In what might cause a political upheaval, the elite from the populous Kikuyu and Luo communities are in the final stages of hammering home a power pact that they calculate will see Raila Odinga, team up with Uhuru Kenyatta’s younger brother, Muhoho Kenyatta, in a new political realignment ahead of the 2022 polls.
In the pact that will be unveiled immediately after the country holds the referendum which will be recommended by the Building Bridges Initiative whose members Uhuru and Raila handpicked purposely for their scheme, Raila will be the automatic presidential candidate with Muhoho prime minister with two deputies.
Muhoho is being fronted by the Kenyattas, Mois and other prominent families for the premier’s position to safeguard their economic interests.
Details of the power pact indicate that the people behind it hope William Ruto will be the major casualty since Jubilee MPs allied to the president will defect en-masse to either ODM or another friendly party so as to weaken the ruling party to make it virtually impossible for the DP to field formidable candidates in Mount Kenya region in the 2022 polls.
Once Jubilee is dead and buried, they calculate, it will become a tall order for Ruto to market his candidature in the populous Mount Kenya region.
Insiders add that the president has welcomed the pact with open arms and has reportedly told his close advisers that he is not interested in the prime minister’s position as earlier suggested but will back his younger brother for the position.
The new arrangement also accommodates regional kingpins such as Amani National Congress leader Musalia Mudavadi, Kanu chairman Gideon Moi, Mombasa governor Ali Hassan Joho, his Machakos counterpart Alfred Mutua and Trade cabinet minister Peter Munya.
According to sources, Gideon is likely to deputise Muhoho at the prime minister’s office together with Joho. Other reports suggest that Mudavadi is being touted as a possible running mate for Raila, though the former Sabatia MP has made it clear that he is not going for any other post apart from the presidency.
Mutua is likely to be designated the speaker of the national assembly as one way of luring the Kambas to back the new line up.
There are reports that Raila and Muhoho are shopping for a powerful figure from Mijikenda community who will be appointed the senate speaker. The leader of majority, according to sources, will go to the pastoralists communities.
Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka, according to sources, has also made it clear that he will be going for the presidency in 2022 and that is why he is being left out in the new order in preference for Mutua who is serving his second and final term as Machakos governor.
However, chances of Kalonzo teaming up with Ruto are high after Raila’s refusal to back him for the presidency as agreed in their 2013 and 2017 pre-poll pacts.
According to highly placed sources, the humiliation the DP suffered when he fronted football star McDonald Mariga for the Kibra parliamentary seat only for the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission to declare his candidature invalid was executed as one way of telling him his decisions do not matter anymore.
Ruto was preparing to launch Mariga’s campaigns when IEBC stated he would not be allowed to contest since he was not a registered voter. The football star has since appealed the IEBC decision.
According to sources, the state machinery has also been deployed in Mount Kenya to coerce Ruto’s allies with a view to having over 90pc of the legislators join the president’s camp ahead of the 2022 polls.
Last week, Kiharu MP Ndindi Nyoro tasted the bitter medicine when he was arrested and later released for allegedly assaulting a senior police officer and creating a disturbance during a church service in Murang’a.
Sources say the DP is also not sleeping pretty and has vowed to fight to the bitter end to scuttle Raila-Muhoho new found political pact.
The DP, whose relation with the president has hit the rock bottom, is considering boycotting all the presidential functions safe for national days claiming his boss has developed a tendency to publicly humiliate him as he prepares his younger brother for a big role in the next political dispensation.
During national days such as Jamhuri Day, the DP invites the president to officially deliver his speech to the republic.
Indeed, eyebrows were raised three weeks ago after Ruto skipped a function where the president flagged off the first shipment of crude oil from the port of Mombasa as Kenya entered the league of oil exporters at a late hour when oil is being phased out of energy source supply in favour of clean energy.
The DP who was holed up in Nairobi refused to travel to Mombasa. His failure to attend the event was in contrast to July 2018 when Uhuru flagged off the first consignment of crude oil from the Lokichar oil fields in Turkana county to Mombasa, signifying the importance of the exercise for his political ambitions.
Ruto, according to insiders, began feeling uncomfortable with the head of state after the famous March 9 2018 handshake between Uhuru and Raila. Since then, Uhuru has repeatedly told off Ruto and his allies for allegedly launching 2022 premature campaigns. Others however say that the early campaigns gimmick is merely an excuse Uhuru is finding to create a wedge between him and deputy.
