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Kenya’s Richest Man Pursues Presidential Dream

Posted by Administrator on November 21, 2011

Uhuru Kenyatta, a deputy Prime minister and the son of Kenya’s first president, Jomo Kenyatta, has declared his interest in running for the 2012 Presidential elections of the Republic of Kenya.

Kenyatta, who is ranked as the 26th richest man in Africa in our inaugural list of the 40 richest Africans announced his candidacy last week during a public function in Narok, a commercial town west of Nairobi. He addressed leaders of the community, informing them, “I will come back to seek your votes as I will be in the presidential race next year.”

This is not the first time Kenyatta is running for president. In 2002 he tried for the presidency under the Kenya Alliance for National Unity (KANU) political party, but lost out to Mwai Kibaki, the country’s incumbent president.

The wealthy 50 year-old may face a few hurdles in his race to become the number 1 citizen of the East African country. Kenyatta is currently awaiting trial at the International Criminal Court, where he has been named as a suspect of crimes against humanity and accused of planning and funding violent activities in the aftermath of the 2007 presidential elections, in which over 200,000 people were displaced, and over 1,000 were killed. Kenyatta denies any wrongdoing, but the court has yet to make a ruling.

Before his foray into politics in the mid 1990s, Uhuru was a successful businessman. After bagging a bachelor’s degree in political science from Amherst College in the U.S, he returned to Kenya where he founded a hugely successful horticultural business which he eventually sold off to focus on managing his family’s extensive business interests, which include luxury hotels, dairies, commercial banks, media and vast holdings of prime Kenyan land.

Along with members of his family, Kenyatta is one of the largest land owners in Kenya, owning at least 500,000 acres across the country. The land was acquired by his father in the 60s and 70s under a settlement transfer fund scheme that allowed government officials acquire land from the British at dirt cheap prices. It was legally acquired, but a majority of Kenyans still believe that the older Kenyatta simply allocated the land to himself and his family.

Kenyatta has had a rather successful career in politics and public service. In 1999, he was appointed by former Kenyan President Daniel Arap Moi as chairman of the Kenya Tourism Board. Two years later, in 2001, he was elected to the Kenyan parliament and was subsequently appointed minister for Local Government. In 2008 he was appointed Deputy Prime Minister under the coalition government and assumed position of Minister of Finance in 2009. Now, he has his sights set on the country’s top seat.

Kenyatta is aggressively pursuing his presidential ambition and is leveraging the power of social media to endear himself to the young Kenyan electorate. He is one of the most social media savvy politicians in the country, and operates active Twitter and Facebook accounts which he uses to keep followers informed about his activities. (His Twitter handle is @UKenyatta and he has 21,400 followers.) He also has an active YouTube channel through which his staff frequently uploads videos of him making appearances and speaking at public functions.

Will he make a great president? Last week, I put the question through to some of my Kenyan followers on Twitter. I got several mixed responses. One said, “If he can be nice enough to return back all the land his father acquired illicitly, then he might make a good president.”

Source: http://www.forbes.com/sites/mfonobongnsehe/2011/11/21/kenyas-richest-man-pursues-presidential-dream/

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4 Responses to “Kenya’s Richest Man Pursues Presidential Dream”

  1. mtangwa said

    In 2002 ,this man came hunting for My vote as a presidential candidate. I dint vote for him but i remember saying he is a president in waiting. Ten years later, he comes requesting for my vote on the same seat. Has he gained milage to suite my presidential requirements? Am not sure but i still see him as a presidential material. At only 50yrs,he has more than five chances to place his bid

  2. shi shi said

    never I dont want any name that has been in power to rule again I want a fresh start I think Philip Murgor the prosecutor who tried charging the untouchables should ran for president we need people who have a little humanity in them to ran the governement for once.

  3. Netia said

    He can be president of Kenya after Coast, North Eastern and Western have seceded.

  4. paul mambo said

    Time out for him he hasnt got any new ideas and hasnt proven to be worth of being a president and very tribal indeed just like his father. Kenya needs a focussed leader to take us places noone with baggage. Since he is so wealthy what has he done with this illgotten wealth? IDPs and other well deserving citizens have never seen or been touched by his stingy family wealth so why does he need us know? he can continue enjoying his wealth. HIs mother Mama Ngina has orphanages named after her and is also so stingy and misery that not even a penny isnt spent on this or any deserving cases atleast their family should be philantrophic si wata ziwacha hapa hapa kama baba yao? No vote from me and many kenyans too. He hasnt proven himself period.

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