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George Saitoti: Presidential prospects in 2012 hang in the balance.

By   /  April 13, 2010  /  15 Comments

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Provincial Administration and Internal Security Minister Presidential prospects in 2012 hang in the balance. As 2012 draws near, Professor George Saitoti, the Party of National Unity (PNU) Chairman is yet to come out openly.

Despite being the PNU Chairman, Professor Saitoti is yet to hold political rallies like his political competitors just to test the political waters and his popularity. Prime Minister Mr. Raila Odinga, Vice-President Mr. Kalonzo Musyoka, Deputy Prime Minister Mr. Uhuru Kenyatta, Agriculture Minister Mr. William Ruto, Saboti MP Mr. Eugene Wamalwa and Gichugu MP Ms Martha Karua are already marketing themselves.

Born in 1945, Professor Saitoti was nominated to Parliament in 1983 and was appointed as Minister for Finance and Economic Planning by former President Daniel arap Moi.He is a graduate of Brandeis, Sussex and Warwick Universities.

A former University of Nairobi Mathematics don, he contested Kajiado North Parliamentary seat in 1988 general elections and won it. When Dr. Josephat Njuguna Karanja was hounded out of office in 1989, Professor Saitoti was chosen to replace him. However, he was not re-appointed as Vice-President after the 1997 general elections, but Moi announced his re-appointment later in 1999 at a roadside near Limuru.

On 18 March 2002, Professor Saitoti was removed as Kanu Vice-Chairman at Kasarani in Nairobi. He was also dismissed as Vice-President on 30 August 2002 by Moi for disloyalty. Thereafter he joined Kanu rebels who were opposed to Moi’s choice of Mr. Kenyatta as his successor and eventually formed the National Rainbow Alliance (NARC) with other opposition parties. He was re-elected and in 2003, he was appointed Minister for Education. Again in 2008, he was appointed Minister.

What is confusing is whether Saitoti would accept to play second-fiddle to other political heavy-weights come 2012. He is yet to rally his troops, leave alone consolidating his political base or forming a strong alliance or coalition. The two front-runners, Mr. Odinga and Mr. Kalonzo, have already charted their political path despite the challenges in the Kenya’s political landscape. However, we cannot consign him to political oblivion nor dismiss his presidential bid because Kenyans can only do so or determine his destiny.

Upon the enactment of the new constitution, a winning Presidential candidate has to garner more than half of the total votes cast and secure at least 25 per cent of the votes cast in more than 24 of the 47 counties. This would be a difficult task for any Presidential candidate in the country. Professor Saitoti has to take this into account.

It means he has to work extra-hard country-wide if his dream of grand march to Statehouse has to be realized. Otherwise, relying on one or two regions would be futile undertaking, taking into account the high degree of political education and the competitive nature of the Kenyan politics as witnessed in the 2007 general elections. An early starter always casts his fishing net wide and benefits most in the political process.

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About the author


Mr. Joseph Kipkoech, Expert in International Affairs, History, Media and Politics


  1. avatar Simen ole Shaparo says:

    I don’t think that Prof. Saitoti has the spirit and the capacity to run the upcoming presidential elections, the man had enough time to be around the house and is better for him and for Kenyans as well to quit. This time is for new generations.

  2. avatar saaid omar says:

    i agree to simen becuase proff saitoti Involve many scandals such as Golding park… and i believe unless cat the roots of this Authority scandals will continue

    • avatar Bob Pertet says:

      Saaid Omar,my friend if u’ve been to darkness,plz ask for assistance,dont go just talking of something u even dont have a clue about.

  3. avatar masafu Kiberenge Christopher says:

    If history is what to go by, then it is too early to rule Prof out. Who new the Retired President Moi was to take from Mzee Kenyatta, Who new President Kibaki was to stage a formidable campaign with the little known DP in 1992?
    Better still, who expected radical polititians like Wamalwa, Anyona, Mwau, Koigi, Shikuku and Orengo of the days to perform dismally in presidential elections?
    I therefore think Prof Saitoti is as good as any other presidential aspirant – in fact the right material, not idle to run around before the match starts simply to test waters.
    When push comes to shove, we will see who is who in the field. I think Prof is busy serving the country.

  4. avatar Wilfred Mulliro says:

    The good rrof of mathematics should do well as an advisor and not a presidential candidate; his chances have been marred by accelerated tribalism in kenya. having been branded a kikuyu chances are slim.

