Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Uhuru Kenyatta’s meeting with Kikwete: Just a photo opportunity

Nicodemus Minde

October 24, 2012: Kenya’s presidential aspirant and Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta is meeting regional leaders in a bid to win their backing for the forthcoming presidential elections. Mr. Kenyatta is facing a trial at the International Criminal Court (ICC) for alleged crimes against humanity allegedly committed during the post-election chaos in Kenya in 2007/2008. Uhuru Kenyatta who is known to be super rich with an estimated net worth of $500 million has planned to go against all odds to run for the presidency. There have been outcries from civil society organizations and the ‘international community’ against his running but Mr. Kenyatta remains adamant that he is eligible to run. The eligibility and moral efficacy of his candidature remains a subject of court interpretation. 

Jakaya Kikwete with Uhuru Kenyatta in Dar
Mr. Kenyatta is now meeting regional heads of state in a bid to win their support for his mission to be president. He recently met Tanzania’s president Jakaya Kikwete at Dar es Salaam’s state house. He carried a delegation of government officials and The National Alliance (TNA) party officials. It is believed that they spoke on a number of issues regarding his quest for presidency. It has been reported in various mainstream Kenyan media that he plans to meet Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni and Rwanda’s Paul Kagame in the coming few days. The meetings have even been termed as ‘Uhuru’s Shuttle Diplomacy’. These meetings have been interpreted to mean that Mr. Kenyatta is winning the support of regional heads of state and that he is positioning himself for leadership. 

The Photo Opportunity
I understand that legitimacy and political authority is sourced and derived both from within and outside. But this been said, Mr. Kenyatta needs to understand that neither Kikwete nor Kagame can salvage his imminent trial at the Hague based international tribunal. Mr. Kenyatta has of late been voracious in attacking the West and the mediator who brokered the peace deal in Kenya, Mr. Kofi Annan. He says that Kenya’s sovereignty should be respected and who leads Kenya should be determined by Kenyans and not any other foreign influences. 

Mr. Kenyatta should first understand that seeking regional support is not a bad idea, neither is it a ticket for his election to presidency. Tanzania’s president Kikwete has two more years left to see off his second term. Mr. Museveni has been heavily criticized for his undemocratic ideals and his hanging on to power. Mr. Kagame on the other hand is said to be destabilizing the region by allegedly financing the M23 rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Kikwete is facing a difficult political battle in his ruling party and the country in general. These three men are not influential in terms of wielding support for Uhuru’s presidential ambitions. The meeting in Dar-es-Salaam to was just a photo opportunity and will not add any value to Uhuru’s presidential ambitions. Even with the proposed meeting with both Museveni and Kagame, it will count to nothing. The legal process of his imminent trial will definitely hamper his presidential ambitions.    

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