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KARORI: It's unfair to ask Uhuru if he will leave power.

To push President Uhuru Kenyatta over the cliff with the question of whether or not he will relinquish power after 2022 is the hypocrisy of the highest order.

Article 142 (1) of the Constitution clearly stipulates that the President shall hold office for a term beginning on the date on which he or she was sworn in, and ending when the person next elected President. It is a no brainer that after serving for 10 years, a President will retire peacefully without subjecting the country to a debate of how old or young he is after retirement.

Without making too much of a fuss of the Kenyan presidential landscape pre-1992 and the famous removal of Section 2A of the old constitution, the clamour for change culminated in the promulgation of the 2010 Constitution, whose dispensation is more than eight years old now. It is not only a constitutional requirement but also a norm that after serving for 10 years, a president retires without much hubris whether aged 45 or 70 year. A precedent has already been set when President Mwai Kibaki peacefully retired after doing his bit. Or is it an African phenomenon that a sitting head of State, who's yet to be a senior citizen, is allowed to be a career president?

There is this adage, that leadership and alcohol have the same effect: The more it is consumed, the more it makes our neurons wallow. The mark of true democracy is when any leader, be it the president, governor et al. serves their required term as provided under the law and then they venture into other roles as statesmen and women.

Without belabouring this point, the Founding Father of the United States, George Washington, served for two terms of four years each and thereafter let his Vice President, John Adams, to take over. This indeed set the bar for other presidents in the US. Notwithstanding the fact that President George Washington served from 1789-1797, way before the 22nd Amendment was passed by Congress in 1947 and ratified in 1951, setting limits for an elected president to two terms in office, a total of eight years.

Therefore, to ask Uhuru this question is unfair to him. Time without number, the president has demonstrated his tremendous respect for the rule of law and due process. To those who might be new in this nation might have missed a few poignant historical happenings associated with the son of Ichaweri. In 2002, when he lost to Kibaki, he led Kanu, the Independence party, to concede defeat, even before the now-defunct ECK officially announced the results.

Many expected Kanu to rig this election. Post-Kanu era, several events have tested the President and in all these events, his respect for the rule of law has always remained unmatched. Such instance is when he accepted to relinquish power and travel to the ICC as a private citizen.

The question is how many of his peers in the region would have done the same thing: President Omar Bashir is still playing hide and seek with the ICC, while Uhuru went there conquered the case and came back with a better international appeal. He did this because he has been consistent in operating within the four corners of the law, no matter how uncomfortable this might be to him.

Recently, the President was forced back to the election, despite the resounding victory he had garnered and his parliamentary strength. His strength to go back to the poll reinforces his credentials as a champion of the rule of law.

Having achieved all these accolades in the rule of law, President Kenyatta should not allow those who have become cosy and delusional around power to misadvise him. History records that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely so those around the hallowed halls of power can't think beyond state power. Therefore, the President should not allow people who want to attain personal goals to drag him along. He has achieved various things so far and being President for 10 years is an abundant gift.

Therefore, your Excellency, you have a choice to make between joining Africa's greatest sons and daughters - Nelson Mandela, Julius Nyerere, Thomas Sankara and Johnson Sirleaf - or the despotic sewer of Teodoro Obiang Mbasogo, Robert Mugabe, Mobutu Sese Seko, and Jean-Bedel Bokassa et al.
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Publication:The Star (Nairobi, Kenya)
Date:Nov 10, 2018
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