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The Making of President Uhuru

If there are two people who are over the moon because their lifetime dreams of seeing Uhuru Kenyatta become president have now been realised, they are former president Daniel arap Moi and Uhuru’s mother, former First Lady Mama Ngina Kenyatta.

 

 

On April 9, 2013, the two sat among dignitaries who witnessed Uhuru being sworn in as Kenya’s fourth president at the appropriately- named Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani in Nairobi.

And if these two were at pains to conceal their joy at the event, there is one man who would have openly celebrated had he lived to see the day. John Michuki, the late Environment minister, caused political controversy in 2010 when he said Uhuru was the de-facto leader of the House of Gema, a euphemism for the Gikuyu, Embu and Meru communities.

In 2002, Moi raised political temperatures within the Independence ruling party, the Kenya African National Union (Kanu), when he declared Mr Kenyatta the ideal candidate to be his successor and therefore Kenya’s third president. This was despite having the late Prof George Saitoti as his long-serving Vice President.

Although Mr Kenyatta was then dubbed the “Moi Project”, it seems the young man was his father’s own project. In fact, if some old photos of President Mzee Jomo Kenyatta attending official functions are anything to go by, it seems the old man had dreamed of grooming his son to some day become the president of Kenya.

One photo shows Mzee Kenyatta signing a document with the young Uhuru seated next to him looking on, in the presence of then Vice President Moi and Cabinet minister Mwai Kibaki.

If Mr Kenyatta was a “Moi Project” in 2002, then he must have been a “Jomo Project” since he was born on October 26, 1961. He may have had the potential to be a politician, but it is Mr Moi who, as Kenya’s second President, “discovered and helped nurture the young man’s leadership skills. That was way back in 1997 when Mr Moi reportedly nudged the son of Jomo to join active politics.

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