By: Osugo Moseti
Deputy Prime Minister and Jubilee flag bearer Uhuru Kenyatta will be the candidate under more curious scrutiny in todayâ€™s presidential debate than the rest. He comes on stage carrying a lot of baggage some which is self loading. Many are eager to see how he will perform.
Doubts are emerging among Kenyans as to Uhuruâ€™s ability to deal with issues like insecurity in the country. It is alleged that he has had close association with the dreaded Mungiki, an outlawed group that terrorized parts of Central Province, Rift Valley and Nairobi. It is this close association that is the basis of the ICC case against him at The Hague.
Uhuruâ€™s associates in TNA were rumoured to have had contact with the fake assistant commissioner of police – Mr Waiganjo. The fake Assistant Commissioner is yet to make public his damning revelation to the Prime Minister as promised. Such allegations, if true are likely to compromise national security were Uhuru to be elected the next Commander In Chief.
The threat of sanctions by Kenyaâ€™s trading partners puts Uhuruâ€™s ability to deal with insecurity into question; Kenya has been relying heavily on American, Britain, French and even Israeli intelligence and logistical support in the war against terrorism.
Let it not be forgotten that the French Navy played a crucial role in conquering Kismayu. With sanctions, an Uhuru Kenyatta government (sic) will not be able to deal effectively with terrorism.
On the Economy, Uhuru is already weakened to talk authoritatively how to fix the economy. His tenure at the Treasury saw the economy take a downward spiral with the Shilling hitting the lowest exchange rate to the USA dollar in the history of Kenya. The famous computer error wonâ€™t make matters easy either.
On land reforms; Uhuru is expected to offer nothing tangible as his manifesto clearly tries to justify his familyâ€™s land acquisition and instead shift the focus onto land adjudication that targets community or trust land. The Kenyatta family is accused of owning land through proxies in Rift Valley and Coast province the size of which if put together can equal to a ninth province.
Land being an emotive issue, Uhuruâ€™s manifesto is also said to be causing discomfort in regions where land is scarce for instance Gusii land. Many people interviewed do not understand how they will benefit from the tractors Uhuru is promising to import to cultivate farming land.
â€œThere is no land here, even for a family using traditional hoe to tillâ€ said a subsistence farmer in Kisii. To many in Kisii, importing tractors is just a waste of money. That alone is reason enough to move on to another candidate who may be better placed to care of their interests.
At the Coast, the people we interviewed especially the elderly, were full of memories of 1960â€™s about how the founding President Mzee Jomo Kenyatta promised to buy tractors for the area residents only to get people from up country moving to settle at the Coast.
Uhuru is also viewed as the rock of the Kibaki presidency with others speculating that Uhuru rules Kenya through Kibaki, this argument is premised on the fact that Uhuruâ€™s friends got influential positions in the cabinet at the expense of more deserving people like the former Gatanga MP and Eagle Coalition presidential candidate Hon Peter Kenneth.
Uhuru is a very smart politician but his ability to articulate issues is in question. His prep team must prepare him well otherwise it will be a disaster in the premier presidential debate.
Uhuru has often displayed anger and high temperament; he was once caught in camera banging tables at a press conference in Parliament buildings.
Uhuru’s TV interviews have been reviewed badly often due to his display of arrogance and juvenile tactics â€œUhuru is a smart politician, very sharp but he must learn to relax, give the interviewer or host time to ask a question and stop lording it on the host, I am sure you saw his disastrous interview with Al Jazeera two or three weeks ago, that is what he needs to avoidâ€ noted Nicholas Mutembei a Nairobi based media critic.
Lands minister James Orengo at a rally in Kwale asked Kenyans who between Raila and Uhuru is more likely to wake up early enough to deal with the many problems Kenya is facing, to which the crowd responded Raila!
Well, we hope Uhuru will wake up on time and show up for the debate, sober enough to excite his base!