President Uhuru Kenyatta is set to appoint ODM leader Raila Odinga chief cabinet secretary in the new power arrangement being worked on, we can report today. The appointment of Raila as CCS is likely to be done after the reading of budget in June. It will be part of Uhuru government restructuring that will bring in new faces. Apart from Raila, others expected to join include former Internal Security PS in Daniel Moi regime and former Kuresoi MP Zakayo Cheruyoit. Cheruiyot belongs to Isaac Ruto’s CCM party. Initially, it was expected the former Bomet governor would get a cabinet slot but word has it that he has declined as he plans to recapture his Bomet governor seat 2022. Former cabinet secretary Paul Otuoma’s name also features just like that of Ali Mwakwere, the man Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka is fronting in the power deal. However, others say that Kalonzo is much willing to join the cabinet. Political analysts say that the position Raila is to get is equivalent to that of prime minister he once held during the Narc coalition government with former president Mwai Kibaki.
The constitution does not have the post of PM but gives the president powers to create positions as it happened with the offices of cabinet administrative secretary. CAS posts were created to accommodate Jubilee and later ODM political losers in 2017. In the ministries, they are now referred to as assistant ministers while cabinet secretaries are the ministers in the former constitution. Sources say that since the handshake, Raila has been defacto chief cabinet secretary helping Uhuru to run daily government duties as he sidelined his deputy William Ruto. As your favourite Weekly Citizen reported recently, the current happenings surrounding Ruto are to force him resign and the country to get a new DP. Once Ruto resigns from government and with Baringo senator Gideon Moi’s party Kanu having entered into a post-election coalition with Jubilee, the lastborn and favourite son of dead Moi could easily be named deputy president. The constitution of Kenya Chapter 149 talks of vacancy in the office of deputy president. It states, within 14 days after a vacancy in the office of deputy president arises, the president shall nominate a person to fill the vacancy and the national assembly shall vote on the nomination within 60 days after receiving it.
The plan to have Uhuru control parliament by bringing on board opposition faces is to help Gideon get the nod. A move to have Gideon take the mantle is to shift Kalenjin power base from Ruto to the Baringo senator and at the same time, not to portray Uhuru as not being anti-Kalenjin but only uncomfortable with his current DP. But many say that Gideon controlling Kalenjins is simply impossible. Some would have expected Raila to replace Ruto as DP in case he resigns but our source reveals that Raila is not keen. First, the ODM leader who has run for presidency four times would be seen as lowering his political stature in the eyes of his supporters. Two, with Kanu having brought 10 MPs and senators in Jubilee in post-election power deal, he stands ahead of other parties affiliated to Jubilee that did not dissolve. During ODM management meeting, Raila was mandated to work with Jubilee. However, to avoid complication that can emerge in Jubilee including legal petitions, it was agreed that ODM should not sign a postelection coalition agreement but allow its members to join the unity government individually. Apart from legal aspect, fear was, according to insider, signing an agreement would have meant ODM having relinquished the role of official opposition party.
It was agreed that in case Uhuru allocates cabinet positions and plum positions, ODM party leaders should accept. The ODM talks took place at Raila’s Capitol Hill office and in attendance were Raila, John Mbadi (ODM chairman), Timothy Bosire (treasurer) and secretary general Edwin Sifuna. Party director of elections Junet Mohamed and ODM executive director Oduor Ong’wen were present. Uhuru plans to sack cabinet ministers allied to DP in a major cabinet purge. In the power deal, Wiper of Kalonzo wants two cabinet slots, Ford Kenya of Moses Wetangula one with ANC of Musalia Mudavadi not in the equation. ODM due to its numerical strength in parliamnen and senate wants four cabinet slots. Weekly Citizen was given three reasons by a State House insider as to why Uhuru has no declared war on his deputy. One, Ruto is accused of carrying himself as a copresident but not a deputy. This is despite the fact that Ruto’s URP was among the 11 parties that folded to form Jubilee. As a co-president, Ruto is said to have created a parallel government within Jubilee both in the executive and legislature reporting to him.
Within the government, a section of cabinet secretaries, parastatal bosses and even those in top government security organs had sworn alliance to Ruto more so, with Uhuru navigating his final years in power. The appointment of Internal Security secretary Fred Matiang’i in August last year to be in charge of coordinating delivery of national priorities was to tame Ruto running a parallel government. Matiang’i powers were contained in executive order number six of 2019. Matiang’i chairs the cabinet committee on development. Insiders say Matiang’i was not only being used to checkmate Ruto in cabinet but also in Gusiiland politics. The scheme has worked well going by happenings in the corridors of power. Ruto functions are of late skipped by government officials including county commissioners, chiefs and their assistants. Ministers do no longer accompany him. Instead, MPs allied to him have been on his side. During his visit in Nyandarua, Uhuru surprised many when he stated that he had left hyenas to initiate national development projects but were a letdown. Analysts say the remarks were aimed at Ruto who by then was going around to country launching what is a said unbudgeted development on behalf of Jubilee. The projects ended up being white elephants damaging Uhuru legacy.
Uhuru even attacked his deputy in public for loitering (kutangatanga). The second reason was Ruto and his allies boasting to have numbers in both parliament and senate. Here, State House read threats to Uhuru’s presidency either to play games with Ruto or face impeachment process. The impeachment fear led to Uhuru engage Raila, Gideon and Wiper leader to stay safe. It is said that the link between Kalonzo and Gideon is Kitui senator Enock Wambua who before he became senator worked at Gideon’s Standard newspaper. A case that annoyed Uhuru forcing him to go on drinking spree is that of Kandara MP Alice Wahome a DP ally. Wahome had claimed Uhuru was a threat to democracy and was plotting to keep himself in power by becoming PM. The third final reason is that of Ruto use of tweets in attacking state and Jubilee party. Some of the tweets and remarks are read by the president leaving him scratching his head wondering aloud if it is true they originated from his deputy’s office. Some of the tweets have referred to Uhuru and his handlers as fake guys, conmen or forces being controlled by evil spirits and perfecting dynasties.
