Eugene Wamalwa is set to be the next speaker of national assembly in a deft political move by Uhuru Kenyatta aimed at perching the Luhya community in the highest echelons of Jubilee hierarchy. The speaker is number three in the pecking order after president and deputy president.
Speaker Justin Muturi from the Embu slope of Mt Kenya will become Attorney General to replace Githu Muigai.
Githu, a Kikuyu like Uhuru Kenyatta does not add political raw value to Jubilee as opposed to if the slot was held by someone from another community as a bargain. However, others in Jubilee want Muturi to remain speaker and Eugene Wamalwa to become AG. They say Eugene Wamalwa served as Justice minister in Mwai Kibaki government and has the experience.
Githu who has been fighting survival games at the AG chambers has secured an international job. Ever since Uhuru took power, Githu has been at loggerheads with Uhuru’s close allies who have been plotting on how to edge him out him and replace him with AG of their choice.
Sources within the corridors of power have divulged that Githu has fallen out with top Jubilee leadership, including State House. Unlike in the Kibaki regime when he was a regular visitor to the most powerful office in the land, and at times engaging Kibaki in vernacular as they enjoyed a cup of coffee and shared a table for dinner, of late Githu is almost persona non grata at State House.
It has since emerged that a serious power struggle has also hit the State Law Office pitting Githu and Solicitor General Njee Muturi. Whereas the Solicitor General has traditionally played a behind-the-scenes role with the AG being more prominent, there is more than meets the eye regarding the true situation at the State Law Office.
Insiders say that Njee has eclipsed Githu and blocked him accessing State House by virtue of him being close to Uhuru. Njee visits the big office at any time. He was once Uhuru’s personal assistant and the two are known to enjoy a drink with Uhuru imbibing his favourite Glenfiddich Scotch whisky.
Indeed, it is said Uhuru gives directives and also makes reference to Njee and Abdikadir Mohammed who is his adviser on constitutional and legislative issues and not to Githu who ought to be pivot point on matters legal for the government.
People close to Uhuru see Githu as a carryover baggage from the Kibaki administration and is now believed to have outlived his usefulness, hence his frustrations. Sources say had it not been that as AG, he enjoys the security of tenure, Githu would have been hounded out of the State Law Office long ago.
Reports indicate that Njee has since become increasingly powerful to the extent that he is actually the AG in waiting.
At one time, there were rumours that a plot had been hatched to force Githu to resign as it happened with the Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo. The plot also involved taking amendment laws to parliament to remove security of tenure of the AG but it was shelved after it was discovered it could backfire on Uhuru’s leadership.
Those well-versed with operations at State Law Office say that Githu has been sidelined in a number of legal matters with some of his duties being assigned to Njee.
Kenyans must have noticed that Njee has become increasingly influential and powerful unlike his predecessor, Wanjuki Muchemi, who worked under Kibaki and Uhuru.
Trouble for Githu was brought by the manner he handled the ICC case involving Uhuru. Those close to Uhuru claimed that before Uhuru was elected, he casually handled the matter and only changed tactic when Uhuru was elected.
Another bone of contention is the claim that Githu is suspected to have close links with Cord leader Raila Odinga who is his next door home neighbour in Karen. In 2011 when Kibaki made several appointments including that of Githu as AG, without consulting Raila, the list had to be withdrawn but Raila said that he had no objections against Githu. Githu and Raila are still buddies and Jubilee suspects they share more than a fence.
Githu’s worst moment was when High Court judge Justice George Odunga suspended the security laws and what shocked many is revelation by Githu that he was not fully consulted over the matter. Keen observers might have noticed that even when the case was being heard, he was rarely in court but Njee was the one taking charge.
Back to Eugene Wamalwa, for a long time, the Luhya community has been complaining, although being the second populous, that Jubilee has sidelined them in prime positions. Others argue that in 2013, the community did not vote for Uhuru’s Jubilee but still were considered for cabinet, principal secretaries and parastatal positions.
To garner over 30pc votes in Western region, more so, after two parties Ford-Kenya and UDF that backed Musalia Mudavadi 2013 presidential bid dissolved to join Jubilee, intense lobbying to have Eugene Wamalwa occupy the third-in-command seat is on.