  5. avatar Peter Wilson says:

    The issue is not the tribe of the Prof. but it is new era that our country is heading to. Beleive or not the old guards has no chance in the coming elections. So do prepare yourself or campaing for the new generation as Simama Kenya project

  6. avatar AnneMarie van Sant says:

    He was great as Head of the Mathematics Department
    and we think he will be great as head of the great
    country Kenya.

  7. avatar DAUDI MWENDA says:

    The recent naming of Six High profile personalities by ICC Prosecutor Louis Moreno Ocampo has thrown a huge spanner in the works in our political establishment. It also has the potential of causing a tectonic shift in our political status quo as new political re-alignments are born. Both Coalition partners are in a tight corner with their lieutenants near fatally wounded. Fortunately President Mwai Kibaki is on the home stretch to complete his second and final term in office. Not so for PM Raila Odinga whose political fortunes have taken a serious beating in Rift Valley and Central Province. It will take a lot of hard work and incredible political acumen to salvage what has been lost.
    In the meantime VP Kalonzo Musyoka appears to be positioning himself to be the beneficiary of this unexpected windfall. Many Kenyans however have a problem with “political scavengers” who reap from the misfortunes of others. To make matters worse he has been sadly indecisive on matters of national importance such as environmental degradation, was lukewarm on the Constitutional Referendum amongst others. In the words of the late Malcolm X “If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything.” Kenyans desire a principled leader willing to make difficult decisions when the need arises and not persons who sit twiddling their fingers hoping from the problem to resolve itself or awaiting divine providence.
    The greatest beneficiary of the new dispensation therefore may be former Vice President and now Minister for Internal Security George Saitoti. Though George Saitoti has thus far kept a respectable distance from the national succession fray it has not escaped our notice that he has been quietly strategically positioning himself by throwing off the “millstone of Goldenberg” that had hung around his neck for decades; neutralizing the electoral Petitioner in Kajiado North and capturing the Chairmanship of the PNU. These are not signs of a politician waiting to walk silently into the sunset and eventual obscurity. It is the work of a visionary maestro who has done his calculus and is awaiting the moment.
    The highly intelligent and calculating Professor of Mathematics must now be doing his arithmetic of capturing the Rift Valley voting block after which the Central Province and Upper Eastern bloc would be almost guaranteed. Add Coast and North-Eastern Province(s) where he has impeccable connections and “hey presto” a President in waiting would be pulled from the trick bag!” As they say “the game is not over until it is over and no single candidate should get complacent and enter a comfort zone.
    History has indelibly shown that our last two Presidents’ namely Moi & Kibaki have been former Vice Presidents’. It would be a miscalculation of monumental proportions to write off George Saitoti as he has the capacity and resources to cause an upset in 2012. Arise Sir George! Time waits for no man!

    DAUDI MWENDA.P.O.BOX 24943-00502 NAIROBI. CELL: 0722 154 722

  8. avatar Bob Pertet says:

    Prof Saitoti is the only matured presidential aspirant comes 2012,he never turnish peoples name,hes been a good servant to retired President Moi and what we know,if u’ve been good to your boss,he supposed to reward you but not to take advantage of you and then the last minute he kicks u out and go for someone unknown even to other servants,definitely it will bring commotion and thats what happened,former President Moi was unfair.

  9. avatar Bob Pertet says:

    Kenyans are not yet ready to hand over the Presidency to a woman or young turks as it may be thought off.We still need these old forks to lead us maybe until 2020.

  10. avatar Mark Mongera says:

    Saitoti for president. I urge him to to take Raphael Tuju as his runningmate, talk to Musyoka, Kenyatta, Ruto, and rest of G7 to accept him as presidential material. Saitoti is well placed and exprienced to wrest it out with Raila. Go George Go!

  11. avatar Peter Porter says:

    Prof. George is the right man to lead kenya in 2012. I have followed the prof; both in his private and public life and I have concluded that he is an intelligent person as he is a leader. If kenyans give him a chance to lead the country i believe he will do a wonderful job.

  12. avatar Peter says:

    According to this opinion poll. Our man Saitoti is not fairing well.

  13. saitoti once said this n i quote”it comes a time when a nation is more important than an individual”end of quote.kenyans,figure out the meaning.look at whats hapenning,kind of revenge thats coming up,injustices that are planned,n ask your self.surely as a kenyan who dont like to see uhuro ruto or raila butching each other,who is a neutral decisive ground man.obviously saitoti is the man.kalonzo katatuweka kwa moto.

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