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Citizen Weekly

Sunday 17 August 2014


Fear is gripping President Uhuru Kenyatta’s wing within the ruling Jubilee government with concern that he may be a one-term president owing to emerging factors. It is not only TNA side of the Jubilee coalition in government that is worried but also United Republic Party of Deputy President William Ruto who is said to be keenly following unfolding political events ahead of 2017 before he makes a decision whether to back Uhuru’s second term or goes for it solo.

What appears to have complicated matters for Uhuru is the recently concluded by-election in Mathare North and Gatundu South constituencies. The events surrounding the quest for the two seats have clearly exposed Uhuru and his political schemers as people out of touch with reality working on a winning formula without the help non-Kikuyus.

It is whispered that Ruto, due to the fact that his Kalenjin tribe population in Nairobi is insignificant, decided to leave Uhuru and his men take charge of Mathare. What emerged was infighting and betrayal by those involved.

Uhuru is said to have constituted a team of senators - Beth Mugo, Mike Sonko Mbuvi, MP Maina Kamanda and Ferdinand Waititu to campaign for TNA’s George Wanjohi.

Wanjohi was facing ODM’s Steve Kariuki. It is said whereas the TNA side was fighting over millions to fund campaigns, ODM wing which was chaired by Governor Evans Kidero had worked on a plan to wrestle the seat from TNA.

Kidero is said to have allowed the team to operate from his EK Centre and always was in touch with the Cord principals, briefing them on daily goings-on in Mathare. By virtue of him being in charge, Kidero has won another political feat.

He brought on board Mp Irshad Sumra and former Nairobi city mayor George Aladwa. The ODM campaign trail sidelined former Makadara MP Reuben Ndolo after it emerged that he was spying and spying for TNA and had been paid to cause disorder and derailment in the campaign to misfire Cord’s objective to clinch the seat. Ndolo was always spotted at Hill Park Hotel, with TNA luminaries, among them, secretary general Onyango Oloo.

As this was happening, TNA side was engaged in political sideshows. Sonko kept members of his Kamba community waiting for hours only to surface at midnight and flash out Sh300 to each. They left cursing and swore not to vote for TNA on that day. At one time, they told the senator to address them in Kikamba language but he failed to do so. It has emerged Sonko is not fluent in his mother tongue having been brought up in Kilifi.

According to sources, Sonko wanted to be in charge of the campaigns and was bitter that Uhuru had given the mandate to Mugo, a nominated senator and cousin of the president. As a result of infighting, TNA lost the seat to Kariuki, son to former Starehe MP Margaret Wanjiru.

Analysts say that losing such a strategic seat in the capital city sends negative and telling signals to the rural voters that all is not well with TNA and the president is not consolidating his power base or losing touch. The tyranny of numbers in parliament is put in focus. That Kambas, Luhyas teamed up with Luos to vote for a Kikuyu MP in Mathare implies everything is possible even on the presidential seat. That they can combine and humiliate a candidate affiliated to the president is telling. 

Then we have the Gatundu case, which fearing a humiliating defeat of his party, he decided to step in due to pressure from his Jubilee kingpins. TNA was set to be defeated due to bungled nomination process. Moses Kuria was not popular as such. How Uhuru did not venture into the matter from day one to avoid humiliations until the last minute has left many guessing.

We have information that all is not well in Uhuru’s TNA and if the happenings are not controlled, it is bound to break ahead of 2017. In short, as the president, he is clearly watching as fire engulfs his TNA, a vehicle he is set up to propel him to power and strike political bargains.

On the other side, there are claims even in Jubilee that Ruto is under pressure to run for presidency.
He is already laying strategies, transversing the country, building networks for him to stamp his authority and quest for the presidency.

Since Jubilee came to power, Ruto has criss crossed the nation to almost each and every corner compared to Uhuru. He has not come up in open to state if he will back Uhuru in 2017. Without Ruto’s backing, and then Uhuru should avoid humiliation in 2017 by not running. But would he?

Then we have a reinvented opposition working on various options to defeat him 2017.
Raila is working on 2017 delicate balancing act that has three options for power. Surprisingly, he has now brought on his side Martha Karua and Peter Kenneth via the referendum call.

Insiders say that of all of Raila Odinga’s political vitenda wili, the one that upsets President Uhuru Kenyatta the most is, and “there are many ways to skin a cat”.
This is an English idiom that means that there is more than one way in achieving an objective.

It is now emerging that the Cord leader is indeed laying deep plans  and strategies that are all aimed at confining Uhuru not only to just one single term at State House, but also making him the last national CEO from Mt Kenya region for decades to come.

Raila is looking at three basic strategies to beat Kenyatta in 2017. The three options are a delicate balancing act of power-sharing schemes and need be even use a Mt Kenya region face to defeat him.

