President Uhuru Kenyatta has for the first time hit out at leaders who claim some powerful political families are scheming to retain State power, saying that politics has little to do with an individual’s origin, even as he called for political decency.
In what was clearly a response to a section of the political class, who have argued that his March 2018 handshake with opposition chief Raila Odinga was the propagation of politics of dynasties, the President said he will only engage with leaders who have a positive mind on the future of the country.
“When you hear people out there talk about dynasties … sijui mtu fulani ni dynasty, sijui ile dynasty (so and so belongs to this dynasty, or that dynasty). It’s not about that,” the President said during the memorial service for Kenya’s first President, Mzee Jomo Kenyatta, at Holy Family Basilica yesterday.
“Leadership is not about where you were born or where you came from. It’s not about the colour of your skin or about tribe. Leadership is the desire to serve; the desire to do good and make a difference in the lives of the people.”
Deputy President William Ruto has been at the forefront of selling the notion that it is time for the son of a poor man to rise to power using the vote and not a name.
His allies have in the past declared that President Kenyatta and Mr Odinga’s political pact is a ploy by dynasties to block Dr Ruto from succeeding President Kenyatta in 2022.
It has not made matters any easier when you draw Baringo Senator Gideon Moi and Amani leader Musalia Mudavadi into the mix. Both leaders started off as scions of their fathers.
The DP’s allies have declared the 2022 presidential contest as a duel between ‘dynasties’ and ‘hustlers’ after President Kenyatta and Mr Odinga’s handshake, which they say is a ploy by the two families to entrench their hold on national politics.
Soon after the arrest of former National Treasury CS Henry Rotich and PS Kamau Thugge on allegations of corruption in the construction of Kimwarer and Arror dams, Kapseret MP Oscar Sudi accused President Kenyatta’s administration of being the most incompetent since Independence and dared the President to resign.
The MP pushed the narrative that the haves (dynasties) cannot share the spoils with the have nots (hustlers).
“I want to tell you that dynasties have no mercy. Sisi kama wanyonge tumeumia. (We are suffering as the poor). Mr Thugge and Mr Rotich should know they have outlived their importance and it is now time to dump them,” said Mr Sudi.
On Thursday, the President challenged politicians to practice decent politics, reminding them that the impact they leave behind will be remembered in many generations to come.
“Even as we engage in politics, let’s do so in a decent manner because we are here today and gone tomorrow,” he said, even as he insisted that leaders must focus on doing things that will change the lives of the people they lead.
“My plea today is, what is it that each one of us can do, that makes a difference and impact on the lives of people in a positive way. I am willing to engage anyone with that desire that will create a positive society.”
At the function, Dr Ruto praised the founding President, saying he built a strong foundation upon which his successors have constructed a strong nation.
Thursday’s memorial service was the 41st since the death of Kenya’s first President, Mzee Jomo Kenyatta, in 1978.
However, the President announced that the family had decided that henceforth the memorial service would be conducted privately, ending an annual ritual that has existed for the past 37 years.
The day has always been marked with the laying of wreaths at the founding President’s mausoleum at Parliament Buildings, followed by a memorial service at the nearby Holy Family Basilica, Nairobi.