When Peter Kenneth declared his intention to vie for the Nairobi gubernatorial seat, his candidature was received with suspicion, he was perceived as a project of the Kikuyu elite to take over when Uhuru exits the scene. Those in opposition and some people in the Deputy President’s camp openly expressed their concerns that he was being groomed for the presidency. Ordinary Kikuyu’s were divided between PK and Sonko. Majority felt Sonko was the only politician capable of beating Kidero in an open contest for Nairobi, while others saw Kenneth as suitably qualified for the position. Seen as aloof and representing the interests of the rich and pitted against a formidable opponent, a darling of the masses and the champion of the powerless, Kenneth’s candidature was doomed from the very beginning.
The crushing defeat of these two candidates, especially Kabogo has left the Kikuyu nation almost feeling orphaned. With president Uhuru expected to keep a national profile as the President, many would have felt comfortable knowing there is a ready heir.
The Kalenjins have William Ruto, but in their ranks they have young charismatic, eloquent brave leaders/princes like Mandago and Stephen Sang, not to mention Gideon Moi who would easily take over. The kambas have Kalonzo, but they also have Alfred Mutua. It is not very clear who will take over the mantle in Nyanza when Raila retires from politics (if he ever does!) In coast they have Joho and Hassan Omar in their ranks.
The dilemma and challenge of the Kikuyu Nation is to identify a new upcoming leader who is refined, represents the interests of the community and can find acceptance with other communities. Some people are looking towards Mwangi Kiunjuri, whose mastery of Kikuyu language and its deep symbolism reasonates with the masses but he lacks a national appeal. The re-emergence of Kimunya offers a glimmer of hope and the contest between Ann Waiguru and Martha Karua in Kirinyaga might yet produce a new leader for the Agikuyu.
The exit of Kabogo and Kenneth leaves the Kikuyu without a candidate they can front for the 2022 presidential contest. This is not necessary a bad thing because they have been perceived by many as selfish and incapable of supporting another community. Every presidential contest since the advent of multiparty democracy, there has always been a Kikuyu Presidential candidate on the ballot. Having produced three of Kenya’s four presidents, this is the perfect opportunity for the Kikuyu nation to shake off the betrayer’s tag and support another community. In the meantime, the quest for unifying leader remains and one will emerge sooner than later.