I have been asked on several occasions to clarify why I seem to have an issue with Hon Uhuru Kenyatta's politics, and whether it is all about 'party-line'. Now that we are on the home stretch and it is clear that he is one of the two final 'horses' in this race, let me share & you tell me whether it is 'party line'.
Its all about disappointment, & my first disappointment is when I look at how proud I was 10 years ago as this man made national history by becoming the first politician in Kenya’s history to publicly concede defeat in a general election. He did not say he had been rigged out, or that his supporters had been compromised, or that the election body was biased, etc; he admitted he had to a better man, fair and square & that Kenyans had spoken different from his expectations. He wished the new president well & zealously took over the new role of official leader of the opposition.
Unfortunately less than 5 years later he rubbished that concession speech & made history, again; but this time in the negative. He became the first Opposition Leader anywhere in the world to abdicate his office and ‘defect’ in support of the same government Kenyans had been paying him generously to oppose for close to 5 years; presumably because of ethnic considerations.
Another major disappointment was how he dealt with Kenya’s oldest, largest and most organized political party (and only national party at the time), after taking it over from Kenya’s longest serving President in a ceremony full of pomp and glamour. A party that literally influenced who he is today; and which he took over from the Former President despite great resistance from powerful forces around Moi. KANU literally starved to clinical death under his watch.
My third major disappointment goes back again; to what he did 10 years ago. At that point, like Kibaki against Matiba another 10 years earlier, he was nationalistic enough to go against ethnic considerations for what he believed in; even when it meant contesting against a friend and more popular fellow tribesman. Today I see a man who cannot fill a hall with political aspirants without over 70% of them being from only one of the more than 42 Kenyan communities. I also see a dictator who has forced those who do not agree with him in the Mt Kenya region to get into one party; not by the ballot, or perish politically. It was really sad to see Hon Konchellah fold up PNU, then go to URP. I see a man who has turned a community previously recognized internationally for their capacity to resist political dictatorship during both colonial and post independence Kenya, into one where established political leaders are falling over themselves to proclaim their loyalty to him. In a country where this region suffeed in pursuit of multi-party politics he has forced it back to the single-party era!
I now understand why he uses the analogy that Kenyans should not to look in the rear view mirror when driving. He might not have driven himself for decades, but he must know that the easiest way to cause a serious accident, especially in Kenya, is not to look at your rear-view mirror when driving! His message that Kenyans should ignore history as we make crucial decisions on where Kenya should go after the next general election might be about us not looking at his history, but it will hurt our country.
If we do not look back we will not only fail to see his past, but we also will not remember the sacrifice of the Mau Mau; the Kenya Land & Freedom Army that went to fight for land that had been taken from them, but never got it even after the colonialists left. We might not be able to ask why it took 50 years to file a case against the British Government after well documented gross atrocities committed against what we now all celebrate us Kenya’s resistance fighters. We will not be able to ask what happened to over 600 African Independent Pentecostal Church of Africa schools that had been nationalized by the colonial government, after independence.
Uhuru does not want us to look back and ask what happened to JM Kariuki; Pio Gama Pinto: Tom Mboya; Arghwings Kodhek; Haki Wako Taro; Sande Barre; Kitili Mwendwa; etc. He does not want us to celebrate the sacrifices of Kenneth Matiba; Raila Odinga; Njeru Kathangu; Wanyiri Kihoro; Ngugi Wathiongo; Charles Rubia; etc. By asking us not to look at the rear-mirror now maybe he also does not want us to recognize how the attempts to undermine the new constitution today mirror what happened with the Lancaster Constitution.
Or, maybe he just does not want us to look backwards lest we realize how far we have come; and understand how far we will fall if we get it wrong in March 2013