 If Raila succeeds with any one of these power schemes, his victory will have many layers, including the Odinga factor finally getting to avenge itself on the Kenyatta factor and other historical aspects.

In the first scenario, Raila is planning to have his fourth and final stab at State House.
At age 73 in 2017, Raila will be the oldest substantive candidate in the race for the presidency.

In a race in which he is again a contender, the status quo ante of 2013 would remain in the line-up: Former PM Raila for President; former VP Kalonzo Musyoka for Deputy President; Senate Minority Leader Moses Wetang’ula for Majority Leader. The new twists would be a Leader of the Majority in the National Assembly from Coast and Deputy Majority Leader from Kisii, to keep Nyanza intact.

This would be the most dangerous move for Uhuru, and one full of deja vu factors. The last time Raila endorsed someone else, that man, Mwai Kibaki, beat Uhuru, at that time then Daniel arap Moi’s preferred successor, hands down.

If Baba once again lays down his ambition for another contender, the effect would be politically electrifying. The sympathy vote that Raila would get in these circumstances could well wipe away any “Tyranny of Numbers” factor that Uhuru might enjoy, so to speak.

The line-up would be interesting too. It would feature Kalonzo for President; Wetang’ula for Deputy President; Hassan Omar for Majority Leader Senate and a Kisii for Majority Leader parliament. 

Raila’s giving up of his passionate and decades-long yearning to occupy State House would galvanize Kenyans against the Uhuru factor like never before. A “Tyranny of Numbers” such as Kenyans have never known would be unleashed. It would be a Tsunami, and it would be aimed directly at the incumbent.

If Raila stands down and the argument goes that he will back Wetang’ula on the grounds that (i) he hails from Kenya’s second most populous community and (ii) it is high time that he had his inaugural attempt at State House because Raila has had three and Kalonzo one, the line-up would then become: Wetang’ula for President; Kalonzo for Deputy President; Omar for Majority Senate Leader and a Kisii for Majority Parliamentary Leader.
However, Kalonzo, who has by far the least number of voters to bring to the high table, could well argue that as VP, he has already done enough deputising and Wetang’ula must await his turn.

There is only one problem with this line-up: Kalonzo would never play second fiddle to Wetang’ula, or indeed anyone else but Raila (and he has already done that once).

The search for another presidential candidate is definitely on, and it must worry Uhuru a great deal that so many forces from so many different directions are keen to see him become a one-term president.

At its core, Raila’s plot involves organising the rest of Kenya against the Uhuru contest that the latter cannot possibly win.

This is one reason Raila and Co feel that they can win the national referendum they have called. And since the plebiscite cannot take place before June 2015, they love the timing. If the UhuRuto regime loses a national referendum only one-and-a-half years before the 2017 poll, just like the Kibaki regime in 2005 ahead of the tragic 2007 polls, then it will be ripe for defeat or a result so close that it becomes dangerously controversial.

Raila team is therefore strategising at several massive levels. But their objective remains singular: to make the Kenyatta presidency what the Americans call “a one-term proposition”. This is why they went out of their way to emphasise during the national debate and Saba Saba agitation that they were not out to fell the government using unconstitutional means.

UhuRuto could have a big problem on their hands if they do not counterstrategise intelligently. For instance, one day they may well remember that when he was outgoing, Kibaki was not really looking in their direction. He had wanted either the late George Saitoti or then Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi to take the mantle of managing state affairs.

Kibaki was keeping his eye on the Big Picture – Kenyas’s unity in diversity and the New Economy from continuing where he had left off. Both these factors needed stability. When he looked at Mudavadi, Kibaki saw both stability and a pair of safe hands acceptable in the densely populated Mt Kenya, Rift Valley, Western and many other places.

But something happened on the way to Kibaki’s Big Picture vision and the then retiring president was persuaded to take a huge risk on foreign policy (the East-West factors) and the ICC suspects. And so Mudavadi lost out and continues to suffer and steadily reading the Big Picture.

But the UhuRuto presidency needs a Third Factor player and vote bloc(s) if it is to see the dream of a second term.    
And in a move to counter what is termed as political marginalisation by Jubilee communities crying foul in government appointments, they are slowly re-grouping to form what is termed a “Third Force” ahead of 2017 giving the president another worry.

Surprisingly, those involved are also targeting certain Kalenjin community sub-tribes who also feel betrayed in the Jubilee arrangement.
The Kalenjin sub-tribes on the radar of the Third Force are Nandi and Kipsigis communities. Until recently, the Nandi community led by legislator, Alfred Keter, has openly been complaining of being sidelined. The Nandi have questioned why road networks, tea industry, milk and maize farming has been out of Jubilee prime projects. To others, the community businessmen and professional are being locked out of lucrative government tenders and plum state appointments.

