The problem with Uhuru

2013-03-10 10:00

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When Uhuru Kenyatta was born, it was clear he was destined for great things.

His father, Jomo, is considered to be the founding father of Kenya and served as the country’s first prime minister, and later its president.

Despite stints as a hawker of farm produce and flipping burgers at Burger King in the US, he was always preparing to follow in his father’s footsteps and lead Kenya one day.

In the meantime, he became one of Kenya’s wealthiest men, listed in 2011 as the 26th richest man in Africa, according to Forbes magazine.

He owns half a million acres of prime land in Kenya, acquired by his father during the time of colonial rule.

But his alleged involvement in organising violent killings of opposition supporters during the 2007/08 Kenyan elections may have diverted his journey.

According to prosecutors at the International Criminal Court, Kenyatta met members of a sect called Mungiki at a Nairobi shopping centre to plot the attacks that killed 1 200 Kenyans.

Kenyatta stands accused with five other Kenyan politicians of crimes against humanity.

He allegedly helped develop a plan to take revenge for attacks on Kikuyus, meted out by supporters of the Orange Democratic Movement leader.

He is also accused of ordering the police to let Mungiki members through roadblocks while using excessive force against supporters of Raila Odinga.

The Mungiki sect was sent to the Rift Valley, where they went from house to house killing about 150 suspected Odinga supporters.

His election to become Kenya’s next president yesterday shows these charges did little to weaken his support, which is centred mainly among the largest tribe, the Kikuyu.

But Kenyatta may well find that he spends a great deal of his five-year presidential term ruling Kenya remotely, from The Hague.

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