The Mt Kenya communities are in the radar of everyone else in the republic. Their actions and utterances about 2022 will be judged harshly than any other community’s. This is because at some point they have been perceived as beneficiaries of overwhelming support from other communities.
In 2002, one of their own Mwai Kibaki was voted to the man by all communities except the Kalenjins who voted for another Kikuyu Uhuru Kenyatta. The actions of Kibaki and his henchmen caused a breakaway which led to the bitter divorce between him and Raila Odinga and his party. This and many other factors led to the rallying call of 41 against 1 which gave birth to 2007/2008 post-election violence.
Fast forward to 2013 and 2017. The presidential candidate for Jubilee who was a Kikuyu was overwhelmingly supported by the Kalenjin community with a promise that they will reciprocate in 2022. This was behind the backdrop of rejection by many other political players and the threat of the ICC hanging on their necks.
The duo of Uhuruto went ahead to form the government after both elections. The truth is, without William Ruto, Uhuru would not have formed the government. He needed him. In the Kenyan context, it was seen as a Kikuyu win and not Uhuru’s. The celebrations that followed around Mt Kenya did not help the perception.
The handshake between Uhuru and Raila came and some jitters were felt especially by those who feel that the handshake was meant to puncture the wheels of Ruto’s dream of becoming the president. Mt Kenya has been seen to entertain an idea of voting for Raila as the president of Kenya. This is where the catch is.
The community is in a situation my psychology lecturer taught us those days in the university. Approach-approach conflict. This is like a situation where you have two girlfriends with the same weaknesses and similar strengths. Your job of choosing which one to marry is a cornering conflict. You just close your eyes and choose one. The problem is, if you choose Girl A and leave out Girl B and vice versa, your relationship with either will never be the same again.
Unless the two girls come together and agree to get married to you, you cannot always win. There has been a positive relationship between the Kalenjins and the Kikuyus since the run-up to 2013 general elections too. The chemistry has been beefed up by the relationship between Uhuru and Ruto.
No matter what, the relationship between the Kikuyus and the Kalenjins should always remain cordial. When the two are fighting, the casualties go beyond imagination. The handshake has also brought some peace between the rivals and it is a good thing. It should remain so.
That brings me to my point exactly. If Ruto and Raila come together and both get supported by the Kikuyu community, the long-awaited healing and reconciliation will be achieved. This is because both leaders have endeared themselves to the community; deservedly so.
If I were Ruto this is what I would do. I would seek Raila’s blessings in becoming the president. Imagine Raila and Uhuru plus their supporters voting and supporting Ruto. This will be history. The main antagonists in the political arena will have come together to kill the tribal dragon that has been eating its own children.
This will even be better if Raila is not on the ballot but supports Ruto. This is possible. Anything is possible in Kenyan politico. If Kikuyus can work with Kalenjins after what transpired after the bungled 2007 elections, anything is possible in Kenya. Kikuyus will have hit two birds with one stone.
In Chinua Achebe’s short story The Voter, Rufus Okeke happens to be in the same situation as the Kikuyus of this country. He is the chief campaigner for Marcus Ibe and one night, he is approached by the Chief campaigner for Maduka and he is bribed to vote for him (Maduka). He accepts the bribe and is sworn under a spell and promised dire consequences if he does not vote for Maduka.
On the material day of voting, he tears the ballot paper into two and puts in both ballot boxes marked for Marcus Ibe and Maduka then says, ‘’I vote for Maduka.’’ In this case, he betrays none. In the Kenyan context, Marcus Ibe and Maduka will be on the same side. Kikuyus will vote for them and pay two debts in one. Forget about Uthamaki mentality of a few of them led by that short man from Nyeri.
All Ruto and Raila will have to do is to promise Mt Kenya a chunk of the national cake and protection of their interests and they will be home and dry. I believe this is the game Uhuru is playing. There may be a referendum to cater for many interests in the political arena though at the expense of Wanjiku, Nyaboke, Nekesa, Atieno and Chepchumba. A topic for another day.