The hint by Uhuru Kenyatta that he does not mind clinging to power in a new political position after 2022 has sent mixed political signals across the political divide. Political analysts opine that it is likely to be the final nail in his political marriage with William Ruto.
However, some analysts say that Uhuru remarks were meant to woo the Kikuyu community to unite ahead of 2022 general election and come up with the right person to succeed him in the region’s political matrix as nobody has been identified as per now.
Accordingly, Uhuru, as the only beaming face of the region, so to speak politically, depends on matters relating to sharing of the national cake and if need be, he can still be counted on as a remarkable kingpin of the larger Mount Kenya region. Analysts aver that Uhuru would want to remain relevant in his succession game to avoid the region and entire Gema being isolated and disintegrated.
According to sources, Uhuru is aware that his deputy has won hearts of big parts of Gema region at the same time painting Uhuru as having deserted the community even after voting overwhelmingly for Jubilee where he is the party’s leader.
Addressing members of the Mt Kenya political caucus at a meeting at Sagana State Lodge in Nyeri, Uhuru declared his readiness to become the prime minister in 2022 if the position is handed to him.
Considering that Kikuyus at every corner now lament “tulipiga kura vibaya” a euphemism to say that they are regretting voting for Uhuru whom they blame for their drastic impoverishment overnight, it is yet to be seen what magic Uhuru will use to work miracles in the remaining two years to endear himself again to Kikuyus for them to file behind him like they did in 2013 and 2017.
According to highly placed sources, the president has bowed to pressure from his close family to abandon Ruto and seek a new political alliance that will ostensibly safeguard the family’s wealth and political interests once he leaves State House.
Among those in the Kenyatta family pressurising Uhuru to isolate Ruto is Mama Ngina Kenyatta, the president’s mother and Kenya’s First Lady. Reports indicate that ODM leader Raila Odinga has told his allies that he will be comfortable with Uhuru’s young brother Muhoho Kenyatta as prime minister or Kirinyaga governor Anne Waiguru.
Mama Ngina played a role in having then president Daniel Arap Moi pick Uhuru to succeed him in 2002.
In Mwai Kibaki succession, Mama Ngina was seen as a key factor in Uhuru and Ruto’s bid as they were prayed for to overcome the International Criminal Court charges at the Hague, Netherlands for atrocities against humanity.
In fact, the Kenyatta family argues, it is the ICC factor that brought Uhuru and Ruto together winning sympathy in a highly competitive presidential election.
Insiders say the family is bitter that immediately Jubilee landed in power, Ruto started amassing wealth part of which it is said was being used to bribe MPs to impeach Uhuru, a move that could see him land the presidency on a silver platter. Others however see this accusation by Kenyattas that Ruto is using state to enrich himself as a case of the pot calling the kettle black and cite the Kenyattas who, they say, would be roasting potatoes for supper in Ichaweri if Jomo Kenyatta had not become president and used the state to enrich himself fabulously.
That there is something going on between the Kenyattas and Raila being illustrated by the fact that Muhoho was early this year the chief guest at Raila’s home turf in Siaya for a church function.
If the BBI that is said to be a brainchild of Mama Ngina carries the day, the position of PM will make a return barely 10 years after Kenyans said enough with it. With the wealth the Kenyatta family controls, analysts say with the support of Raila who will run for presidency to face Ruto, MPs will be lured to elect Muhoho in effect installing a Kenyatta III regime.
For now, the idea is to shred Jubilee politically, and have a section of those in Mount Kenya region opposed to Ruto presidency, form a new alliance with ODM and win majority seats in parliament. The recent campaigns in Kibra by-election that saw a number of Jubilee faces support ODM candidate was a dress rehearsal for the unfolding political events aimed at isolating Ruto ahead of 2022.
Just like Moi, Raila knows what Mama Ngina likes most is to have her children in power. Muhoho is said to be a selfie of Ngina when it comes to money just like Uhuru is the replica of Jomo when it comes to politics.
Uhuru, considered a mother’s boy, takes advice from Mama Ngina seriously and it is no wonder that some of his friends whenever they fall out with him turn to her to talk to him. Infact, friends of Uhuru say that it can only be a mother and not a wife who can make a man turn against one who has helped him so like Uhuru has turned against Ruto. It is said Uhuru’s wife First Lady Margaret is sympathetic to Ruto but has no say infront of Mama Ngina.
Another family member opposed to Ruto is Muhoho who runs the family’s vast business empire and is known to be behind its expansion in the years of Uhuru’s presidency.
He is said to fear that Ruto might not be supportive to their businesses if he takes the presidency in 2022.
The president’s uncle, George Muhoho, is also said to be opposed to Ruto. He is Mama Ngina’s younger brother.
The sources say the Kenyatta family is rooting for a political marriage with Raila where either Uhuru or his brother Muhoho will assume premiership in 2022. They are also open to a Kikuyu with close ties with them taking over the position.
The sources say Uhuru has now put in motion schemes to isolate Ruto in Mount Kenya region and the BBI will be the right forum for him to accomplish his mission.
As part of the scheme, State House last week refused to invite Ruto to the Gema meeting where Uhuru was the chief guest.
