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Citizen Weekly

Sunday, 3 May 2015

INSIDE HOT KALENJIN POLITICS



A meeting called by Jubilee MPs allied to Deputy President William Ruto at Winston Hotel last week produced political fireworks after a section of URP MPs told Ruto that Uhuru Kenyatta is tactically divorcing him ahead of the 2017 general elections.
An MP who attended the meeting, but who spoke on condition he is not identified, said the meeting was tension-packed and the MPs without mincing words, told the DP that it was high time he started working on his Plan B for 2017 since Uhuru and his allies are working on the formation of Government of National Unity where Ruto’s name has not featured as a possible running mate.
One outspoken MP who is a well known Ruto critic is said to have told the DP that it does not need a blind man to read the signs of the times on the wall to notice that Uhuru is slowly but tactically fixing Ruto into the box of oblivion.
Well-placed sources which attended the meeting said the relationship between Uhuru and Ruto looked cordial at least to the ordinary man on the street, particularly during public functions but deep inside, the truth of the matter is that there is suspicion between the two leaders.
In public, although Uhuru and Ruto have a cordial relationship, their troops are involved in fierce secret political battles occasioned by leaked information about Uhuru handlers who have advised him to work on an alternative plan without Ruto.
Uhuru handlers are concerned that Ruto is slowly losing grip of the Rift Valley votes and come 2017, almost a half of the votes would be gone. According to TNA strategists, in the event that Ruto cannot deliver the Rift Valley votes as a block as was the case in 2013, then Uhuru is likely to make history by becoming the first one term president in Kenya’s electoral history.
We have gathered that during the meeting, the DP was told that the rate at which Rift Valley leaders were rebelling against him was alarming rate and that it was time he faced reality and acted boldly. The DP was accused of not doing much to the URP stronghold and by extension, the Kalenjin community.
According to the MPs, their region is being sidelined despite having the powerful position of DP. The big problem facing the DP and which now makes Uhuru to have second thoughts of having him as a possible running mate in 2017, is the rebellion within his party and indeed, in Rift Valley in general.
Sources say leaders from the region are now demanding quick action from rebel party members such as Bomet governor Isaac Ruto, Nandi Hills MP Alfred Keter, Narok senator Stephen Ole Ntutu all of whom were conspicuously absent during the Winston Hotel meeting.
Back to the meeting, the recent appointment took centrestage with Ruto being told that the Kalenjin community did not benefit as much as Uhuru’s TNA and other communities which did not even vote for Jubilee in 2013 elections were rewarded abundantly. The URP MPs took issue with a number of appointments in Nyanza, Western and Coast regions which are Cord’s strongholds while sidelining Rift Valley.
Analysts say Uhuru favoured Nyanza, Coast, Eastern and Western regions in recent state corporations appointments where he brought on board old guards while in Ruto’s backyard, he ensured only people who are anti-Ruto got the appointments. 
The appointments, according to sources, were the entry point of forming a government of national unity. To show how this plan has worked against the DP, Uhuru gave Luo Nyanza a number of board appointments notable one being the appointment of Wenwa Akinyi Odinga to the board of Kemri. Close to 10 people from Luo Nyanza got the appointments majority of who contested the 2013 elections on TNA ticket.
Analysts say Uhuru was in a deliberate move to appease grumblings among political power losers and raid the opposition stronghold of Luo Nyanza in a strategy aimed at giving a lifeline to scores of politicians whose backing he could be counting on for his re-election in 2017.
Again, in Western region, Uhuru made appointments favouring old guards who are also known not to go on well with Ruto. Sources say even the appointment of Eugene Wamalwa as a cabinet secretary was forced on Ruto as he did not wholeheartedly support it.
The fear among Ruto axis is that although he has tried to lure Western region to join his URP party, he has met strong resistance from Luhya leaders led by Musalia Mudavadi and Moses Wetang’ula.
The worry now is that Uhuru is in a charm offensive to woo the Luhya community ahead of the 2017 poll after he gave the region key positions in the recent parastatal appointments.
Some of the old guards Uhuru rewarded with state jobs include Musikari Kombo who will now chair the Water Services Trust Board.
Another notable appointment from the region is that of Mudavadi's spokesman and communication secretary Kibisu Kabatesi, who was named to the Board of the National Drought Management Authority. Soita Shitanda will chair the Agricultural Development Corporation.
To clip Ruto’s influence in Maasai politics, Uhuru is said to be working on a plot that will see him establish his own political network in Maasai politics. According to sources well versed with TNA/URP power sharing formulae, Ruto’s URP was to take control of Maasai politics. As a result of the deal, TNA was not allowed to field candidates in the region which was perceived to be under the control of URP.
Uhuru men are now said to have advised him to penetrate Maasai region and to do this, a number of parastatal jobs went to individuals perceived to be Ruto critics and to counter Uhuru’s pointman in the region who is Narok governor Samuel Tunai. 
To show how determined Uhuru is to make political inroads in the perceived URP’s backyard, Uhuru has on several occasions hosted the anti-Tunai forces at State House.
