By M Doyo
Mount Kenya Politics are dynamic, independent and unpredictable. However much Ruto assisted Uhuru Kenyatta to clinch the presidency, expecting that Kikuyus will return the favour is at best, a tall order. And this is not because Kyuks are ungrateful lot. No! But because elections to them is not just about returning favours. It goes beyond that simple logic. Electing a president is all about “safety and protection”. Nothing else.
Kikuyus over the years have made fortunes, either legally or illegally. Most of them are hardworking coupled with an entrepreneurial spirit which in turn has made them quite prosperous. As such the presidency for them is not about directly bringing them development but offering protection from “external interference” plus creation of an enabling environment to live and work in.
Since Post independence period, a narrative has existed among Central Kenya residents that they are a target by jealous, “less hardworking” communities and as such would never gamble voting for a president from another community. They would rather die with one of their own. Perhaps this explains why the likes of of the late Njenga Karume and the larger GEMA team wanted to block Moi from ascending to the presidency after the death of Jomo. Moi however was too bright for them.
This “target” narrative coined by Central Kenya political figures and the infamous ‘mount Kenya Mafia’ is deeply rooted especially among rural folk.
The same Narrative has been peddled over and again about Raila as a “perceived’ enemy of the Kikuyu.
What does this mean to Ruto’s quest for presidency? Ruto should only get comfortable that he will one day become a president only if kyuks have developed trust towards him that once he takes over the presidency, they will be “safe”.
And as you ponder about whether Kyuks fully trust Ruto, put in mind that 2007/08 PEV happened where a section of them living in the rift were either Killed or forcefully evicted. To some of them, the heart still bleeds and neither have they forgotten or forgiven the atrocities.
In addition, President Uhuru come 2022 will be obsolete just like Kibaki is, currently in central Kenya. He cannot convince even his relatives vote his preferred candidate. In 2013, I watched as he helplessly campaigned for Mary Wambui’s rival but Wambui still won.
Despite Uhuru’s blessings, most of TNA candidates in Nyeri were floored too. This should explain the independent mindedness of a central Kenya voter. The “Political King” about to exit the stage has almost zero influence on their voting patterns.