It was Bahati MP Kimani Ngunjiri who let the cat out of the bag when he revealed how senior State House officials refused to invite Ruto to the Gema meeting though the second in command had cancelled his earlier engagements to accompany his party leader to Central Kenya.
Uhuru and his advisers were of the view that by inviting Ruto, they would sell him more to the electorate as this would change their game plan in 2022.
At the meeting, Uhuru also indirectly said he will not support Ruto’s presidential bid in 2022, stating he has never said who he will support once his term expires in 2022.
This is a contradiction since in the 2013 and 2017 elections campaigns, the head of state repeatedly vowed to back his number two once he completes his second term as president.
During the meeting, Uhuru also contradicted Ruto over the violence during the Kibra by-election held on November 7.
The president hailed the residents of Kibra for upholding peace during the campaigns and on the material day of the election, admitting his surprise on how peaceful the by-election was which was the biggest win. He credited it to handshake politics.
In contrast after the Kibra poll, Ruto hit out at Raila in a series of tweets, accusing him of masterminding chaos during the mini poll.
“Tinga, that we discuss BBI, meant to sort out election violence when you have not only refused to renounce terror but continue to brazenly celebrate and perpetuate it, is to take Kenyans for fools! My friend, kuna upungufu mkubwa wa wajinga (Kenyans are not fools). When will you renounce violence publicly??” Ruto posted on November 10.
“As Kenyans, we demand that Tinga/his party unconditionally, unequivocally and publicly renounce the culture of violence, chaos, terror and gangsterism their signature modus operandi as witnessed in Kibra and unreservedly apologise to victims past and present for their hurt and loss,” read another of the DP’s post on November 9.
During the meeting, some of Ruto’s allies like embattled Kiambu governor Ferdinand Waititu had to stand for long as they did not find seats reserved for them.
There were also reports that Laikipia woman representative Cate Waruguru a close ally of Ruto was stoned on her way to Sagana.
Pointedly, all Ruto allies were left out in the team that will spearhead the BBI in Mount Kenya region.
The list of 11 is led by nominated MP Maina Kamanda who will be the chairperson of the team and deputised by Gathoni wa Muchomba (Kiambu woman representative), two leaders who have been vocal in trashing the UhuruRuto pre-election agreement.
Other leaders in the BBI committee include Jamleck Kamau (former Kigumo MP), Governor Anne Waiguru (Kirinyaga), Kabando wa Kabando (former Mukurweini MP), Francis Kimemia (Nyandarua Governor), Lee Kinyanjui (Nakuru governor), Wachira Karani (MP, Laikipia West), Maoka Maore (Igembe North MP), Njeru Ndwiga (Embu senator) and Petkay Miriti (former Nithi MP and Tharaka Nithi gubernatorial aspirant).
The Gema meeting came on the backdrop of handshake supporter’s demand for Ruto to resign over what they called constant sabotage of the government agenda.
Addressing the press at parliament Buildings, 22 lawmakers accused Ruto of opposing the BBI and engaging in endless politics instead of helping Uhuru unite the country.
Led by Kitutu Chache North MP Jimmy Angwenyi, the MPs also criticised the DP for attacking Interior cabinet secretary Fred Matiang’i, his principal secretary Karanja Kibicho and Inspector-General of Police Hilary Mutyambai over the alleged harassment of Jubilee leaders during the Kibra by-election.
The MPs present were Ngunjiri Wambugu (Nyeri Town), Ben Momanyi (Borabu), William Kamket (Tiaty), Peter Mwathi (Limuru), Richard Onyonka (Kitutu Chache South) and Gathoni wa Muchomba (Kiambu).
Also in attendance were Mishi Mboko (Likoni), Fatuma Gedi (Wajir), Raphael Wanjala (Budalang’i), George Aladwa (Makadara), George Odanga (Matayos), James K’Oyoo (Muhoroni), Samuel Arama (Nakuru Town West), Zadock Ogutu (Bomachoge Borabu), Justus Kizito (Shinyalu), Simba Arati (Dagoretti North) and Godfrey Osotsi (nominated).
The Gema meeting came a week after Uhuru and Ruto cancelled their meetings in Murang’a at the eleventh minute over what each camp termed as unavoidable circumstances, a move that lifted the lid on their differences.
However, sources say State House was bitter that Ruto was out outshine Uhuru in his home turf and local administration was warned to make sure the DP function be cancelled but Uhuru send trusted allies to represent him to test the ground. Uhuru’s absence did not help matters as some saw it as confirming his unconcern about Central people who were to receive a bigger shock when Uhuru flew to Sagana instead of traveling the short distance by road and saying hi to them enroute.
Uhuru was supposed to attend a thanksgiving ceremony at ACK Kenol Cathedral in Murang’a but instead sent Matiang’i, Transport cabinet secretary James Macharia and his ICT counterpart Joe Mucheru to represent him.
On the other hand, Ruto was expected in Kandara for a fundraiser but cancelled the event so as to attend the president’s.
The president was advised against attending the event since there was a possible clash between his supporters and those of Ruto.
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