I'm at peace in retirement but I know what they are planning

Former President Uhuru Kenyatta. [Edward Kiplimo, Standard]

Former President Uhuru Kenyatta spoke to journalists in the wake of police harassment of his children and mother.

The following is an abridged version of the 90-minute question-and-answer session on Monday at his residence in Nairobi:

Question: Do you at times feel you are under surveillance by State security?

Uhuru: Yes indeed, that is no secret. They are outside there. They know where I am and where I am going once that gate is opened. This comes with my office, once I chose to run for office my privacy was waived. I told my children (after I retired) that they can now breathe a sigh of relief.

One of your staff Pauline Njoroge was arrested in the Coast allegedly with prohibited substances.

I have heard about that and I am not surprised. There must have been something in that vehicle with SSD plates that they wanted to access my son’s place. There are illegal things they wanted to plant in his house.

Would you share with us the events preceding your going to your son’s house last Friday night?

One thing you need to know is that I temporarily stay in the compound where my son Jomo lives. As you can see the construction here (Caledonia) is still on. I have no other place to stay in Nairobi, unless I go to Ichaweri. That is why my head of security was there, he was there because of me. I was called by my son and because of current technology, we had our fears. Would you open for people who have no papers or warrants and use vehicles with foreign plates?

What was your mood when you arrived?

Many have made false claims but I want to repeat, I was very angry. Very angry. My children have never dabbled in politics. They lead private lives. What do you say of people who target your old mother and children? I would do the same thing if it happened even at the risk of my life. Which parent would didn’t? 

What about the guns said to have been found with your son?

Let me tell you when I retired, the guns my two sons had were withdrawn. I even requested that they be given a year to have them but they said no. They each went at their own time to DCI after applying and were fingerprinted and were each formally issued with three firearms. Each had two pistols and a hunting rifle.

As you know, I now live in a wildlife region and my other son likes hunting birds in Mwea rice fields. One pistol is for their own security and the other for their own bodyguard once each has one. I have the papers for the arms if you want, and they were issued after I left office. You can’t ask why they need security because of the exposure they have. They are Kenyans with their own rights as individuals.

Razed section of Kenyatta family's Northlands farm. [Boniface Okendo, Standard]

What do you have to say on the frequent attacks on the larger Kenyatta Family?

I wish they would focus on me as an individual member of the Kenyatta Family. We are a big family, I think 2,000 members. There are many I don’t know. It is not a crime to come from this family or is it? When my mother’s land (Northlands) was raided and sheep stolen, we reported to the police in Ruiru and Vigilance House, but nothing has been done. Ni stori tu (It is just sweet promises they give).

What do you anticipate will happen soon and do you have credible sources?

I have been a President; I have people who tell me things. I have heard attacks will be staged on the home of one (a CS) then it would be blamed on me over the claims of being Mungiki. I know these things, that is why you even hear of claims about trucks coming into Kenya with firearms. All this is stage-managed. I just wish they could concentrate on leading the country and delivering their promises. I have retired and have no interest in the presidency or politics.

Have your retirement plans gone as you set them?

I have been at peace. I have never had a good family time as I wanted. In fact, I want to go on vacation with my children and grandchildren. Do not say I have run away. I need rest and they need me. I have never been available for them.

What assignments do you have and what do they mean to you?

It is simple, I am doing Pan-African work and that is my hobby. In law, I should be advising the President (Ruto) but this is dependent on whether my advice is solicited. I can’t give if not asked. That is what Kibaki did to Moi and that is what I did with Kibaki; It can’t change now. Once I handed over the instruments of power, I ceded that role of running Kenya. Let them do their work.

How do you think we should take your legacy?

There are those who think I governed terribly, there are those who think I could have done better. That is ok. As for me I did my best, and I know before God I did. I am at peace with what I did and what I achieved.

Describe for us the situation preceding the handover at Kasarani Stadium

My officers prepared the transition process. Ask them, including Kanze Dena here. It was my duty to do so. Even when they warned that I should not go to Kasarani because of a hostile crowd, I said I would because it is my constitutional duty. Remember, I had as per our tradition, welcomed him to State House.