Two secret meetings Uhuru Kenyatta separately held with Daniel Moi and Raila Odinga have left Kenyans guessing on his true intentions, given that William Ruto was left in the dark on both occasions.
Last Saturday, Uhuru paid the former president a courtesy visit at his Kabarak home in Nakuru, and held a meeting with him and his son, Gideon, a week after the Baringo senator publicly declared he will be in the presidential race in 2022.
Though Uhuru was on his way to attend the burial of the wife of former Kenya Defence Forces deputy chief Lt-Gen Joseph Kasaon, Sarah, in Rongai, it was not lost to political pundits that the timing of the meeting came amid speculation that the president and Raila have struck a deal to back Gideon for the presidency in 2022. Uhuru’s visit came just hours after Ruto and his wife Rachael had visited Baringo Central constituency.
Indeed, one of the pictures leaked to the media via a WhatsApp group shows Uhuru and Gideon at Kabarak which confirms there is more that meet the eye in the meeting.
The leaking of the photo, according to sources, was meant to send a message to Ruto and his allies that the game has changed and Gideon is now a factor to succeed Uhuru.
The meeting also came at a time Ruto’s allies led by Bomet senator Christopher Lang’at and his Kericho counterpart Aaron Cheruiyot have been shouting on top of rooftops that Gideon is being fronted by Raila to deny the DP the presidency in 2022.
It also came barely two days after Uhuru held another meeting with Raila where they supposedly discussed a raft of measures which will form the looming cabinet reshuffle.
Uhuru and Raila, according to highly placed sources, held the four-hour meeting whose details are closely guarded and only known by a handful of their most trusted allies.
Raila flew to meet the president who had gone there a day earlier. To keep the details of the meeting as secret as possible, it was held at Uhuru’s private residence in the region where the head of state had retreated to as he plans a major government purge.
One of the issues they discussed was how to handle the hot Mau evictions, which have been politicised by Kalenjin MPs led by senate majority leader Kipchumba Murkomen.
The Elgeyo Marakwet senator is on record blaming Raila for the eviction but last week he changed gear and embraced the exercise following a Kalenjin MPs’ meeting.
Uhuru and Raila have vowed that there will be no turning back in the Mau evictions which are meant to save one of Kenya’s major water towers. Another thing discussed was Uhuru tour to Nyanza where they would have met with Tanzania president John Magufuli that never happened.
Uhuru, according to sources, urged Raila to help him contain the growing opposition to the Mau evictions, noting that failure to act would see Kenya lose one of the critical water towers with devastating consequences.
The two leaders also discussed a number of issues including fighting graft, compensation of 2007 post election violence victims and the upcoming cabinet reshuffle. It was at the talks the antigraft seminar oprganised the Bridging Team planned for August this month was shelved. According to sources Uhuru and Raila were of the opinion if the convention was to be held as planned, the Ruto wing in government will feel offended and targeted.
After the meeting, Raila flew to Nairobi where he met leaders from Narok county to discuss the emotive Mau Forest evictions and chart the way forward.
The Narok leaders strongly support the Mau evictions noting failure to act would be suicidal for the pastoralist Maa community as it depends on the water tower for their survival and that of their animals.
Raila’s meeting with Narok leaders at Capitol Hill office followed claims of brutality and inhumane measures in the eviction of illegal settlers from the expansive forest complex, most of them from the Kalenjin community.
Though the opposition chief did not address the press, though his office had invited the media earlier in the day, he got an opportunity to receive firsthand information as he plans the way forward.
The delegation included MCAs and opinion leaders mainly from the Maasai community, which has been at odds with their Kalenjin neighbours over conservation and settlement in the forest.
Raila has not spoken out on the issue since the evictions began to enforce a government directive to clear the forest of human settlement beyond the areas allowed.
During the Grand Coalition Government where Raila was the prime minister, he aggressively pushed for the restoration of the Mau water tower. However, he paid dearly after Ruto led Kalenjin leaders in accusing him of being behind the evictions. The end result was that he lost the Kalenjin vote in 2013 and went ahead to lose the presidential race to Uhuru. The Kalenjin community had voted Raila almost to a man in the 2007 general election where he controversially lost to Mwai Kibaki.
Back at the meeting, Uhuru and Raila also discussed at lengths the pros and cons of a major purge in parastatals and other government agencies in the coming weeks where heads and board directors accused of fraud will be relieved of their roles and prosecuted.
According to sources, the purge will mostly affect Ruto’s allies heading parastatals and board officials. Two weeks ago Kenya Power bosses were paraded in court to answer graft charges and more state agencies heads will be arrested in the coming days.
Uhuru and Raila, according to sources, fear that politicians from Rift Valley will fight tooth and nail to scuttle the graft purge by claiming that the Kalenjins are being targeted in the purge, which will have a serious political backlash. He is bringing on board Raila and Gideon Moi to control parliament in case aplan to impeach him is plotted by pro-Ruto forces.
Two of the four cabinet secretaries who are likely to face the chop include Adan Mohammed, who was recently transferred from Industrialisation to the less glamorous East Africa Affairs and National Treasury’s Henry Rotich. The two have been linked to mega corruption scandals in their dockets.
With Raila championing the restoration of the Mau water tower, the DP finds himself fighting to remain neutral given the outcry over Mau evictions, which largely affects members of his Kalenjin community.
