Retired President Mwai Kibaki was at one point in political trouble caused by immense pressure to give Uhuru Kenyatta a job, following the huge financial input the now President had contributed in the 2007 presidential campaign.
In his new book,Against All Odds – which was launched in December last year – Former Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka narrates that after the Grand Coalition government of Kibaki and then Prime Minister Raila Odinga was birthed, members of Kibaki’s kitchen Cabinet got divided on who between Narc- Kenya leader Martha Karua and Kenyatta would be appointed as Deputy Prime Minister (DPM).
According to Musyoka, the faction that was supporting Uhuru argued, among other reasons, that the Kenyatta family’s money had played a major role in Kibaki’s re-election hence he should be granted the DPM position.
They also observed that Uhuru, who was at the time the KANU Party leader, had sacrificed his presidential ambitions to support Kibaki.On the other hand, the group backing Karua argued she had for long been loyal to the retired President and that she had fearlessly defended Kibaki’s disputed victory during that tense encounter at KICC between ODM and PNU supporters in front of the Electoral Commission of Kenya – the former electoral body.
Kalonzo narrates that owing to the “very cordial working relationship” he had with Kibaki, the group supporting Uhuru urged him to convince the President not to appoint anyone else for the Deputy Prime Minister position apart from their preferred candidate.
Once I was on an official visit to Egypt in 2008 when Mr Romano Kiome, the Permanent Secretary for Agriculture, called me. Kiome, a good friend of mine, was a member of the Kibaki kitchen Cabinet. He told me that the President had refused to appoint Uhuru as Deputy Prime Minister and instead wanted to appoint somebody else. Kiome wanted me to talk to Kibaki on Uhuru’s behalf and convince him to appoint Uhuru.
At the time, there was talk that some within the kitchen Cabinet were pushing Martha Karua’s case,” Kalonzo narrates.Kalonzo says when he went to plead with Kibaki to appoint Uhuru as DPM, the former President explained his troubles: “It turned out that Kibaki was not even thinking about Karua. He said he was worried that Uhuru being a Kikuyu, people would accuse him of being a tribalist; Kalonzo narrates.
Luckily, the former VP managed to convince Kibaki and Uhuru was thereafter appointed Deputy Prime Minister.Kalonzo acknowledges that Kibaki was very good at delegation adding that as his VP, Kibaki gave me a lot of assignments to carry out on his behalf but I noted that all the major ones he handled personally. He also gave me a relatively free hand to operate.I would hold sessions with him once a week. We developed a very cordial working relationship right from the first NARC administration. I used this warmth on a num­ber of occasions to help people who were having trouble with him. They included Uhuru Kenyatta, John Michuki and Njenga Karume, Kalonzo states