Former Gatanga MP Peter Kenneth spoke to the Star about the BBI, what he has been up to outside of politics, his recent trip to Bondo and more.
Former PS Bitange Ndemo said his phone stopped rigging after he left office. How has life been since 2013?
I have been alright. I had businesses running, so I just went back to the businesses. So for me it was just a move from public office to private office. It’s given me opportunity to grow the business which probably I would not have gotten if I was in public life. For me it’s been busy. Genuine friends will always be genuine. They would stand by you. So I have never had an issue. In fact, I would wish that it [the phone] would ring less [laughs].
What do you do away from politics?
I am in the financial sector in six African countries for banking and insurance. That keeps me busy. A little tea farming and dairy farming here and there but the main line is in the financial sector.
What are your views about the BBI report?
Those who are opposed to the report need to tell Kenyans what is wrong with BBI proposals. Is there a problem in giving ward funds? is there a problem in increasing county allocations? is there a problem in number two in an election being acknowledged as leader of official opposition?
Is there a problem in saying court cases should be determined in two years? Is there a problem in the police reporting somewhere? Where on this good world is an independent police without reporting to some office? Are we saying if there is cattle rustling it is for the police to decide whether they should go and stop or not?
There must be directions. Directions do not necessarily interfere with the independence of a force. Why is that so critical to those fighting BBI yet they are not asking the President to stop being commander in chief of the armed forces?
The consensus must be purely on items that were discussed within the handshake. We are not reviewing the Constitution. The Constitution has a lot of things that we should review if you ask me. We need to look at our Bill of Rights. Was it too liberal?
Some say Mt Kenya is hostile to BBI and it could sink in the referendum.
I am not sure about it falling. There is a lot of civic education to be undertaken and once you separate the truth from the lies, people will make a more credible judgement. In my view, there has been a lot of propaganda but the truth is these whole proposals called BBI are beneficial to that common person in every region.
I know we are at the centre of a pandemic, but the country must move on and I think creation of any law that betters the country will always be a priority for Kenyans or for any country.
Your trip to Bondo alongside Kikuyu elders caused a furore. Why?
A lot of things were said. But it’s very interesting that when the elders attended a funeral last week of a Luo elder, they were warmly welcomed, there was no furore and accusations that they are not the real elders.
You can clearly see those who felt they were left behind were the ones making the most noise. The trip was a pure arrangement between the Kikuyu Council of Elders and the Luo Council of Elders. We were invited to attend.I did not imagine that my appearance would create such a furore against a legitimate group going to visit another legitimate group.
There has been a lot of debate on the youth vote. What’s your view on the hustler campaigns?
Any country that has a high rate of unemployment would always be on the edge when it comes to any form of incitement to any group. In the case of Kenya, we have a high rate of unemployment of our young people. We need to think of how we can better their lives.
And the only way we can do it in my view is creating more employment spaces. Creating more security so investors can feel Kenya is the choice destination for their investment…So yes, if we create narratives that take advantage of situations we are in terms of unemployment, it could create a problem.