William Ruto is currently between a rock and a hard place in the race after State House directed that he makes prior appointments whenever he wants to see Uhuru Kenyatta.
In contrast, the deputy president’s foes such as Raila Odinga and Gideon Moi have unfettered access to State House any time, be it day or at night.
In the past, Ruto used to go to State House anytime of the day or night and would even enter the president’s office regardless of who the head of state was meeting.
Sources say that the move to have Ruto notify his visits is aimed at controlling activities and avoid the embarrassment of bumping into his political enemies at the seat of power.
During Uhuru’s first term in office when Lawrence Lenayapa was State House comptroller, the deputy president used to call him to inquire on who was waiting to see the president.
If the DP learnt that his detractor was either waiting to see the president or was in the head of state’s office, he would rush to State House and enter the venue of the meeting unannounced.
This would unsettle the visitor, who would be lost for words particularly if he wanted to reveal some secrets about the DP.
Lenayapa who was believed to be Ruto’s insider at State House where he was in charge of the president’s diary was dropped following accusations of frustrating Uhuru’s allies from accessing the president besides tipping Ruto on who was scheduled to meet the president.
Among those he was accused of having blocked from presidential audience included former cabinet minister Joseph Nyaga, who would later resign as an adviser of the president and politician Tarayia Koros who later decamped to ODM.
Nyagah had led a delegation to see the president but they were denied audience.
It was in response to the outcry from Uhuru’s allies that he recruited defeated Nakuru governor Kinuthia Mbugua.
Lenayapa was later dispatched to the Netherlands as Kenya’s envoy.
Indeed, when Nyaga resigned as the president’s adviser, he quipped: “There is no provision for a co-president in the constitution”, alluding to the DP’s alleged grip on the ongoing at State House through Lenayapa and company.
Ruto began to feel the heat once Mbugua took charge of the president’s diary and even took over some of the roles that were played by Jomo Gecaga, the head of state’s private secretary.
More shock awaited Ruto when Uhuru made more changes in his inner circle, slamming allies, entertaining no small talk and negative energy amidst reports of frosty relations in Jubilee.
Today, Uhuru’s new centre of power has been Fred Matiang’i, political strategist Nancy Gitau, Joseph Kinyua who is head of Public Service, Nzioka Waita, chief of staff and head of delivery unit and Philip Kameru the National Intelligence Service director.
This is the team that is the engine behind the Big Four agenda, the supposed fight against corruption and uniting Kenyans and has the president’s ears, replacing those who traded their places for premature 2022 politics and perceived not to be keen on the president’s legacy.
It is this team that has advised Uhuru to demand his deputy book prior appointments whenever he wants to visit State House to stop him from storming their strategy meetings.
According to well-placed sources close to the presidency, the decision to elevate Matiang’i was part of the move to have a team take charge of Uhuru’s legacy.
Already, Ruto allies claim Kinyua, Mbugua and Kibicho are working behind the scenes to frustrate their man’s bid to take over from Uhuru in 2022.
Also named in the anti-Ruto scheme are former Jubilee vice chairman David Murathe and Uhuru’s ex-political adviser Nancy Gitau.
Gitau was among tens of high-profile civil servants said to have ‘fixed’ the DP at the International Criminal Court in 2013.
According to insiders, Uhuru has also been hosting Amani National Congress leader Musalia Mudavadi, his Ford Kenya counterpart Moses Wetang’ula and Wiper’s Kalonzo Musyoka.
The meetings have not gone down well with Ruto who believes his boss is rallying all the opposition leaders together to campaign against him in 2022.
The president has also been making state appointments without consulting Ruto, a move that has caused panic in Ruto’s camp as the DP believes his boss is assembling an arsenal to campaign against him in 2022.
According to insiders, the first family is said to favour Raila/Gideon/Mudavadi/Kalonzo ticket in 2022 and this explains why the leaders have unfettered access to the head of state.
Ruto and Gideon, the Kanu party leader are fierce rivals for the Rift Valley vote bloc.
Gideon threw his weight behind Uhuru — but not Ruto — at the last minute in the 2017 polls, against the Nasa machine.
It took a meeting between former First Lady Mama Ngina Kenyatta and retired president Daniel Moi for Kanu to back Uhuru at a time when Kanu was gravitating towards the opposition.
In Uhuru’s first term, Ruto stood out as the principal assistant of the head of state, often insisting that roles among others include supervising government projects across the country.
But this scenario changed following the executive order of 2019 that created a powerful National Development Implementation and Communication cabinet committee which among others, supervise, guide, monitor and communicate directly to the president.
Three months ago, Ruto skipped launching of Mama Ngina Drive Regeneration in Mombasa despite reports that he was to join the president and Raila Odinga.
In December last year, a furious Matiang’i accused Ruto of pushing for government tenders in government, something that portrayed their simmering relationship.
The president has also been openly praising Raila following their handshake while indirectly also rebuking his assistant.
The chemistry between the two has deteriorated with Ruto at one time forced to cut short his Nyeri trip after it emerged that county leaders had gone to meet Uhuru without his knowledge.
To further complicate matters for the DP, the Interior ministry has been blaming the failure by his office to furnish it with the itinerary of his tours across the country for the absence of senior security officers in some of his functions.
Recently, Kibicho while terming the allegations that the government had withdrawn security from a church function attended by Ruto as false blamed the DP for failing to avail his itinerary to the police.
Ruto had attended a public meeting in Tetu, Nyeri, but conspicuously missing were the senior county security officials, who always accompany him or the president whenever they come calling.
Kibicho said the incident in Tetu was caused by poor communication between the deputy president’s team and the police on the ground, who were informed when it was too late.
Last week, the DP was forced to cancel a prayer rally in Murang’a county after he got wind that the president knew about the declarations that were to be made.
An insider revealed that during the prayer rally the Kikuyu Council of Elders would have anointed Ruto as an elder, and given him a symbolic spear to kill his opponents.
An MP close to the DP would have also read resolutions among them the commitment by the Kikuyu community to back Ruto’s presidential bid in 2022.
The plan by Ruto to hold the mega rally was cancelled for the second time with sources claiming it was cancelled on direct orders of the president.
The meeting was to be held in Kenol town and was intended to show Ruto’s support in the populous Mt Kenya region which has hitherto been the stronghold of the president.
The meeting was to be held days before Uhuru and Raila visit Mount Kenya region together to sell the so-called Building Bridging Initiative.
It had been branded a prayer meeting and most of the organisation was left to the bishops who are close to the DP.
Insiders further add that the Deputy President has been ordered to notify state house before making round of his country tours.
The directive, according to sources, is to prevent an accident like the one that occurred three months ago where Ruto’s pilot, Captain Mario Magonga, died in a chopper crash into Lake Turkana in Turkana County.