He even tweets of being a hustler in a direct attack of Uhuru who was born on a silver platter and enjoys fortunes. State House has been questioning why Ruto cannot raise burning issues directly with his boss instead of tweeting and openly undermining Uhuru. However, when reached to comment on DP tweeting aspect, one of DP allies told your favourite Weekly Citizen that Uhuru of late wants Ruto to book an appointment to see him and rarely picks his phones as it used to happen during the first term of 2013-2017. In fact it is said Uhuru is more accessible to Raila than Ruto. Political analysts aver that Uhuru was out to appease himself to Ruto during the first term to win the Kalenjin populous vote bloc during his second term bid and isolate him during the second term. Our source further revealed that Coru secretary general Francis Atwoli remarks that Ruto will not be on the presidential ballot paper should not be taken lightly. Talk is rife that the DP related companies are being investigated by Kenya Revenue Authority. Ruto’s multi-million shilling donations across the country are also under Ethics Anti-Corruption Commission radar.
The two agencies together with Directorate of Criminal Investigations clear one to run for presidency and in one way or another, may bar Ruto. Others say that with current pressure sustained, Ruto may decide not to run for presidency and forge another alliance to protect him in post Uhuru presidency. Ruto handlers fear that if he not in the next government, the possibility of losing his wealth by appointing a commission to investigate him is highly predictable. In fact, a plot to name a commission to investigate the DP including if he runs a private army has been on ever since the former CS Mohammed Echesa dubious arms importation that linked the DP office in the scam. Back to Raila’s appointment as CCS, our source said it has the backing of Uhuru brother Muhoho Kenyatta and Gideon. The two are key players in Kenyatta and Moi families in protecting and running multibillion investments. Another silent player in the power deal is the president’s uncle and Mama Ngina Kenyatta brother George Muhoho. Raila has hosted the president and the two Muhohos in Nyanza. On the contrary, the three powerful faces surrounding Uhuru presidency have never been hosted by Ruto and do not even know the gates of DP’s Sugoi residence.
We have established since the handshake, Uhuru cleared his senators, governors, cabinet secretaries, MPs, parastatal bosses, businessmen and politicians to engage Raila at his Upper Hill private offices. Also given green light were members of Moi and Kenyatta families to engage Raila. It is on these grounds that the ODM leader’s office has hosted governors in planning Building Bridges Initiative and even ministers going for consultation including Matiang’i himself, the so called super minister. Matiang’i engaging Raila politically signifies how powerful the former PM is in the corridors of power. Our source revealed, in an effort to reward Raila, efforts are on to have him relocate from his private offices Upper Hill and work at Harambee House. Those in the know say, unlike in the Kibaki coalition government where Raila openly complained in public, of late he has learned from past mistakes and when talking to Uhuru on phone, he stands up in respect unlike Ruto who talks to head of state on phone while seated. Further it is said, when with Uhuru in serious meeting, Raila rarely excuses himself to get out but when forced to, Raila comes back, bows down in respect to Uhuru with Uhuru quipping wachana na hiyo ndugu yangu. (Leave that my brother) as the two break into laughter.
Further, it is said when Uhuru excuses himself from a meeting with Raila and comes back, Raila acknowledges with respect at times standing. “You may think Uhuru is older than Raila but all is respect Raila accords presidency,” sources told us. The plot to have Raila work at Harambee House as an economic adviser is part of the strategy in looming cabinet reshuffle after Covid-19 crisis. Just as he is African Union infrastructure adviser, the term is being imported locally but with political calculations. In the looming government of national unity, various parties are being brought on board. Already ODM and Kanu are fully engaged with Wiper and Ford Kenya lobbying to be part of the new political dispensation if it succeeds. Musalia, it is emerging, is not being put in the arithmetic for reasons best known to those playing behind the scenes games. However reports we have is, concern has been, if pushed to the wall, Ruto may decided to back Mudavadi for presidency 2022 as a plan B. Indeed, it is said that Ruto wants Raila brought into government which he says will make Raila’s chance to win presidence hard in 2022 because the government is now universally unpopular across Kenya following its allround failure.
Kalonzo and Wetang’ula for years just like Mudavadi are said to be tired being in the opposition and can go for any position in the new power deal. The duo since the Moi era was in government and even during the Kibaki regime. Ten years after throwing weight behind Raila presidential bid but losing is costing Ford K and Wiper leaders. Having differed with Raila after failure to attend his sham swearing-in as president at Uhuru Park, Kalonzo and Wetang’ula are using Gideon, the new political kid in Uhuru succession to bargain. Wetang’ula was removed by Raila as minority leader in the senate and replaced by Siaya senator James Orengo. Our political desk has information that in an effort to stop duplication of duties between Raila and Matiang’i and to place the ODM boss above Matiang’i, Raila duties will surpass to those of governors and senators with Matiang’i concentrating on cabinet matters. That Raila is influential in government is no secret, his security has been beefed up and has influenced appointments in plum
positions just like Gideon including cabinet. He is said to be pushing for appointment of Otuoma to cabinet. Otuoma’s Karen residence has been of late used as a meeting joint of Gideon, Raila, Muhoho Kenyatta and other powerful personalities. Another residence to host such meetings is Atwoli at his Kajiado county residence where David Murathe and Raila were present. The Atwoli Kajiado talks came up with an idea of creating more powers devolved to former eight provinces that existed after independence.