Last-minute political intrigues and behind-the-scenes consultations made Kanu finally decide to support President Uhuru Kenyatta’s re-election bid.
That decision caught the Opposition by surprise since it had expected to win over Kanu after its chairman Gideon Moi and secretary-general Nick Salat openly indicated that they were likely to work with the Opposition.
Fears that a political marriage between the party and the National Super Alliance could destabilise the Rift Valley vote left the ruling coalition, particularly President Kenyatta, restless.
And although details of a last-minute visit by the President’s mother Mama Ngina Kenyatta and later by Mr Kenyatta himself to former President Daniel arap Moi have remained a closely guarded secret, it has not escaped the attention of many political analysts that the encounter came at a time when Kanu was under pressure to announce its political destiny.
Mama Ngina Kenyatta met the former president at his home in Kabarak, Nakuru before the President met him at his home in Nairobi in a session that his son Gideon, who is the Baringo senator, attended.
The Nation’s Dennis Odunga spoke with the Kanu chairman.
Q: You, as Kanu, have said that you are supporting President Uhuru Kenyatta’s re-election but not his deputy. How possible is that given that the two are elected as one entity?
A: If William Ruto (Deputy President) is part of that, so be it. We have no issue with Ruto being part of that package. Personally, I don’t have any problem. We are seeing the big picture. We want President Kenyatta to be re-elected to complete his development agenda.
How did you agree to settle on President Kenyatta given that the party leaders seemed divided over the party’s political destiny?
As a party leader, I was given the mandate by National Executive Council. We gathered views across the country. Our members said they supported Uhuru. It doesn’t matter any differences we had as party leaders or members may have with other members of the party. It was a decision arrived at through wide consultations.
Was this deal a culmination of secret discussions when President Kenyatta and Mama Ngina Kenyatta, separately, visited former President Moi?
We never discussed this matter with President Kenyatta. I was there with Uhuru and not when Mama Ngina came. There was no pressure exerted on me or on any other leader from within. The pressure came from outside. Even Salat was mandated and he said most of the members were of the view that we support Jubilee.
Are you eyeing the presidency after President Kenyatta’s tenure? Some political observers feel that you must have been promised future support to back down?
What happens after August 8 will be for the people of Kenya to decide. They will guide me accordingly and my party will guide me, as well.
Will you support the Deputy President’s wish to rise to the presidency in 2022?
Ruto has never told me he wants to be president in 2022. He has never asked for my support.
How can you describe your relationship with the Deputy President?
I have never crossed his path. He is not my enemy. We have never crossed each other’s paths. Ruto is not in my radar at this juncture.
But do you talk with him?
No. I have not had an occasion to talk to him. They don’t call us in their meetings, even when he was in Baringo recently over insecurity issues.
What is the party’s priority at the moment?
We are focused to get Kanu many seats and ensure Uhuru is elected the President in the August 8 polls.