As the Kenyan voters hurtle toward the August 2022 general elections, some of them have been heard asking what it portends for the country when the outgoing President is fully involved in his succession political process as is the case now with Uhuru Kenyatta. What levels of influence will he wield in the next administration if his preferred candidate emerges the winner?
And what would happen if his current number two, rebel Deputy President William Ruto wins the presidency against the President’s choice, Azimio’s Raila Odinga? What scenario will the country be faced with after the elections are over? The questions above will be on the minds of most voters when casting their ballots on August 9th, particularly in the Presidential vote.
Whether we like it or not, the country is already facing new spectra of political realignment at the moment even as we focus on the general elections. Unlike his predecessors, President Kenyatta has indicated that he may not retire from active politics. This was evident when his Jubilee Alliance party’s delegates picked him as party leader.
The National Delegates Conferences’ (NDC) activities at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC) and Kasarani Sports Stadium in February, both attended by Raila Odinga and President Kenyatta was simply setting the stage for what was to come next, a mega alliance now known as Azimio.
Indeed soon after, President Kenyatta publicly endorsed his former archrival for the country’s top job, weeks after their respective political parties joined forces ahead of elections in August. The President said it live on television: “We have chosen Raila Odinga, without any opposition, to be the fifth president of Kenya.” The President was widely criticized by a section of his detractors who accused him of publicly announcing Raila Odinga as his preferred successor as opposed to his estranged DP William Ruto.
If he loses the presidential election to William Ruto, what roles will they play together? These are just a few of the hard questions Kenyans are asking themselves as they prepare to make their choices in August.
Kenyans must not forget that after President Daniel Arap Moi finished his tenure in office as president, he retired from active politics, he remained very popular within his KANU party even after being humiliated at the handover ceremony to his successor at Uhuru Park.
President Mwai Kibaki also gave a wide berth to national politics until he died recently. However, this time around the story is different with President Kenyatta exiting office when he is still young and dynamic, what did Kenyans expect him to do?