To make inroads in Maasai politics, Uhuru appointed former minister Julius Sunkuli and his brother Andrew Sunkuli. Julius was appointed as a member of Industrial and Commercial Development Board while his brother, Andrew, heads to Lake Victoria South Water Services Board.
He also appointed Joseph Tiampati as principal secretary. He was a TNA candidate 2013 elections. Another anti-Ruto man Uhuru appointed is John Konchella who is the principal secretary, East African Cooperation and Tourism.
That Ruto and William ole Ntimama do not see eye to eye is not secret. At one time, Ntimama had made up his mind to join TNA but it was Ruto who bitterly protested against the move forcing Uhuru to postpone the highly publicised defection ceremony.
Ntimama returned to ODM where he played a crucial role during the Kajiado Central by-elections in which Jap was humiliated by ODM’s candidate Elijah Memusi.
As if Uhuru has not given up on Ntimama joining TNA, he has appointed his daughter, Leah Ntimama, to the board of Water Services Regulatory Board.
To bring Coast region on board, Uhuru sacked the immediate former KPA chairman Danston Mungata as KPA chairman and replaced him with his trusted lieutenant, former minister Marsden Madoka. Madoka who has all along been with Kanu has a history with the Kenyatta family.
He was aide de camp of Uhuru’s father Jomo Kenyatta. He joined politics 1997 when he won the Mwatate parliamentary seat on Kanu ticket and was appointed Foreign Affairs minister by Daniel Moi. He retained the seat in 2002 on a Kanu ticket and was appointed minister of State for Provincial Administration and Internal Security. He lost his seat in 2007 elections.
Sources say Madoka was Kenyatta’s trusted man something that made Kenyatta to offer him one Elizabeth Mumbi for a wife which Madoka. Mumbi was Kenyatta’s househelp and baby Uhuru’s nanny.
During the run-up to the 2013 elections, Mungatana was at one time being fronted to be Ruto’s running mate but when Ruto withdrew from the race to support Uhuru, the matrix changed. Ruto was to later to dump him and supported Molu Galgalo for the Tana River gubernatorial race, forcing him to defect to Uhuru’s TNA where he lost to WDM’s candidate Hussein Dhadho. He was later to be appointed by Uhuru as KPA chairman but has now been replaced by Madoka.
Another appointment that Uhuru seems to have effected to help him secure the Coast region is that of Sheikh Juma Ngao who will now join the National Campaign against Drug Abuse Authority Board.
Mombasa former mayor Taib Ali Taib who is a Uhuru ally has been appointed to the board of Kenya Investment Authority.
To take care of North Eastern region which sources say the Jubilee government has little following, talk is rife that Uhuru is planning to woo to his side majority leader Aden Duale to join his TNA side in 2017 should his marriage with Ruto come to an abrupt end. Sources say TNA has been sending emissaries to Duale to reconsider his position in URP and jump ship in 2017. It is not known which position TNA plans to offer him but reports indicate he could land a cabinet secretary position in 2017 should he join TNA.
Those privy to this move say that Duale played a key role in the now infamous list of shame in which key Ruto allies were forced to step aside over their alleged involvement in corruption.
To make Duale happy, Uhuru last week appointed his brother-in-law Ali Korane, a former district commissioner, to the board of Coast Development Authority. It is said it was Duale who brokered his appointment.
Back to the divorce between Uhuru and Ruto, sources now say that Uhuru is planning to sacrifice some of his slots in future appointments especially in the  impending cabinet shuffle to bring on board people he believes will help him defend his 2017 elections successfully without Ruto in his schemes.
Another bone of contention and major concern within URP is the ongoing ICC case against Ruto. During the Winston Hotel meeting, MPs demanded to know the status and progress of the ICC case since Uhuru’s case had been dropped.
The ICC case has become a hot potato in Rift Valley politics with the DP accusing Governor Ruto and Baringo senator Gideon Moi of praying that ICC jails him, a claim that the two have since denied.
Some Uhuru sidekicks, however, are said to be happy with current rebellion in Rift Valley as they enjoy and welcome the emerging Moi factor in Rift Valley politics.
The fear among Ruto allies is that the government machinery may take its foot off the pedal after the ICC withdrew charges against Uhuru and that Ruto may only receive lukewarm state support in his trial.
Sources say Ruto is not happy why Uhuru attended the Governors Devolution Conference in Kisumu whose chairman is his sworn political enemy, the Bomet governor Ruto. During the meeting, Uhuru was given a rousing welcome as Guv Ruto had a field day in the absence of the DP.
Sources say the DP skipped the meeting after intelligence reports indicated that there plans to boo and heckle him. Ruto allies are now accusing Uhuru of wining and dining with the DP’s sworn political enemies.
 On Mau evictions, Emurwa Dikirr MP Johana Ng'eno who is also a DP critic has condemned the ongoing evictions in Maasai Mau forest, terming it inhuman and uncalled for. He has accused Ruto of closing his eyes on the suffering of the people who voted for them.
He has reminded Ruto that it was the Mau evictions that cost Raila Odinga Rift Valley votes in 2013.
What is now worrying Ruto allies in Rift Valley is the fact that the URP rebels are now gaining momentum and support from maize farmers over the government’s failure to increase maize prices.
Farmers claim that middlemen are taking advantage of the government's failure to buy maize from farmers to exploit them. Last year, farmers protesting low prices for their maize produce and the failure by the National Cereals and Produce Board to buy maize from them barricaded roads in Eldoret town.
Anti-Ruto forces are now using the low maize prices to endear themselves to the farmers and are accusing the DP of doing little to help the farmers.