It is imperative to note that before Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka deserted Uhuru-Ruto camp in 2013 to join then Raila Odinga led Cord after he had been promised the position of speaker but with a 30-30-30pc share of government between him, Uhuru and Ruto. Raila on the other hand promised Kalonzo number two but with 15pc share of government slots. It is not clear how much government shares Eugene Wamalwa will get.
Analysts say that a move to name Eugene Wamalwa as speaker in case Jubilee wins is based on various factors apart from bagging votes. Analysts say the move is bound to send chills up the Nasa spine bearing in mind that Mudavadi and his co-principal Ford-K leader Moses Wetang’ula have been promised lower positions compared to that of speaker.
The slots do not even exist in the constitution. Mudavadi is designated to be the prime minister and cabinet secretary in charge of Government Coordination and Interior while Wetang’ula will hold that of deputy chief prime minister and cabinet secretary for Foreign Affairs and Public Service portfolios.
The Jubilee target is that Eugene Wamalwa is likely to bring on board the populous Bukusu vote and to an extent that a Luhya vote currently comfortable with Jubilee. The schemers are aware that in 2013, Uhuru never seriously pitched tent in Luhyaland after denying Mudavadi Jubilee presidential ticket which eventually saw them part ways.
Second, it is whispered that if Jubilee wins and the election of speaker is carried in parliament as stipulated, Luhya MPs-elect will definitely vote for their own regardless of their political affiliation. The argument here being that the current speaker Justin Muturi pushed by Jubilee, the possibility of him losing cannot be ruled out.
Eugene Wamalwa, according to the schemers on the political chessboard will be voted by Jubilee allied MPs and also benefit from the opposition side. Jubilee MPs and to an extent, State House, will be rewarding him for being loyal to Uhuru and Ruto.
Initially, it is said, Eugene Wamalwa wanted to quit his cabinet slot to join Mudavadi’s ANC and run for Trans Nzoia governorship seat. However, Uhuru is said to have prevailed upon him not to contest together with his colleague, Devolution cabinet secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri. Kiunjuri is to land the position of Chief of Staff and Head of Public Service currently held by Joseph Kinyua.
Uhuru has been telling his close allies that had Nasa nominated Mudavadi as flagbearer, his chances of winning a second term would have been remote, considering that Mudavadi enjoys political backing across the political and ethnic divide.
Sources say when Nasa nominated Raila as flagbearer, State House cheered and Uhuru threw a party and it was all celebrations as drinks flowed freely. It is further argued that State House’s nightmare was Mudavadi/Kalonzo ticket fearing that the two are not divisive and would easily turn tables on Uhuru.
The political loyalty in Luhyaland seems to be shifting in favour of Uhuru going by the overwhelming crowds that have been attending Jubilee rallies in the region. The fear in Nasa is that a combination of Eugene Wamalwa and Bungoma governor Ken Lusaka can easily cause political havoc in Bukusuland.
Analysts say due to the shambolic nominations in Kakamega county, Jubilee is likely to take two seats. Ben Washiali of Mumias East and Ben Shinali are on course to deliver for the ruling coalition. The Matungu seat held by David Were is also game for Jubilee.
In Bungoma, Jubilee is likely to get two seats, including the Mt Elgon and a number of seats in Trans Nzoia county. Interparties rivalry according to analysts is likely to cause opposition a number of parliamentary seats in western Kenya.
Nasa coprincipal Wetang’ula is having an uphill task to ensure the region remains in Nasa but the ground seems to be shifting. Although Mudavadi has been telling his supporters to stick to Nasa, and that he made the right choice to back Raila, all is not well as some still feel he was shortchanged.
But analysts are in agreement that Uhuru is serious in grabbing the Luhya votes from the paws of Nasa as he schemes for his second term and it will depend on how Nasa family reacts.
But it is not only Luhyalnd that Jubilee has been targeting to win presidential votes. The target has also been in Kisii and Nyamira counties. In 2013, coming in as a novice, Uhuru, and his Jubilee coalition received 26pc of the votes in the Kisii region. For a region that overwhelmingly voted Raila, that was a major achievement. Jubilee strategists now say that the two counties of Kisii and Nyamira, together with Maasailand, is what is considered the critical swing vote that will ensure Uhuru wins a second term.
