We saw the shining star of Prof Kindiki, Njuri Ncheke says
On January 31, 2015, the revered Ameru Njuri Ncheke Council of Elders blessed and installed outgoing Tharaka Nithi Senator Kithure Kindiki as the community spokesperson.
That designation gave him the power and responsibility of speaking on behalf of the Ameru community, especially in the national arena.
Prof Kindiki made a triumphant entry into politics from the world of academia, outshining veterans and becoming the Senate majority leader, a position he held for five years.
This is the star that the elders noticed from a distance in the 50-year-old law professor from Irunduni village, Tharaka constituency, said Kangori M’ Thaara, the chairman of the Tharaka Nithi County chapter of the Njuri Ncheke Council.
The highly secretive installation ceremony took place at a shrine in the Kijege hill in Tharaka constituency and was conducted by the late council of elders’ secretary-general Phares Ruteere and the late chairman, Paul M'Ethingia.
The ceremony involved taking the oath of protecting and taking responsibility for the interests of the Ameru people and being the torch-bearer of the community.
The decision of the elders was immediately opposed by some politicians from Meru County, led by outgoing Meru Governor Kiraitu Murungi and Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya, who are also members of the council.
The differences split the revered council into two and even resulted in court cases, but that did not change the position of the elders on Prof Kindiki.
“As elders, we saw the shining star of Prof Kindiki and though there were other senior politicians from the region, including Murungi and Munya, we made him the leader of the Ameru community,” Mr M’Thaara said.
In February 2016, at Chuka University, the elders once again endorsed Prof Kindiki as the Ameru spokesperson and maintained that they were not ready to revoke their earlier announcement because of the divisions that had arisen.
According to Mr M’Thaara, Prof Kindiki’s growing political clout made the politicians uncomfortable because they concluded that he was being groomed as a possible running mate for Dr William Ruto, now the President-elect.
He said that though Prof Kindiki did not retain the Senate majority leader position in President Uhuru Kenyatta’s second term, he was given the Senate deputy Speaker position, which he held until 2020, when he was impeached after Jubilee leaders split.
Prof Kindiki is being touted as the most powerful politician in Dr Ruto’s camp, not only in the Ameru region but also in the entire Mt Kenya East.
Political pundits argue that if Dr Ruto wins the case challenging his August 9 poll victory, Prof Kindiki will become the second most powerful person in the Mt Kenya region after Deputy President-elect Rigathi Gachagua.
The argument is informed by the fact that he narrowly missed the running mate position in a contest where he was overwhelmingly endorsed by politicians from across the country but mainly from Mt Kenya.
Prof Kindiki also played a key role in the polls as Dr Ruto’s chief agent, led the drafting and oversaw the signing of Kenya Kwanza alliance agreements and is still featuring prominently among the lawyers battling the Azimio petition.
Speaking in Kathwana during the swearing-in of Tharaka Nithi Governor Muthomi Njuki, local leaders praised Prof Kindiki’s leadership skills and expressed confidence that Dr Ruto would appoint him to a powerful ministry if he is cleared by the Supreme Court.
While some want him given lucrative ministries such as roads or agriculture ‘so that he can help his people', others argue that he fits the Ministry of Interior due to his assertiveness.
Prof Kindiki holds a master’s degree in international human rights law and democracy and a PhD in international law, both from the University of Pretoria in South Africa.
He was first thrown into the limelight when Dr Ruto appointed him to his legal team in his crimes against humanity case at the International Criminal Court in The Hague.