In Kipsigisland, tension was once high but of late, it seems to have cooled after deputy president William Ruto had to intervene. Ruto URP was finding it difficult to work with a number of politicians led by Bomet governor Isaac Ruto, Paul Chepkwony (Kericho governor) and a number of legislators led by Kuresoi South MP Zachayo Cheruiyot.

The rebellion in DP backyard is what the forces in Third Force want to use to penetrate the region.
We have information that the key players in the political scheme are also out to sideline so called hardliners both in Cord and Jubilee as they chart their future political goals. This is on the understanding that if incorporated in the planned new dispensation, the possibility of level headed individuals joining them will be remotely out of place.

To win a national outlook, those involved are  some current senators, governors, MPs together with those who lost in 2013 polls  and want all regions well represented on the board. Consultation has been on for months and those with deep pockets have spared nothing to have the idea succeed.

Sources reveal that those behind the move are also expecting a bitter fall-out in both Cord and Jubilee to benefit them politically. Analysts in the country’s political establishment will also agree, whenever the country is headed for a major election, political re-alignments do take a centre stage. This has been the case since the introduction of multi-party politics in 1992.

For example, in 2013, the political marriage between the current president Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto was least expected. In 2002, nobody including then president, Daniel  Moi, thought of Railawill tame his political ambitions to back former president Kibaki to win presidential race with the late Wamalwa Kijana as his vice-president.

In 2007, the ODM political wave took the country by storm with Raila as its presidential candidate. Those who could not wine and dine with Raila including DP Ruto found himself in political doldrums and out of the movement that almost removed Kibaki from power. The controversy that surrounded the 2017 presidential race is still fresh in the minds of those surviving.  It will be written in the country’s political history and will be read for decades to come.

More so, there will be issues relating to post election violence, the International Criminal Court process and the Coalition Government that rotated around Kibaki and Raila.
Multi-party politics arrival on Kenyan political terrain has made politicians agree on one thing, carrying political eggs in one basket is bound to be counter productive.

Currently, political players are asking themselves if UhuRuto relationship will survive to 2017 ballot box. Things are even complicated with the referendum debate that is gaining grounds and creating unification of kinds among those supporting is taking place. The pro-referendum forces are at loggerheads with Jubilee forces opposed to it. Already, the council of Governors is caught in the saga calling for its own referendum.

Unconfirmed reports has it that COG, emerging a powerful organ with networks within the 47 counties, is out to be transformed into a political wheel and back one of their own for presidency in 2017.

As this is happening, fear with Ruto URP is that, TNA cannot be trusted ahead of 2017. Even in Raila led Cord, things are not rosy.
Reports we have are that following a bitter fall-out in ODM due to national party elections, and fear that those who were against Raila line-up are set to be denied or haunted out from the party nominations in 2017, a plan B has to be worked on.
Key players in the plan B happen to be from Western Kenya and Rift Valley, Kambaland and Coast.

In Western province, already talk has it that DP Ruto is reaching out to a section in UDF associated with Mudavadi to strike a deal. However, it must be noted that Mudavadi and Ruto do not see eye to eye. Ruto has been bankrolling MPs and senators in UDF in his schemes.

Vihiga MP Yusuf Chanzu is said to have deserted Mudavadi camp and will run for Vihiga county governorship races on URP. Already, to penetrate Vihiga, Ruto was the chief guest during Chanzu’s home-coming party and majority leader Aden Duale is to officiate a harambee, courtesy of Chanzu in the constituency. Duale is allied to URP and Leader of Majority in parliament.

Chanzu relationship with URP has not gone in well with Mudavdi allies. Already, talk is rife that  Chanzu cannot win any seat on his own without Mudavadi’s blessings. Chanzu is also on spot for allegedly snatching a wife of a principal of a secondary school in the county.

Apart from Chanzu, who is on UDF ticket, others targeted by URP are Ayub Savula (Lugari), Bernard Shinali (Ikolomani), Ben Washiali (Mumias East) and  Emmanuel Wangwe (Navakholo) just to mention but a few.
Ruto is said to be sending feelers to Senator Moses Wetang’ula and Cyrus Jirongo to work together and strike a political deal.

Of late, ODM leaning politicians from Luhya region have kept Raila guessing. Paul Otwoma, Amos Wako, Chris Omulele, Wilbur Otichillo, Ababu Namwamba are not visible in ODM arrangements including the Saba Saba rally that was held at Uhuru Park in July.

Talk has been that Webuye East MP Alfred Sambu has been in talks  to form a new political party.
To complicate matters for Uhuru is the fact that the civil society has joined those opposed to his leadership style. John Githongo and  Richard Leakey, the darlings of western capitals, have no time for him.

That Uhuru is feeling the heat is no secret. When TNA lost the Mathare North seat, he is said to have called those involved during the campaigns and told them they had let him down.

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