Wycliffe Muga’s column in the Star of July 16, headlined ‘No winning formula yet for 2017’, made for an interesting read.
One of the enduring fallacies regarding the election of President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto is that voters rallied behind the two to save them from the ICC cases.
This theory has already been demolished by subsequent happenings and it baffles why it still forms the centrepiece of any political analysis.
From the onset, Uhuru had stated his innocence and was vindicated when ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda admitted she had no evidence to sustain the case.
The Deputy President’s case, too, is unsurprisingly, on its deathbed.
More significantly, Ruto has religiously appeared at the court, demonstrating his desire to see the case go to its logical conclusion. He has not used his position in government to shield himself from the court or to undermine it.
It is therefore fallacious for Muga and others of similar mind to aver that Kenyans elected Uhuru and Ruto to save them from the ICC.
Something that is often overlooked, away from the ICC and the ‘tyranny of numbers’, is the fact that the March 4, 2013, general election was largely won on track record.
Uhuru had demonstrated exemplary leadership skills, leaving a trail of tangible successes in the positions he had served. In the Finance docket, for instance, Uhuru enhanced transparency and accountability through the introduction of digital systems.
In the presidential debate ahead of the elections, he beat his competitors hands down with his ability to articulate issues closest to the hearts of Kenyans. He also demonstrated organisational acumen that came in handy during the campaigns.
On his part, Ruto had left a mark as a public servant, with outstanding achievements in the Agriculture ministry. He had exhibited unmatched leadership skills that made him the darling of wananchi not only in the Rift Valley but nationally.
Isn’t it unfortunate that blinkers of ethnicity prevent us from appreciating such illustrious records?
The dynamic duo was thus bound to generate excitement among voters. Because it could not match Uhuruto on performance, Cord chose to campaign on the platform of reforms. Cord leaders attempted to project themselves as reformists while portraying Uhuru and Ruto as propagators of the status quo.
It is an open secret that Cord flag-bearer Raila Odinga had little to show for the five years he had served as Prime Minister. This is despite the fact that his side of the coalition had been given key ministries, including Lands as well as Roads and Public Works, which gave him a platform to put his much-vaunted leadership skills into use.
Instead of getting down to work and rallying his troops to perform, Raila was fond of complaining of extraneous stuff such as mkate nusu and mkeka nusu. That is how he squandered five years in government.
By the time the elections came, he had been exposed as a non-performer. Besides, he could not run away from the failures of the grand coalition government.
By focusing on reforms as his campaign platform pivoted, Raila was seeking to deflect scrutiny from his dismal record. But Kenyans knew better. This is the bitter truth that analysts such as Muga keep glossing over or sweeping under the carpet.
The narrative of performance defined the 2013 elections and it will be at play again in 2017.
And in terms of development, Uhuru’s government has made significant milestones. First, we have Huduma Centres. Gone are the winding queues that were a permanent feature in government offices.
The promise to deliver an additional 5,000MW to the national grid is on course. The cost of electricity has significantly gone down and the country is increasingly becoming the destination of choice for investors. Massive infrastructure projects are taking shape. And the list goes on.
By 2017, the Jubilee administration’s record will be superb and Kenyans will readily give Uhuruto a second term. Ruto’s case will also have been dispensed with and the two leaders will be firing from all cylinders. This is when their leadership potential will be realised.
The writer is MP for Kigumo and chairman of the Committee on Energy, Communication and Information in the National Assembly.