A basic precept of Mount Kenya philosophical approaches to things is that when you have a debt you pay. That is how the region’s residents have become businesspeople.
The political debt that Central Kenya has incurred from Deputy President William Ruto, particularly for supporting them at their darkest hour, cannot be denied. Even those who say they will not vote for Ruto acknowledge the debt. It is not the debt of one election, but three elections. First was 2013, then there were the August 8 and October 26 Presidential elections inside the 12th General Election in 2017.
However, the Mount Kenya group will always raise a leader, whether they are supporting somebody else or not. You cannot rule out a maverick. A maverick that will stand up and say ‘we want to be elected’ or who will say they ‘want to support somebody different’. But depending on how the mobilisation towards 2022 takes place, the Deputy President is head and shoulders above any other candidate, even in Central Kenya.
I would argue that the DP has been the best campaigner in the region. Uhuru, who we cannot doubt will support Ruto, will be his major campaigner. Ruto, I would say, is the bona fide successor to Uhuru.
However, it remains to be seen whether he will put a machine in place that assures the Mount Kenya people that the way he was treated under Uhuru is the way he is going to treat people from the same region under him.
The Kikuyu-Kalenjin political pairing may not deliver the kind of Presidency that is not going to be questioned, particularly in 2022, that the Kikuyus who are the majority, will not be at the helm.
But the single mobilising factor in the Mount Kenya region is not Uhuru and it’s not Ruto: It is the fear of Raila Odinga. This the fear of retribution. It is also the fear of NASA’s naÃ¯vety in not portraying itself as a friendly party to Central Kenya, under any circumstances. If Raila is a candidate in 2022, one cannot predict the kind of turnout there would be both in the Rift Valley and in the Mount Kenya region. If Ruto and Raila are on the ballot, Mount Kenya will not only vote for Ruto but will vote overwhelmingly.
The writer is a policy thinker on governance, security and African affairs