The Star (Nairobi)

26 February 2013

Kenya: Kibaki Is Risking Embarrassment

editorial

PRESIDENT Kibaki has started openly campaigning for Gichuki Mugambi, the Saba Saba candidate for Othaya. This is not a good idea.

In principle it is not necessarily bad for presidents to campaign for certain candidates in elections. If there is a congressional or senate race, President Obama may well go and campaign for the Democratic Party candidate. So why shouldn't a Kenyan president also campaign for particular politicians?

Kibaki risks damaging his credibility as an impartial yet influential retired president.

Former President Moi has been prudent in his political interventions since leaving office and his status as a 'grand old man' of Kenyan politics has risen considerably.

Kibaki may be backing the wrong horse in the Othaya race.

Mugambi is an elitist golf course chum from Nairobi. His opponent, TNA candidate Mary Wambui, is riding the Uhuru wave, and moreover is a down-to-earth, rich, popular candidate.

Kibaki is risking political embarrassment in a superficially one-sided contest rather than consolidating his legacy as a successful president.

Moreover Kenya is still a fragile state. As a general rule, it is probably better for a president to be a president for all Kenyans, and to not publicly display his party affiliations until his term is over.

Quote of the day: "Democracy cannot be defined as the existence of parliaments and elections alone."- Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdo?an was born on February 26, 1954

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