposition party and commanded massive support in the country.

However, in July 2002, Moi did not endorse Raila as Kanu presidential candidates, which said one of the preconditions for Kanu-NDP merger.

Instead Moi endorsed Uhuru and as a result Raila and former NDP leaders joined the National Rainbow Coalition (Narc), eventually ended the Kanu rule.

Professor Gitile Naituli points out that the fact that most leaders are voted out in every election, there is a core of number who still have their political links back to Kanu.

"Looking at the current political scenario, it will take the country a very long time to end the dominance of the Kanu era politicians in our national politics," he observes.

He says Kanu's dominance in the country's top leadership can be traced since independence.

"Since Kenya gained independence on December 12, 1963, it has been shaped primarily by Kanu. From the late Mzee Jomo Kenyatta, the late Moi and now Ruto, I do not think that the country has seen the last of the Kanu products," Prof Naituli observes.

Although the party has changed significantly, during the more than five decades of existence, it has produced two of the five presidents.

Jomo Kenyatta and Moi were elected on the Kanu ticket, while Kibaki, Uhuru and Ruto won the races on different parties but they trace their political roots from the independence party.

Former Baringo Senator Gideon Moi, a scion of President Moi is now at the helm of the party and still has big political ambitions.

Gideon took over the leadership of Kanu from Uhuru in 2012 and has kept it vibrant over the years.

Kanu last fielded a presidential candidate in the 2002 General Election and its candidate Uhuru lost to the former president the late Mwai Kibaki.

Gideon's reign in Kanu begun on April 14, 2012 after a national delegates conference held at Kasarani Stadium ousted Uhuru as the party chairman. Kanu has survived in an environment where many political parties last only up to one election cycle. The party had ruled for nearly 40 years after independence from the British colonial rule in 1963 until its electoral loss in 2002.

Related Topics


Trending Now


Popular this week