It is now emerging that Ruto on the other hand is secretly assembling his troops to shoot down any impeachment motion in parliament against him should his rocky relations with Uhuru result into them formally parting ways.
The DP has confided to his close allies that he will turn the tables on Uhuru by not only shooting down any impeachment motion against him but also ordering his troops to move a censure motion against the head of state should he team up with Raila to push for his resignation.
The DP has ‘bought’ the loyalty of close to 180 MPs from across the political divide as he fears Uhuru and Raila have teamed up to scuttle his presidential bid in 2022.
Although the Jubilee Party has started mending relationships with focus now shifting to a planned retreat to rally members behind the party’s “Big Four” agenda, the DP is convinced that he is a marked man and sooner than later, he will have to face a censure motion in parliament over his involvement in graft.
Murkomen let the cat out of the bag when he alleged the existence of a clique of powerful civil servants in the Office of the President whose sole purpose was to block the DP’s 2022 State House bid.
By bolding accusing top civil servants of planning to block Ruto in 2022, Murkomen, was taking the battle right to the president’s doorstep.
Though the senator refused to name the officials, those in the know claim he was referring to Head of Civil Service Joseph Kinyua, Interior principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho and State House Comptroller Kinuthia Mbugua, three key pillars of Uhuru’s presidency.
Fear in DP camp is the new found cordial relation between Uhuru and Raila is likely to lead to his impeachment over corruption allegations to knock him out of the presidential race in 2022.
The DP is interpreting the latest moves by Raila, especially his newfound diplomatic role in the government, as a plan aimed at provoking him to resign in frustrations. Raila flew to Indian where he held bilateral talks with prime minister Narendra Modi, focusing on trade between the two countries.
A source within Jubilee party says that the president is trying to free himself from Ruto who was counting on him to back his 2022 presidential bid. A most likely plan by the president is to break his initial promise to support Ruto upon the lapse of his term and channel it to Raila or Gideon.
This way, Uhuru will be able to boldly stand before Kenyans and clear himself of the blame.
The president is basically pulling Raila closer and making him familiar with his support base to make their joint campaigns in 2022 smoother.
According to sources, if the push comes to shove, Ruto is not lying pretty but is assembling his troops to counter any move to impeach him by threatening to also impeach Uhuru.
Ruto’s gameplan was revealed by Kiminini MP Chris Wamalwa when he sensationally claimed that the DP’s allies were not happy with the president and were planning to impeach him.
Wamalwa alleged two factions had emerged within the ruling party, one pushing for the Big Four agenda and the antigraft war, and the other focusing on the 2022 succession agenda.
He added there was a major rift in the Jubilee Party and that if the party’s leadership does not restore order soon, things will fall apart and the centre will not hold.
Among the issues said to have been causing a lot of friction in the ruling party are the handshake deal between Uhuru and Raila and the president’s lifestyle audit directive.
Indeed, the DP was not present when Uhuru signed the agreement with Raila, who also did not consult his co-principals in Nasa coalition.
Ruto, according to reliable sources, is hosting MPs from across the political divide at his Karen home to ask their support should Uhuru and Raila dare to move an impeachment motion against him.
His Karen home has become a beehive of activity for the last couple of months as he hosts legislators from across the political board sympathetic to his cause.
The DP is luring the MPs by giving them large sums of money to defend him and also trumpet his presidential ambition in 2022 polls.
Jubilee Party called off a parliamentary group meeting after Uhuru learnt that Ruto’s allies were planning to confront him over the ongoing crackdown on counterfeit goods and the war on corruption, on suspicious they were part of a political battle targeting the DP to reduce his chances of succeeding the President.
Aldai MP Cornelius Serem claimed in parliament that his brother, Muhoho Kenyatta’s company, Protech Investment Limited, had imported about 180,000 metric tonnes of brown sugar into the country and alleged a plot to shield the younger Kenyatta from investigation.
At recent State House meeting with his deputy, Ruto found Uhuru together with his brother, Muhoho.
It is imperative to note that Jubilee has not held a parliamentary group meeting since February, when it convened a poorly attended get-together.
As this happens, it is said that Raila is quietly boasting that he is a political genius if he can convince Uhuru to ruin his party Jubilee using his own hands. According to sources, Raila is still in disbelief that his plan to finish Jubilee is working. Raila reportedly knew from the last elections that if Jubilee remained intact until 2022, there was no way he was going to have a chance as presidential candidate.
To start with, Raila had to look for a smart formula of duping Uhuru into buying his idea. The formula was to convince Uhuru that he is not going to contest for presidency 2022 which made Uhuru lower his guard.
What Uhuru does not know is that the moment Raila is through with killing Jubilee a job he reportedly says is half done, he will then declare that he is in the race and this he will do by setting up leaders from across the republic to pretend that they are pleading with Raila to run.
It is against this background that Kenyans are now wondering who between Uhuru and Raila and cleverer than the other. Depending on which side you are in you will say Uhuru is the smarter man while those on Raila’s side say Raila is the smarter man. If you are on Ruto’s side, you will wonder how Uhuru even became president in the first place if he can buy Raila’s plan part of which those in the know is to ensure that Uhuru leaves no legacy worth talking about. This by starting infights within Uhuru’s government so that all the efforts are directed to defensive engagements or offensive moves and none are directed to development.
Already, a five months are gone since the handshake but all the time has been eaten by the rucus the handshake sparked.