The president, while launching the Mama Ngina Drive refurbishment project in July, a function Ruto boycotted, declared he would not abandon the path of reconciliation to fulfill desires of some leaders he described as selfish, an indirect reference to his number two in command.
Insiders say although the two seem to be in a cordial working relationship, all is not be well and the DP has even directed leaders in his camp to boycott Uhuru’s functions, claiming the president uses such events to publicly humiliate him while indirectly endorsing Raila’s candidature in 2022.
It all started in January last year when Uhuru appeared alone during the nomination of cabinet secretaries in which Ruto’s absence communicated a possible disagreement.
Subsequently, the decision by Uhuru to work with his political nemesis, Raila caused further deterioration of their relationship with the DP firing warning shots against a rumoured constitutional amendment.
And in Murang’a during the burial of Kenneth Matiba in April last year, a bold Uhuru castigated Ruto and his allies for engaging in 2022 campaigns, claiming the move will sabotage his delivery plans.
“I know there are some people in Jubilee and some in Raila’s camps who are unhappy with our decision to work together. I want to tell them it’s difficult to oppose what God has planned.
“All we want now is inclusivity. Those talking of 2022 should spare us. We shall even have 2027 or even 3000. It’s not important at all,” said Uhuru, apparently in reference to Ruto’s bid.
Ironically, Uhuru was on the front line in previous campaigns insisting that Jubilee will rule until 2032. He even maintained that his deputy will take over. Indeed, part of the reason Uhuru is not carrying Kikuyus along with him in his new political games is that Kikuyus are still waiting for him to return to Central and tell them that the agreement with Ruto to take over from him is no longer holding and then explain to them why. It is noteworthy that Uhuru has been postponing his Central tour to introduce Raila apparently after getting intelligence that the ground is hostile against him. The tour has been on the cards for a year now in vain.
Speaking during an Akorino annual convention at Kasarani Stadium in Nairobi, Uhuru rubbished Ruto’s Tanga Tanga brigade as people busy politicking instead of focusing on development. A visibly frustrated Uhuru read the riot act right in Ruto’s presence and vowed to crush his detractors trying to derail his purported unity and progress agenda.
Ruto watched with wry smiles and frowns as his boss tore into his Tanga Tanga battalion in a ferocious assault.Speaking in Kikuyu language, the president warned for the first time that he should not be mistaken for a weak lame duck president.
“Let them not think they can threaten me. I will flush them out from wherever they are …. wait and see,” the president pledged, signaling a battle against Tanga Tanga MPs in his Central Kenya backyard.
He vowed political attacks would neither intimidate nor stop him from achieving his goals of spurring development and uniting Kenyans.
“If you are a mheshimiwa, go back to the grassroots and build schools and connect people to power with the money you are given. Stop going around telling us how you are going to rise to power. There is nowhere you will go without these people,” Uhuru said.
“All these criminals we elected and are only politicking should not think I am their uncircumcised boy,” Uhuru said. The MPs Uhuru threatened are bolder now with their defiance more pronounced as the days fly towards Uhuru’s exit.
Ruto had earlier told off a section of Nyanza MPs pushing Uhuru to pick Raila as his 2022 successor. Later, when Uhuru jetted back from Zambia he did not meet Ruto who was at the airport.The presidential jet docked at the normal passenger terminal and the president disembarked from the plane and was welcomed by the military and police heads of units.
But he then checked out through normal passenger terminal while the DP, who was waiting to receive him, waited at the presidential pavilion.
When information reached Ruto that Uhuru had landed through normal passenger terminal, he departed the JKIA presidential lounge in a huff, leaving behind the president whom he had come to welcome back home.
Insiders add that Ruto is also bitter with the president for turning a cold shoulder on his key allies in Central Kenya and Rift Valley.
Once such example is when Uhuru shocked mourners in Kiharu, Murang’a county when he walked out on an area MP Ndindi Nyoro, a key ally of the DP.
Uhuru was presiding over the funeral ceremony of Thayu Kamau but walked out immediately the lawmaker began his speech.
He later returned after the lawmaker finished his speech, before proceeding to scold him and his colleagues who have been crisscrossing the nation endorsing Ruto’s 2022 presidential bid.
That was not the first time Uhuru walked out on Nyoro, after doing a similar thing during the burial of Matiba.
Nyoro’s closeness to Ruto had made him be seen as a possible point man of the DP in 2022.
Insiders say the DP also interprets the elevation of Interior cabinet secretary Fred Matiang’i as meant to humiliate him by portraying him as weak in the running of the government and state affairs.
