When President Mwai Kibaki appointed Kenyatta as Minister for Local Government on 8th January 2008 after an extremely controversial election exercise, it was not clear that the son of the first president of Kenya, Mzee Jomo Kenyatta, was destined for enormous responsibilities in the shadows of the President. However, on the mirror of history and power, it would be easy to see that it would be his springboard especially after fomer President D.T Moi nominated him to parliament in 2001 and appointed him a Cabinet Minister in the same docket before controversially proposing him for heir apparent where he vied for presidency for the first time in history.
Uhuru’s golden doors went wide open again when Kibaki made him the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Trade in a coalition government formed between Kibaki and Raila Amolo Odinga in 17th April 2008. Raila became the Prime Minister in the leadership arrangement that was negotiated by African Union led by H.E. Kofi Annan.
In the coalition, it was agreed that the partners share Cabinet in the middle. With the help of Francis Muthaura, it is believed that it was Uhuru who informed the Kibaki side’s allocation of slots to individuals. In the beginning, presence of stronger and more independent persons who included the Vice President Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka’s members, Martha Karua, among others, eclipsed prominence of Uhuru’s real influence. That was not until 23rd January 2009 when Amos Muhinga Kimunya was forced to resign due to the Grand Regency Hotel scandal. Kibaki handed over the office to Uhuru and the deal was done. Uhuru never served as an ordinary politician again. He and President became one, operating both in actual and shadow.
Apart from Naomi Namsi Shabaan, Sam Ongeri and Mohamed Yusuf Haji, whom he fixed in from Kanu, Uhuru had a hand in almost all the PNU appointees who included Esther Murungi, Beth Mugo, Njeru Githae, Jamleck Kamau, etc. Even Ford Kenya members in the Cabinet, like Moses Wetangula, Soita Shitanda and Noah Wekesa, got their dockets via the shadow of his hand.
Since the back door through which Kalonzo joined Kibaki was crafted by Uhuru, his Cabinet allocations were negotiated in the former’s house in the capital city. In an apparent bid to impress him, he gave Justice Cohesion & Constitutional Affairs to Mutula Kilonzo, from where he removed him for his new found Kibaki kid, Eugene Wamalwa. That was not all; he frustrated Karua and forced her out of the powerful docket for fear of competition. While Karua was ambitious, Kilonzo was actually principled - two traits Uhuru is at odds with.
Power of malice
Uhuru has used his hands on power to try and destroy his competitors at "home". Apart from Karua, the Kipipiri MP Kimunya who earnestly indicated interests in presidency had to be relegated and silenced in several ways. Gatanga MP Peter Kenneth, the current aspirant on Kenda-Poa ticket, was pressed down as Assistant Minister in the Ministry of State for Planning, National Development and Vision 2030 even after showing immense ability in leadership and development. It was not clear how he would handle veteran politicians of the caliber of the late George Saitoti. At his untimely death, the Kajiado North MP was the Minister for Internal Security and Provincial Administration, a docket that Moi exploited for manipulation of politics in Kenya. Uhuru gave this docket to his lieutenant, Katoo Ole Metito. That tells his deep interest and influence in running of Government.
All diplomatic appointments and Permanent Secretaries Kibaki’s side of the coalition were directly overseen by Uhuru Kenyatta. That literally gave him the upper hand over his peers who have typically turned to venerate him. He has controlled their states.
Apart from direct human influence in the top echelons of Government, Uhuru has managed allocation of funds. Even after 26th January 2012 when the International Criminal Court forced him out of the Finance Ministry, he still effectively directs funding by the government. It is common knowledge that he decides which funds Robinson Njeru Githae releases at any given time, he manipulates it for political expediency. Like he exercised the monopoly earlier when he could hold resettlement money for Mau Forest IDPs, the biometric voter registration, BVR, machines that delayed the start of registration process was seen as one of these interferences. He is doing this entirely free hand. The President is there to camouflage.
Use of State Machinery
Together with several decisions, except pending of signatures, the president has given Uhuru everything a king can give a son in who he bequeaths succession. With an open treasury, he has bought for him or helped him buy associates. That is in order to help him form a crowd with which he will form a government at the expiry of the current term. It is in the public domain how he helped him acquire his last wish of getting Wycliffe Musalia Mudavadi out of the ODM alongside accommodating William Kipchirichir Ruto. That was only easy because of the stable ground, the government. With it he is convinced that he can continue the legacy. That explains why partners in the coalition like Raila may move out and seek for firmer factors; pillars with stronger foundations. With it he balances the equation.
Uhuru and team have the government to lean on. They have the State Machinery to use and there is no reason for trying to hide it from Kenyans. It would only be proper to use the opportunity in promoting sanity other than confusions like they are doing in current electoral politics. Politicians will pass away but Kenya will remain. If you are favoured to have opportunities ahead of others, use it to help promote their welfares and do not try to finish them. That is how your position serves its usefulness in the society.
"Amnesty can only be granted when one has been tried and convicted. If we brush aside violations without acknowledging we may encourage another chapter of chaos in the country."
-Martha Karua, Minister of Justice
"In 1980, Museveni went to the bush claiming that the elections were rigged. Now he is the same man congratulating Kibaki whose victory is being disputed. This is the saddest thing the President has done to East Africa."
-Prof. Ogega Latigo, Uganda's Leader of the Opposition in Parliament
"I do not know whether Kibaki won the election." -ECK chairman Samuel Kivuitu talking to The Standard after admitting that he read the election results under pressure from PNU