Central elite in Jubilee should be wary over calls for dictatorship

Maina Kiai by Maina Kiai
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The central Kenya part of the Jubilee regime has never hidden its intentions to recreate a dictatorship in Kenya. 

These intentions are spurred simply by the wish to loot the country unhindered, run roughshod over dissenters and ensure they rule over us for as long as possible. 

All the rhetoric about development being faster and more efficient is simply that — rhetoric. 

It is now trying to make its intentions a reality. And there is method to the madness, a template for regimes trying to impose dictatorships. 

First they muzzle and intimidate civil society, and plant their loyalists within the human rights organisations to cause confusion and disunity; then they go for the media to ensure it toes the line and then intimidate the Judiciary so that it rules in its favour no matter the merits of fact and law. 

Dictatorships accept only those court rulings that comport with reduced democratic space and harassment of opponents, as we have seen this week from Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho, who wants the Judiciary to interpret the Constitution as he wants it to be rather than as it is. 

There is also the pummelling of the opposition so that it can be ineffective and reduced to irrelevant dissent at local levels at the best, or become a cheerleader for the regime, as in Rwanda where most legal “opposition” parties perpetually endorse Paul Kagame as their presidential candidate!

We have seen this template in operation recently, and in a bizarre twist, these efforts are being supported by western diplomats whose countries claim they support democracy and human rights. 

Their recent letter was insulting, patronising and hypocritical. 

I don’t recall any time previously when representatives of countries that acclaim democracy and human rights have publicly denounced the Kenyans who have exercised their right to choose and to expression in refusing to recognise Uhuru Kenyatta. 

Instead, they have demanded Mr Kenyatta be recognised, something they would never demand of their own citizens. 

Without citing any evidence or law, they also asserted that exercising freedom of assembly and association is inciting violence! 

The fact that they disagree with the "swearing-in" of Raila Odinga does not make that unconstitutional. 

It is their right to be partisan much in the same way that many of their countries stood with apartheid South Africa for decades. 

But at least then they did not pretend as they do now.

Nonetheless, I believe these renewed efforts at dictatorship are really about 2022. 

For the first time since independence, there is no one who seems capable and strong enough to represent “elite central Kenya interests” post 2022, but Uhuru Kenyatta himself. 

That then logically means that the third term option is very real.

In 1978, central Kenya elite’s interests were represented by Charles Njonjo, Mwai Kibaki and a host of other business and political stalwarts. 

They could accept the rise of Daniel Moi as long as they surrounded him.

In 2012, Mr Kenyatta destroyed all pretenders to the throne by decimating — fairly and unfairly — Peter Kenneth, Martha Karua and Paul Muite. 

Mr Kenneth tried to revive himself by contesting for Nairobi governorship, but was miserably defeated, reportedly with the help of William Ruto who saw him as a potential political threat.

For a third term to work, the central Kenya elite first needs to neuter dissent that is without — media, Judiciary, civil society, Nasa — before they can then tackle the opposition within, which will be represented by Mr Ruto. 


Opening two battlefronts at the same time will be too difficult to handle, unless they can engineer a “security crisis” — similar to Turkey’s recent “coup attempt” — that then grants them emergency powers to do exactly as they wish.

If the central Kenya elite succeed in neutering dissent now, do not be surprised if they soon begin calls for a third term, and try to make it a case of it being a choice between Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto as our leader. 

They should be careful what they wish for, as once they start on that path of dictatorship, it will run away from them. 

They should, rather, visualise how dictatorship would be like for them if say Miguna Miguna were in power.

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