Kibaki set to hand over mantle of power to his godson Uhuru

PHOTO | FILE President Mwai Kibaki greets Mr Uhuru Kenyatta, then opposition leader in 2003 in Nairobi, as they marked the 25th anniversary of the death of Mzee Jomo Kenyatta.

What you need to know:

  • The then Kanu executive officer went to visit Mama Ngina in Gatundu after her son was born

Is it a twist of fate or Shakespeare’s predetermined destiny that President Kibaki will be handing over power to Mr Uhuru Kenyatta?

No one would have imagined it 51 years ago. Not even Uhuru’s mother, Mama Ngina, nor even his father, Mzee Jomo Kenyatta, would have had such inkling.

That time, Mr Kibaki, a staunch Catholic like Mama Ngina, was to be Mr Kenyatta’s godfather following the birth of Uhuru on October 26, 1961.

Executive officer

The outgoing Head of State has had his life tied by fate to the incoming President from the latter’s birth, on the eve of Uhuru (independence), when young Kibaki was the executive officer of Kanu, the party that was to usher in freedom in the country two years later.

Mr Njenga Karume, in his book From Charcoal to Gold, says he and Mr Kibaki went to visit Mama Ngina in the company of Mzee Kenyatta at home in Gatundu following the birth of a baby boy.

Mr Karume says it was Mr Kibaki who suggested to Mzee that the new-born be named Uhuru since independence was only a few months away.

Other accounts from those close to the family indicate that Mr Joseph Murumbi, the man who was to become Kenya’s second vice-president and a close friend of Mzee Kenyatta, also suggested the name.

Still, Mr Kibaki, who is expected to hand over power to Mr Kenyatta on March 26, has had to fight political wars with his godson.

Such was the bitter fight during the 2002 presidential elections pitting Mr Kibaki in Narc against Mr Kenyatta as the Kanu candidate to succeed President Moi.

Mr Kibaki was to trounce his godson, garnering 62 per cent of all the votes cast in the election.

Though political foes, Mr Kibaki still had a soft spot for Uhuru, even as they had gone different ways in politics.

This was the case after the 2005 referendum when Mr Kenyatta teamed up with Mr Raila Odinga in the Orange team that successfully campaigned to defeat the draft Constitution. Mr Kenyatta later aligned himself to his godfather ahead of the 2007 poll.

Mr Kibaki went on to appoint Mr Kenyatta as Deputy Prime Minister after a negotiated coalition government against all expectations. Many thought he would appoint former Gichugu MP Martha Karua, who was instrumental in the negotiations on the Kibaki side after violence broke out following the disputed presidential elections of 2007.


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