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Commentary; Your Excellency William Ruto, you are no Mwai Kibaki!


“Senator, you are no Jack Kennedy!” That is one of the most iconic statements in American politics, and has been quoted countless times. It was said by Senator Lloyd Bentsen to Senator Dan Quayle during a debate, when Senator Quayle kept comparing himself to JF Kennedy. In our Kenyan context, “Your Excellency William Ruto, you are no Mwai Kibaki” would be more appropriate.


Despite the DP reemploying Kibaki’s technocrats, the difference between the two couldn’t be more glaring.


If ever someone should have cried that he was a hustler who had been betrayed by the dynasties, then it should have been Mwai Kibaki in 2002.


For 8 years, he served faithfully as Kenyatta’s Finance minister. For another ten years he served loyally as Moi’s vice-president. However, in the end, Moi rewarded him by endorsing Uhuru Kenyatta.


The man he served for a decade under as Vice-president, instead ended up supporting the son of the man he served under for 8 years as Finance minister.


However, instead of instigating a class war, or inciting the masses against the elites, Mwai Kibaki came up with a strong-themed 3-pointer manifesto; A new constitution in a hundred days, creating 500,000 jobs, and providing Free Primary School education.


Granted, Mwai Kibaki’s regime wasn’t all bliss. In fact, he only fulfilled the pledge on Free Primary School education. He failed on the job creation promise, and failed miserably in trying to give Kenyans a new constitution, something that subsequently led to the infamous 2007 Post-Election violence. He only managed to provide Kenyans with a new constitution at the tail end of his presidency, and only when the international community made it mandatory for him and Prime Minister Raila Odinga to do so.


Nevertheless, the objectivity with which Mwai Kibaki approached the 2002 elections is not only admirable, but exceptional as well. Instead of concentrating on a polarising class war or sectarianism (which he very well could have), he instead focused on issue-based politics.


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    Written by Joshua Wanga

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