The United States of America is planning to throw its weight behind Raila Odinga in the 2022 general election.
Multiple interviews with those in the know indicate that Raila is currently enjoying close relations not only with the US ambassador Kyle McCarter, but also top honchos at the State Department in Washington.
The decision by the Americans to support the ODM leader is because Kenya’s relationship with the US thrived during the coalition government led by Mwai Kibaki and Raila.
In fact, it is whispered in the corridors of power that the handshake deal between Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila was brokered by then American ambassador Robert Godec, members of the First Family led by Mama Ngina Kenyatta, Muhoho Kenyatta and who is who in the state security apparatus. Not left out was the Moi family and of course Raila inner core members including, Idah Odinga, the wife.
Insiders privy to the handshake say that Godec’s concern then was not only Kenya sliding into anarchy after Raila having been sworn in as people’s president but also the William Ruto factor in post-Uhuru era.
Godec is said to have prevailed upon the Kenyatta and Moi families to allow Uhuru and Raila strike a power deal ahead of 2022. The Building Bridges Initiative that was purportedly to bring a broader government outfit to address ethnic inbalances was also agreed on.
What many failed to understand then was, the shrewd Godec was out to use the handshake to create a new power base in Jubilee government to fight Chinese influence. Fear among Americans has been, if Ruto succeeds Uhuru, China will enjoy massive backing in Nairobi.
Raila has been using the BBI together with Uhuru to bring on board key political faces in Kenya as Ruto is being isolated in the push for referendum that is likely to cost his presidential bid.
In fact to further wound the DP, his political foes led by Cotu secretary general Francis Atwoli and nominated MP Maina Kamanda link him to punguza mizigo initiative. Ruto’s enemies have been funding Embrace Kenya women that support the handshake while Ruto is associated with Inua Jamii that is against the referendum.
The referendum deal will see new political offices created with Raila likely being the president on a one-term of seven years.
The seven years push is out to benefit Raila due to his growing old age. According to insiders within the plot, within Raila seven years in power, the Kenyatta family will have then groomed one of their own to play a key role in Raila succession as they have no person at moment. The same will happen with the Odinga family since the death of Fidel Odinga left a huge vacuum.
The idea is to create a a stop gap seven year power shift aware from the Kikuyus and Kalenjins that have occupied presidency since independence by handing to the Luo community then return it to Kalenjins via Gideon Moi once Raila is out of power. That is why, Kabarak residence has become the political Lilondo of Kenya in Uhuru’s succession. Under the disguise of visiting the ailing Moi, those allowed to see the former president are said to be anointed by the elder Moi to strike a working deal between Uhuru-Raila and Gideon.
Initial plan was to have Raila not run for presidency but allow ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi take the mantle and face Ruto.
However, Raila strategists would not hear of it and have managed to rebrand 2022 race being between Ruto and Raila. In fact, even Ruto handlers are aware of the Raila presidency going by recent remarks by leader of majority in parliament Aden Duale.
Keen observers will agree that come 2022, ODM will field a presidential candidate and within the party, it is only Raila. The party recently released cheques to pay for branch offices across the country something even the ruling Jubilee has not done.
As Raila makes inroads in areas once perceived Jubilee strongholds including Mt Kenya region where Kirinyaga governor Anne Waiguru surprised many by backing his presidency, he has also been reactivating his international links among African presidents. Tanzanian president John Magufuli, South Sudan Salvar Kiir and DR Congo’s Felix Tshisekedi and South Africa head Cyril Ramaphosa are all said to be pushing Raila to run 2022.
Raila is aware to win Kenyan presidency, one has to be with the system that calls shots. Insiders within Raila camp told this writer that at one time Raila told a section of his allies opposed to the handshake that if he was loyal to Kibaki and never complained of a nusu mkate (half bread) during his time as prime minister in the coalition government, he could be serving his final presidential term. For now, the handshake has propelled him in the system and enjoys support of state security compared to Ruto. What is now remaining is the so called boardroom anointment.
In Kenya, it is said without boardroom political blessings, the system can easily rig you out despite of being popular. It is only Kibaki who won in Moi succession race against the system.
Thanks to the effect that key political players shelved political ambitions to back Kibaki and got the system off guard. If Kibaki was rigged out in favour of Uhuru then Moi favourite, the country would have gone into flames with the Moi and Kenyatta families who have invested heavily being major losers. That is why they quickly accepted Kibaki win in 2002.
