Analyst got it wrong on Peter Kenneth

Peter Kenneth

Former Gatanga MP Peter Kenneth.

Photo credit: Jeff Angote | Nation Media Group

Mwangi Muiruri’s recent article in the Nation was a shallow and unconstructive piece that masqueraded as an analysis of Peter Kenneth’s political career. It’s indicative of a lazy style of analysis.

Even the very premise of the article is wrong. Mr Kenneth was not a candidate in this election. As such, the question of rising and falling does not arise.

The article raised the question of ethics in journalism. If nothing else, it’s unethical to write an article on someone without reaching out to them for a comment.

It appears that the writer drew on the views of other people, even the departed, without making an effort to contact the subject. That resulted in poor quality journalism based on conjecture.

It seems lost to the writer that a country is more than its government. We can’t all be in government but we all have a role in building a better society for ourselves and future generations.

Elective politics

Mr Kenneth contributed his fair share to nation-building before he joined elective politics and even after he left Parliament slightly more than 10 years ago. The thinking that his contribution must be restricted to holding public office is not only shallow and lacking in imagination, it’s also limited and limiting.

He joined elective politics not just because he had the right to do so, as any Kenyan does, but also because he believed that he had something to offer Kenya in public office. The people of Gatanga Constituency elected him as their MP for two terms. President Mwai Kibaki also appointed him into his government.

Interestingly, while the writer acknowledges Mr Kenneth’s achievements in public office, he seems to be more focussed on assessing his individual political choices against a yardstick that only he holds. Hence, the purpose of his article may not have been to advance any meaningful conversation on our country but simply pretend to be a prophet—except that he only seems to predict the past, not the future.

To suggest that one must not go against the grain and offer an alternative vision to the country, as he seems to suggest, is to deny Kenyans the opportunity to choose from the many options.

Democracy

The essence of democracy is not only that every eligible Kenyan can cast a vote for their preferred leaders but can also present themselves for election.  And all have the right to support the candidate of their choice.

But, perhaps, what I find most confounding about that article is that it engages in historical revisionism—the construction of events that did not occur—seemingly to push a political agenda.

Peter Kenneth is a respected national figure—a former presidential candidate, no less—who has stated repeatedly that he is very comfortable in his position as a private citizen but remains open to serving Kenyans again should that opportunity arise. Most importantly, that is a choice he will make for himself.

Peter Ngugi, Nairobi

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