Several months ago I suggested that Uhuru Kenyatta should go and engage Luo-Nyanza on his political ideologies. My rationale was that there was no way he or anyone else would genuinely say they were running for President of Kenya, while ignoring engaging one of Kenya’s most political communities.
I specifically called him out because his absence in the region has been quite visible. I believed he needed to do it if he was to convince the sceptics amongst us that he was not running for president as an ethnic chieftain.
I also built my argument on the fact that Prime Minister Raila Odinga; his primary rival for presidency next year, was deliberately going out of his way to engage Central Kenya on the stereotypes and myths that the region held of him. I was of the opinion that Uhuru Kenyatta could move his nationalist credentials a notch higher by replicating the PM’s engagements with Kikuyus; amongst Luos in Nyanza.
My arguments was buttressed by the fact that the Odinga-Kikuyu; Uhuru-Luo relationships are the most glaring of Kenya’s ethnic political divisions and if both leaders were seen to be deliberately reaching across to the other community, Kenya would fare better as far as ethnic relations in politics are concerned as we head to the next general elections. I even networked them with a Nyanza-based NGO that was willing to host the first Uhuru and Luo Community forum in Kisumu.
Surprisingly the reactions I got from Team-Uhuru were extremely hostile. Uhuru’s spokesman went as went as far as to question my motives, and then to state on my Facebook page, that Uhuru Kenyatta did not need people like me telling him where to go and when, in his politics. When I asked Team-Uhuru when Uhuru was last in Kisumu I was basically told to mind my own business. Clearly and without realising, I had touched a raw nerve.
Fortunately the Deputy Prime Minister finally visited Kisumu last week.
Uhuru did not set aside time to explain his political agenda to members of this region; or to explain how Luo-Nyanza would look like under an Uhuru presidency next year; or explain several statements he has made around his woes with the International Criminal Court which directly suggest that the Prime Minister is to blame for his case at the ICC; or explain why he rarely campaigns in Luo Nyanza, etc. This, I hope, he will do the next time he is there.