It is imperative to note that Uhuru came to power in 2013, the relationship between the America and Kenyans came frosty, thanks to Uhuru’s “Look East Policy” in which China came into the picture as a new friend to Kenya.
Raila is also said to have contracted several American think-tanks to lobby for him among different American stakeholders.
The power competition between the United States and China will greatly define who is going to be elected the president of Kenya in 2022.
The Belt and Road Initiative ushered in a new phase in China’s global repositioning and a fundamental shift in its geopolitics.
The US-China trade war is part of their geopolitical rivalry that has now taken a global dimension.
Today, Chinese state-owned enterprises are involved in investments not only in Asia, Africa, and Europe but also in the US.
A new cold war is looming because the US is confronted not by an expansionary Soviet Union seeking to capitalise on decolonisation to advance its ideological and geopolitical ambition, but by a resurgent China.
Until recently, it seemed unlikely that a Cold War with 21st century characteristics would eventuate.
A recent decision by China not to fund the extension of standard gauge railway line from Naivasha to Kisumu during a visit to China by Uhuru and Raila a is said to be part of the quiet political undercurrents that are going to define 2022 politics. It is said, China is deeply aware of Raila America connections. Further, China concern is the appointment of Raila as African Union special representative on infrastructure.
However, Raila’s supporters insist something strange happened in China as he had intimated to his close confidants that extending the SGR from Naivasha to Kisumu was on the cards.
They insist that the plan was shelved either after the Chinese lenders pushed the government to implement even more policies to improve SGR’s financial sustainability through the influence Ruto links in China or Russia could have ensured that the deal did not go through.
For the DP supporters, the extending of the SGR from Naivasha to Kisumu was a political nightmare as such a development was going to bolster Raila’s political fortunes while diminishing his.
Ruto camp wanted the SGR line pass Eldoret, Webuye, Bungoma then land Malaba border.
However, Raila’s supporters say while Ruto seems to have opted to “Look East” meaning he wants to work with the Chinese and Russians, Raila is going to develop close relations with western countries.
It is increasingly becoming clear to Ruto’s supporters that the onslaught against Ruto and his allies is heavily borrowed from a script Jomo Kenyatta applied during his rivalry with his then vice president Jaramogi Oginga Odinga.
According to a book written by the then US ambassador to Kenya William Attwood, The Reds and the Blacks (1967), rivalry emerged between Kenyatta and Jaramogi immediately after independence setting the stage for the latter’s political downfall.
Kenyatta and Jaramogi had met in the early 50s, before developing a great political rapport that would see them deliver Kenya’s independence.
This resulted in Kenyatta being elected president with Jaramogi becoming his vice president. However, immediately after the 1963 independence elections relations between the two leaders became strained.
Jaramogi emerged as a highly ambitious, shrewd and conniving vice president who was focused on succeeding Kenyatta at all costs. This was to later lead to fallout between the two powerful politicians.
Kenya is currently at this stage now where relations between Uhuru and Ruto are at their lowest ebb. Since Uhuru and Raila announced a unity deal in March last year, Ruto has been behaving like campaigns for the 2022 presidential polls have started.
He has not only been shuttling from one corner of the country to another but also receiving MPs and delegations from different parts of the country at either his Harambee House Annex office or at his official residence in Karen.
This development has thawed relations between the two setting the stage for a political scenario that resembles the Kenyatta presidency and his then vice president Jaramogi.
This is the political scenario currently evolving in Kenya. There is no doubt about the role Ruto played in Uhuru’s election in 2013 and the two subsequent elections in 2017.
However, just like when the Chinese and the Russians were said have discreetly supported Jaramogi in his supremacy wars with Jomo, Ruto is also said to have close walking relations with the two countries. It said that the Donald Trump-led administration has been keen to promote American investment, and especially participation in infrastructure projects currently dominated by China and Japan.
The US is also on a speedy implementation of its Connect Africa initiative that is viewed by many analysts as a counterstrategy to China’s Belt and Road Initiative, which harbours massive geo-economic and political implications in Africa.
Unlike the Chinese, the US prefers to engage developing countries like Kenya on non-rigid loan terms. “Our deals focus on sustainable financing, not unmanageable debts,” the ambassador said.
