With the clock fast ticking towards next year’s general election and a determined William Ruto growing bolder, Uhuru Kenyatta has instituted a secret team involving multi-security agencies to rate those out to succeed him.
In private, Uhuru has always been asking his handlers if Ruto can defeat ODM leader Raila Odinga in the 2022 presidential race. Uhuru has further been eager to know how a compromise candidate, if well repackaged, can fair in the race.
However, for the compromise candidate, the president has been told, it can only work if Raila does not run and together with him back one strong face to take on Ruto. For now, the 2022 race has shaped to be a two- horse one of Ruto and Raila.
Weekly Citizen has established, a bitter war has erupted between senior officials at the Office of the President and powerful politicians surrounding Uhuru. The OP mandarins are said to be against Raila succeeding Uhuru.
They argue that in case Raila wins the presidential race, Ruto followers will not agree and the same with Raila supporters in case Ruto wins. History, they say, is bound to repeat itself as it has always happened after every presidential election since introduction of multiparty politics.
The only time chaos were not witnessed was during the Moi succession when Mwai Kibaki won after a power sharing deal with prominent politicians that saw the late Wamalwa Kijana named vice-president.
Apart from chaos, the OP operatives opine, Raila of late does not appeal to the youthful and influential youth vote bloc of between 18 years and 30 years many who are unemployed. They even say the likes of Embakasi East MP Babu Owino who was born in 1989 and is 32 years old is finding the going tough among the youthful vote bloc that is always associated with hardliners opposed to the existing regime.
To them, Ruto’s decision to openly take Uhuru headon on the pretext of hustler nation and dynasties is working well to the youthful vote in his favour. Recently while touring Burma market in Nairobi’s Eastlands, a region perceived to be the ODM stronghold, Raila together with nominated MP Maina Kamanda were heckled by youth supporting Ruto.
This signifies how the political terrain is getting hot and hotter every day as Kenyans approach 2022. After the heckling that saw Raila take off in a hurry, it is whispered in certain quarters that to do damage control and create the impression that Raila was booed by paid people, Babu ferried youth to storm UDA party headquarters and demand payment for “having heckled Raila at Burma market”.
According to a source, the OP luminaries are prevailing upon Uhuru in the spirit of handshake to convince Raila not to run after Building Bridges Initiative referendum is passed and use the new political positions shared among regional kingpins to counter Ruto.
To them, Raila can effectively be accommodated by the next president, enjoy state powers as it is now despite the fact he was engaged in a fierce 2017 presidential battle with Uhuru. To OP men, Raila is now the de facto deputy president after Uhuru divorcing Ruto in public.
The OP movers’ fear is that if Raila faces Ruto, apart from chaos that will water down the handshake power deal, the possibility of Raila losing or winning are half-half.
If he loses to Ruto, the so-called deep state operatives will definitely end up being removed from plum slots to be taken over by Ruto men. What will happen to the likes of Internal Security and National Coordination principal secretary Karanja Kibicho if Ruto wins? one asked.
To complicate matters is the argument that going with the recent happenings in Msabweni by-election, Raila and his Coast allies seem to be losing ground.
The same is said even in Raila home ground area of Siaya county where David Ochieng won on a little party Movement for Democracy and Growth during Ugenya by-election last year.
Then we have politicians backing Raila. They claim Raila is approaching the next general elections with over 5 million votes he got during the last elections. To the politicians, with the support of Uhuru, Raila is likely to garner and make inroads in Mount Kenya region and share spoils with Ruto.
To the politicians led by Kamanda and other Central faces backing BBI, Raila can be repackaged and sold in the region. To them, as the 2022 race is a two-horse race between Ruto and Raila, if Raila backs out, Ruto will be the beneficiary as he will inherit Raila’s supporters as he has done with the youthful firebrand opposition sympathisers who before could do anything for Raila.
Weekly Citizen has established, aware he is losing grip due to his support of the Jubilee party unpopular moves, Raila who seems to have no new ideas has been advised not to support Uhuru’s unpopular decisions blindly just for the sake of pleasing him. This is however a big ask because Raila has to earn his pay from Uhuru.
But just like OP men fear losing positions if Ruto defeats Raila, Mount Kenya politicians backing Raila are also worried of losing political seats to Ruto preferred luminaries in their respective regions.
To the politicians backing Raila, they believe by 2022, Ruto will be broke, isolated and lonely. His current troops would be struggling to retain their seats thus leaving Ruto to fight the presidential race alone with Raila having established a formidable network across the country. It is on these grounds the politicians have pushed Uhuru to come up with the Kikuyu/Kalenjin presidential occupancy dominance since independence to favour Raila candidature.
All said and done, the Kikuyu/Kalenjin dominance is to favour Baringo senator Gideon Moi presidential bid in the coming years since Raila or another face will succeed Uhuru as Gideon matures politically with Ruto fortunes having nosedived and then bring the Kikuyu/Kalenjin together to vote for Gideon.
Due to the power struggle between the two camps, Uhuru has directed security agencies to carry out a clandestine survey on the three leading presidential aspirants whose parties are cooperating with the ruling but divided Jubilee party to establish who among them stands a better chance of defeating Ruto in the 2022 presidential race.
The secret report will be twofold; to establish each aspirant’s performance if the BBI report sails through and two, performance if the BBI report is rejected or the referendum is not held.
The agencies that include the National Intelligence Service and the provincial administration, which have been directed to carry out a survey on Raila, Musalia Mudavadi and Kalonzo Musyoka to establish how each would fair if backed by the state for presidency in 2022 to face Ruto.
Uhuru will use the report to chart his succession game. Surprisingly, the powerful OP men have been sidelined in the matter on grounds they have already taken sides in the succession game.
The president, sources added, met Raila and Mudavadi after the burial of Mudavadi’s mother in Vihiga in his effort to have them work together.
Uhuru’s concern being, Raila got 5 million votes in 2017 with the backing of Mudavadi, Kalonzo and Moses Wetangula.
The National Super Alliance team is not together and the OP faces have always stated, Raila will enter 2022 presidential race a punctured candidate.
The report is to also establish if it is true Raila is fast losing ground in his traditional strongholds of Nyanza, Coast, Western, sections of Eastern and North Eastern.
Those involved have further been tasked with establishing the political and economic ramifications of a contest that pits Raila versus Ruto, Mudavadi versus Ruto and Kalonzo versus Ruto.
According to highly placed sources, the president does not want to cast his lot with a losing candidate and will use the survey to convince the three – Raila, Mudavadi and Kalonzo – to back the one who will come top in the survey.
The survey will also establish the level of preparedness for each aspirant, including the financial muscle each is ready to unleash in the campaigns and the support from the voters of the lineup each is drawing.
In the first report, Uhuru wants to know how Raila will fair in all the 47 counties if he is picked as the presidential candidate with a running mate from Mount Kenya region, with Mudavadi and Kalonzo getting the premier and deputy premier’s positions alongside Mombasa governor Hassan Joho if BBI sails through.
The name of Peter Kenneth features prominently in whatever power game being worked on. Kenneth represents Muranga which has backed Kiambu and Nyeri presidencies and now it is believed Kiambu and Nyeri brothers will stand with Muranga as they get a powerful slot in next government.
When going for the handshake to tame Ruto, Uhuru’s thinking was that Raila’s support in his strongholds would remain intact all the way to the 2022 polls.
Mudavadi has declared that his bid for the top seat is unstoppable.