Kikuyu power the bane of Kenya.
In December, Kiambu county passed a motion requiring all employers to hire 70 per cent of their workers from the dominant community, the Kikuyu. Everyone knows the notorious insults and nativist jingoism of people like Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria and political analyst Mutahi Ngunyi. Let's face it: Kikuyu ethnic chauvinism hinders national cohesion. It permeates the community's collective imagination. That is why the Kurias, Waititus and Ngunyis are popular.
Here are 10 points to ponder:
President Jomo Kenyatta consolidated Kikuyu Power in his 'fervent vision of the Gikuyu future', according to the historian ES Atieno-Odhiambo. He writes:
'In the heyday of the Kenyatta regime, it was assumed that the people within the corridors of his power would speak Gikuyu. Shadrack Ojudo Kwassa, a Luo former Chief of Protocol, recalled the surprise of First Lady Mama Ngina Kenyatta at his inability to speak Gikuyu at an official encounter over tea one afternoon in Gatundu, President Kenyatta's country fiefdom. He was out of the protocol office the following day, his job assigned to a more appropriate Mugikuyu, Daniel Gachukia.'
2. From 1968 there was massive oathing of Kikuyus to bind them to protect Uthamaki (the presidency). Atieno-Odhiambo reports: 'truckloads of Agikuyu went voluntarily, or were coerced into going, to Gatundu, Kenyatta's country seat, to take oaths to guarantee that the Kenya flag would never leave the House of Mumbi. Often the participants took the oath on a flag of Kenya spread on the ground.'
That oath has never been revoked, so it can be assumed to be still binding among the community.
3. In the 1970s, there was the 'change the constitution' movement spearheaded by Kikuyu supremacists such as Kihika Kimani and the 'Kiambu Mafia'. They wanted to block Vice President Daniel Moi from automatically succeeding Kenyatta.
4. Kenya has had only four presidents since independence. Three of them are Kikuyu; two a father and his son. The current plan is to hand the presidency back to the Kalenjin in 2022 and then later back to the Kikuyu.
5. Some Kikuyus claim the community was isolated during Moi's rule - the only non-Kikuyu president. But this is not true. Why then did Moi want to handover power back to the Kikuyu in 2002 by picking Uhuru Kenyatta as his successor? Moreover, Moi's first three (out of a total of five) vice presidents were Kikuyu: Mwai Kibaki, Josephat Karanja and George Saitoti, the Maasai impostor. Some of the most powerful men of Moi's regime were Kikuyu.
6. The Kikuyu chattering classes were very vocal against Moi. Suddenly, many of them went mum from the time Kibaki took power. Some have since boarded the ethnic gravy train or support it quietly. Former dissidents like Gibson Kamau Kuria, Paul Muite and Martha Karua come to mind.
7. Among the Kikuyu there has always been a progressive elite: the Bildad Kaggias, Timothy Njoyas, John Githongos, Maina Kiais, David Ndiis. These individuals have ended up being cursed and ostracized for resisting Uthamakism.
8. Kikuyu-owned or -controlled media outlets such as Kameme FM, The People, Nation, Citizen, etcetera unabashedly or subtly trumpet Kikuyu Power everyday.
9. There is the common retort that Uthamakism is an elite affair; that the majority of Kikuyus suffer like other Kenyans. Well, since the re-introduction of multiparty politics in Kenya in 1991, the Kikuyu have consistently voted for their own.
10.Jaramogi Oginga Odinga refused a British offer to take over Kenya's leadership, insisting on the release of Kenyatta from prison. And Oginga's son Raila in 2002 shelved his presidential ambition and declared support for Mwai Kibaki (Kibaki tosha!). The Kikuyu have never supported a presidential candidate from outside their community.
From Jomo, to Kibaki and now Uhuru, Kikuyus have held some of the most powerful positions in government. Kenya's first broad-based government collapsed because Kikuyu oligarchs captured Kibaki, re-ethnicised state power and sidelined all the others in NARC coalition.
In his autobiography, Kibaki's Vice President Moody Awori writes: 'On days when we held the weekly Cabinet meetings at State House, I always went ahead of the rest of the Ministers to discuss with the President in his office matters that did not need to be brought to the Cabinet. On a number of occasions two powerful Ministers from Central Province would just barge into the President's office while I was still there, greet the President and continue a conversation with him in Kikuyu. Kibaki would feel embarrassed and respond in English or sometimes in Kiswahili, but it did not deter the two Ministers. They would continue talking to him in Kikuyu'.
Kenyans need to discuss the issue of Kikuyu Power.