NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 5 – Former President Daniel arap Moi has now denied he endorsed Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta to succeed Mwai Kibaki when his term ends.
In a statement on Monday, Moi said that his mention of Kenyatta during the burial of former Defence Minister Njenga Karume was within the context of Central Kenya politics after the death of two of its key leaders.
Moi’s statement said: “I emphasised the need for local Members of Parliament and Councillors alongside Kenyatta to offer consolation and guidance to the people of Central Kenya.”
Moi has said that he could not single out one single candidate to support when there were many candidates seeking the leadership of the country.
The disputed endorsement was made in the presence of G7 alliance leaders including Vice president Kalonzo Musyoka who has had his fair share of tribulations with the alliance.
During the late Karume’s burial on Saturday, Moi said that the demise of two veteran politicians Njenga Karume and John Michuki had left a gap that ought to be filled.
“Because Central Province has suffered a huge loss with the death of these two men from this province, leaders should support Kibaki. They should get a person with leadership credentials to fill that position and the person who can lead here is Uhuru Kenyatta,” said Moi.
President Kibaki, Prime Minister Raila Odinga and the vice president all who spoke after Moi during the burial kept clear of the former president’s sentiments instead staying within the mood of the occasion eulogising the former defence minister.
The former president’s 2002 endorsement of Kenyatta to replace him at State House when his 24-year rule ended flopped.
The move led to a massive pullout from the then ruling party KANU and culminated in a resounding defeat for the younger Kenyatta by President Kibaki.
The merger between KANU and the National Democratic Party (NDP) also dramatically collapsed after he named Kenyatta as his preferred successor in the December 2002 presidential election.
Raila Odinga who had orchestrated the merger led other KANU leaders in walking out of the alliance and forming the new party LDP. They then joined Kibaki, Charity Ngilu and Wamalwa Kijana in forming the National Rainbow Coalition (NARC).