During a visit to US last year by Uhuru, Kenya signed multibillion shilling partnership agreements with the US government and companies — the majority of them targeting growth pillars commonly known as the ‘Big Four’.
Since the March 9 2018 handshake, the ODM leader has held a series of meetings with members of the two powerful families – the Kenyattas and Mois – raising speculations of a political deal in the offing.
Insiders say the two powerful and moneyed families have settled on the ODM leader as the ideal candidate for the presidency in 2022 and are now crafting a formula which will accommodate other political heavyweights across the country in the next government.
Of interests to the two families are the massive economic interests they control, with fears that a presidency hostile to them is likely to interfere with their economic and political dominance.
The new arrangement edges Ruto out as Uhuru’s preferred presidential candidate though the two had reached an agreement prior to the 2013 and 2017 elections for the president to back his second in command.
As a sign of Raila’s changing fortunes, Uhuru brokered his appointment as the first African Union envoy for infrastructure.
Cabinet secretaries, governors and other top government officials have been trooping to Capitol Hill to brief Raila on various state projects, much to the chagrin of Ruto who is facing open defiance from CSs considered loyal to Uhuru such as Fred Matiang’i and Peter Munya.
Indeed, Ruto is now an isolated figure in the corridors of power and is helplessly watching as the likes of Interior PS Karanja Kibicho orders members of the provincial administration to give his activities a wide berth unless sanctioned by State House.
According to sources, the ODM leader has reportedly vowed to protect the economic and political interests of Kenyatta and Moi families, in return for political and financial backing in the next elections.
Part of the 2022 deal includes expanding the executive in a referendum slated for mid next year to create positions for other sons and daughters of prominent families to be in government in the guise of inclusivity.
In this arrangement, Gideon is slated for either deputy premier or deputy president alongside Musalia Mudavadi, Ali Hassan Joho and Kalonzo Musyoka.
It is also rumoured that Uhuru might make a comeback as the premier, a move that will see him continue to protect his family’s wealth.
But if Uhuru opts to retire, then he is the one who will propose the name of the premier, most likely a candidate from Mount Kenya region.
Uhuru, according to sources, is also grooming his two sons – Jomo and Muhoho – to go for elective seats in 2022 if he decides to call it a day for the family to remain politically strong.
First for Uhuru to introduce into the murky world of politics was his eldest son, Jomo, who during the 2017 elections was placed under the six-key units meant to come up with key strategies for the president’s re-election.
Among the six teams included technical and resources, strategy and theme advisers, political professionals, women and youth grassroots organisers and communications and messaging.
There are reports he might land a big political job in the next government as he eyes a higher office in future. It is the same for the president’s second born son, Muhoho, who is being groomed to enter into elective politics by contesting the Gatundu South parliamentary seat currently, held by Moses Kuria.
Indeed, when Muhoho sent signals that he would be in the parliamentary race in 2022, a panicky Kuria sparked the debate over resource allocations, accusing Uhuru of allegedly neglecting Mt Kenya region in terms of development since 2013.
But in a rejoinder however, Uhuru dismissed Kuria’s assertions, insisting that he is equitably sharing resources to all corners of the country without prejudice.
In December last year, Muhoho sent tongues wagging when he joined locals in Gatundu in celebrating Christmas, a move that was interpreted as testing the waters before he finally announces his intention to go for the seat in 2022.
According to sources, Uhuru is keen to have either Jomo or Muhoho in Railas’s line-up to ensure the family has a key figure in the corridors of power once he hangs the boots.
Sources further add that Uhuru and Raila are using BBI, which is now writing a report on constitutional reforms that are expected to have a huge implication on the 2022 election, to further their political interests in post-Uhuru government.
Indeed, Raila’s latest meeting with two prominent relatives of the Kenyatta and Moi families was last week at his Capital Hill offices where he played host to Doris Moi, daughter of Moi and her family.
The meeting with Ms Moi came a day after Kristina Pratt, the president’s eldest sister, came calling at the same office.
Before meeting Doris, the ODM leader had received Trade and Industry CS Peter Munya and later in the evening Kiambu deputy governor James Nyoro, a man calling the shots in the president’s county after governor Ferdinand Waititu, a key ally of Ruto, was barred from accessing his office until a corruption case he is facing is concluded.