Kenyan president 'unprofessional, divisive' - analyst

2017-10-13 10:01
President Uhuru Kenyatta (File: AFP)

President Uhuru Kenyatta (File: AFP)

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Cape Town – Political analyst Benji Ndolo in an interview with News24 has accused outgoing Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta of being a "divisive leader" amid Kenya's political uncertainty following a contested election.

The east African country is reportedly facing its worst political crisis in years as a stand-off between President Kenyatta and his long-time rival Raila Odinga continues.

The Supreme Court nullified Kenyatta's win which was announced by the electoral commission on August 11.

The court voted 4-2 to nullify Kenyatta's election, saying it found that there were irregularities and illegalities in the electoral commission's adding up of the presidential votes.

Odinga said the electoral commission as currently constituted should not be permitted to conduct the fresh election as it was complicit in electoral fraud.

Kenyatta, however, has said the electoral commission should not be interfered with and warned the court against taking action against the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission.

Threats to 'fix' judiciary

Since the Supreme Court ruling, Kenyatta has said Chief Justice David Maraga and his colleagues in the judiciary are "crooks" and alleged they are on the payroll of donors.

Kenyatta said he would "fix" the judiciary once he wins the forthcoming elections because it ruled against him.

The move to nullify Kenya's election was unprecedented on the African continent.

It gave new hope to opposition leader Odinga, who had alleged the electronic results of the August 8 balloting were manipulated.

He had lost by about 1.4 million votes out of roughly 15 million ballots cast.

Tribalism

Ndolo accused Kenyatta of being unprofessional, and divisive in his actions.

He added that his political rhetoric was likely going to cause violence across the country.

"He is good in person, but his actions are divisive. He is unprofessional for someone who holds such a prestigious office. People are tired of the same narrative about stealing of votes, deceit, and it's unfortunate that we are here," said Ndolo.

Ndolo added that the country's unresolved past of tribalism was another factor that was driving the political stand-off.

Reports indicate that the rivalry between the Kikuyu and Luo ethnic groups began shortly after Kenya's independence from British rule in 1963 and has intensified since 2013 as the Kenyatta and Odinga families jostled for the presidency.

The current president, who is Kikuyu, is the son of Kenya's first president since independence and Odinga, Luo, is the son of Kenya's first vice president.

The long political rivalry has extended to other parts of society, with even marriage between the Kikuyu and Luo still frowned upon by some in the communities. Politically, Kenya's dozens of smaller ethnic groups have aligned themselves with one or the other.

Working towards change

The Kikuyu and Luo also dominate certain enclaves in the slums of the capital, Nairobi, and it was the Luo areas that exploded last month.

Human rights groups have said police killed at least 37 people amid the post-election protests.

"People must think about the future of Kenya. We are not far from the past where Kenyatta was dragged to the ICC (International Criminal Court) for being instrumental for the violence in 2007. This is not at all forgotten by people. It is therefore important for anybody with a voice in the media, in government to discourage any violence," said Ndolo.

The Kenya-based analyst said that there were people, including himself, who were working towards changing the Kenyan electorate's thinking regarding tribal relations.

He, however, maintained that tribal alignment by the Kenyan electorate was in the interest of some politicians and, as a result, they (the politicians) were doing all they could to derail the change of people's mind-sets.

"It is in their interest. But, we are looking at changing this thinking. We want people to rethink, and address that. We have not become mainstream yet but the seeds for this are there. We are going to make a change," said Ndolo.

Read more on:    uhuru ke­n­yatta  |  raila odinga  |  kenya  |  kenya 2017 elections  |  east africa

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