Besides being elevated to chair a cabinet committee on national development implementation and communication, Matiang’i has also been given sweeping powers on the oversight of government programmes, signaling Uhuru’s confidence in the Interior cabinet secretary in his final term in office that will shape his legacy.
In his new role, Matiang’i chairs a key committee on the implementation of development programmes, whose membership includes all cabinet secretaries, the Attorney General and head of the Public Service, a mandate that essentially elevates him to a “prime minister or chief minister”.
The general feeling in the DP’s corner is that the decision contained in the executive order one of 2019 should have naturally gone to him by virtue of being the president’s principal assistant and his lieutenants have come out to demand an explanation from Uhuru. They feel that the move is geared towards humiliating their man.
To complicate matters for the DP, Matiang’i has moved to try ringfence Gusii votes following his endorsement by various leaders as the presidential candidate from the Gusii community in 2022.MPs, senators, a host of ward representatives and Nyamira governor John Nyagarama have all urged Matiang’i to prepare to represent the community in the fight for the country’s top leadership after Uhuru, in a region the DP has been trying to make inroads.
In April this year, Uhuru appeared to take his deputy headon over his relationship with Raila, triggering an awkward situation. The president, in an event also attended by Raila, dismissed claims that Raila is out to destroy the ruling Jubilee party following their March 9 2018 political truce.
“Raila has never told me he wants to be president in 2022. Leave Raila Odinga alone. We are busy working with Raila and some people are busy campaigning for 2022.
“Raila tells me do this, and when I do it, it turns out to be even much better. Halafu unaskia watu wengine wanasema ati anavunja Jubilee. Raila anaingilia wapi na Jubilee” (you will hear some people saying Raila is dividing Jubilee. Where does he come in?) the president ranted.
Even though it was not the first time Uhuru was defending his pact with Raila following attacks by the Ruto’s camp, it was a rare telling off at a time tension and uncertainty were rife in the Jubilee administration.
At the time, Ruto had at every available moment been attacking Raila, accusing him of being behind the cracks in the ruling party.
He was often quoted saying Jubilee is being assailed by outsiders whose main strategy and agenda was to weaken it from within. True for everyone to see, Jubilee is weakened.
But the direct attack by Uhuru put him in an awkward position, as he was faced with hard choices of firing a salvo at the president or playing down the remarks as he has often done in the past or remaining silent. He chose to play down the remarks. Indeed, Uhuru’s attacks on Ruto are meant to provoke Ruto into erupting so that he can then look the bad person but being a student of Daniel Moi who was put in the same situation by powerful men as he served under Jomo Kenyatta, Ruto is riding out the subjection impressively and in turn making Uhuru and his brigade the madder.
Two weeks ago, Raila gave the clearest indication yet that he would contest the presidency in the 2022 election, explaining that it was the reason he resolved to work with the president.
Speaking in Gem, Siaya county, at the burial of his aunt, Eva Donde, Raila also announced that ODM was revamping itself in readiness for the 2022 general election and asked party members to prepare for grassroots elections next year.
He said he had realised that it was time to change strategy as he waits for the opportune time to ascend to power. “You have seen me change tact. This is a strategy. There are several ways that can lead us to where our ambition is,” he added.
Sources say Ruto believes that if Uhuru was sincere in stopping premature 2022 campaigns, he ought to have reprimanded Raila for embarking on the same using the same vigour he has been attacking members of the Tanga Tanga team.
It will be interesting to see how Raila tries to maneouvre to State House twinned with Muhoho. As things stand in Central, a Kenyatta does not appeal to voters because of what they deem their community’s waning economic fortunes under Uhuru presidency. Just after Kikuyu smallscale traders were rendered jobless by demolitions of their workplaces in Nairobi, Uhuru has put the last nail on them by banning bandit economy the Central people were engaged in that involved dealing in counterfeits from China. Thousands of Kikuyus now stare poverty in the face as containers full of their ware are held at the inland container depot following Uhuru’s order.
Smallscale and peasant dairy farmers in Mt Kenya are anxious that they will be edged out of the business by Kenyatta family’s giant Brookside Dairies whose MD is Muhoho and believe draconian milk regulations being introduced are meant to favour Brookside. The regulations prohibit people selling their milk if they are not in a coop and the milk and cows must first be inspected failure to which a cow owner will be jailed.
But none sums the feeling in Central against the Kenyattas more potently than that of Kikuyu taxi drivers in Nairobi who are blaming their dwindling business to the introduction of thousands of Suzuki vehicle Uber taxis allegedly by Muhoho that has seen the traditional Kikuyu taxi men who so thrived unhindered rendered redundant.