The Jubilee strategists believe the party’s leadership has made sufficient inroads in these opposition strongholds and believe they can make inroads for the president’s Tano Tena campaign.
Ruto had been making trips in Nyamira and Kisii but of late, Jubilee has changed tactic with Ruto keeping off the two counties to allow Uhuru take the front seat in the campaigns. It is believed that majority of Kisii voters do not have a liking for Ruto. A joke is cracked within the political circles that the DP could not cope with the high tempered Kisii people, hence a retreat to allow Uhuru to personally ask for votes.
Uhuru gained significantly if clan politics in Kisiiland are anything to go by when he secured the loyalty and support of Kisii senator Chris Obure, who is the Jubilee candidate for the gubernatorial race and the former CIC chairman Charles Nyachae, now eyeing Obure’s seat.
On state jobs, Uhuru has continued to reward the Abagusii community. Simeon Nyachae who is supporting Uhuru’s re-election is the greatest beneficiary in the state jobs.
Already, Uhuru has appointed five members of his family to plum positions.
Nyachae’s daughter Judy and son Kenneth Nyachae were appointed to the Export Processing Zone and the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority boards respectively. Nyachae’s niece Violet Omwamba was appointed to the Lake Victoria South Water Services Board, while his nephew Christopher Ayienda was named board member at New Kenya Co-operative Creameries Limited. Another nephew, Samwel Nyanchama, was appointed to the Energy Regulatory Commission Board.
Nyachae and his family have dominated Kisii politics from the days of his father, Senior Chief Nyandusi, who grabbed a lot of land during his tenure. Nyachae is also reported to have helped push for the appointment of cabinet secretary Fred Matiang’i, a relative, who campaigned for him in 2002 when he unsuccessfully vied for president.
Several other politicians from the Gusii region known to be close to Nyachae and were appointed in government include Ford People chairman Henry Obwocha, who was appointed chair of the Privatisation Commission, while former Kitutu Masaba MP Walter Nyambati was named chairman of the Jomo Kenyatta Foundation. Former Nyaribari Chache MP Robert Monda heads to the Board of the Kenya Accreditation Services. Monda is a member of TNA and lost in the 2014 by-election to Ford People’s Richard Tong’i.
Jubilee brags of having made appointments favouring the Kisii community including that of CJ David Maranga and although the position is competitively filled, Jubilee has been taking credit.
In Maasai region, Uhuru is said to be targeting the two counties of Narok and Kajiado. The two counties were opposition strongholds in 2013.
The appointment of Joseph Nkaissery as Internal Security CS was meant to lure the Maasai to the government.
In 2013, Raila got 236,831 votes in Kisii, while Uhuru garnered 95,596 of the 412,945 votes cast. In Nyamira, Uhuru got 54,071 as Raila harvested 121,590 votes. Word doing rounds is that Uhuru is also likely to reward professionals from Narok and Kajiado counties with state jobs.
Joseph Nkadanyo who is the former Director General of Kenya Urban Roads Authority is likely to land the job of CEO at the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority. He comes from Kajiado. Also to land a well paid job is Ntoroos Baari ole Senteu who was formerly at Ewaso Nyiro South Development Authority. He comes from Narok.
But even as Uhuru tries to make inroads in the two Maasai denominated counties, Jubilee party has lost some of key politicians to Nasa as politicians seek political alignment. Uhuru last week sacked KMC chairman Taraiya ole Kores, days after he defected to the opposition.
Kores parted ways with Jubilee after losing the governor primaries in April. He blamed Ruto for this, claiming he rigged him out in favour of Joseph ole Lenku. In a Gazette Notice dated June 22, Uhuru appointed former Narok county council chairman Senteu Ntoross as Kores’ successor. Kores said his decision to cross over to ODM was and borne out of what he allegedly underwent during the Jubilee primaries in April.
But even as Jubilee tries to set foot in opposition strongholds, Nasa is also said to be working on fresh strategies aimed at invading Jubilee’s backyard of the larger Rift valley.
Nasa is now taking the battle for votes to Jubilee zones in a bid to attract more support in the rival’s backyard following closure of the mass voter registration.