A president’s son in the firing line

December 15, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 15 – The first son of Kenya’s founding father Jomo Kenyatta, Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta, 49, is currently the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance.

A political science graduate and prominent businessman, Mr Kenyatta came into the limelight and indeed the political life in 2001 when he was nominated to Parliament and appointed the Local Government Minister in Daniel arap Moi’s administration.

To many, this looked like a well-calculated move because months later he was made chairman of the Kenya African National Union, KANU, and despite his inexperience in politics, Mr Kenyatta was on the road campaigning for the top job with the full blessings of the retired president in what was widely termed as ‘Project Uhuru’.

The man, whom many believe was pushed to run for the top post or even join politics, lost the presidential bid to the incumbent Mwai Kibaki and thus became Leader of the Official Opposition.

Despite this, he continued to work closely with those in government and was actually to join the camp which was supporting the draft constitution in 2005 during the country’s referendum.

The constitutional referendum split the country into two with Mr Kenyatta remained in No camp or the ‘orange’ however in the run-up to 2007 General Elections, he backed Mr Kibaki’s bid for a second term.

Unfortunately, the 2007 elections were bungled leading to violence that left more than 1,000 people dead and the eviction of largely the Kikuyu community from which the Gatundu South Member of Parliament comes from.

According to Mr Ocampo Mr Kenyatta was the focal point between Mungiki and the PNU that organised retaliatory attacks.

In October while on an official trip to Washington, Mr Kenyatta gave an interview to international media where he downplayed the threat that an arrest warrant posed danger to him and his political career.

He added that the truth would finally come out when due process was followed and he seemed optimistic that he would be cleared of any wrongdoing.

However, this has not stopped MPs allied to him from making sideshows about the Moreno-Ocampo led process with some even threatening to have Kenya withdraw from Rome Statute.

But now that he has been named among the six suspects, it remains to be seen whether his cronies with keep up the tactics to seemingly derail the wheels of justice from taking their course.

It is also not known whether he will opt to resign from his post until he is cleared by the International Criminal Court.

One thing that is clear however is the fact that his political future and his standing as the preferred Kikuyu point man might be dented by The Hague process.  Whether he chooses to still vie for political office when and if he is cleared by Ocampo remains anyone’s guess.



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