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Citizen Weekly

Sunday 24 August 2014


President Uhuru Kenyatta is out full throttle to have Musalia Mudavadi’s United Democratic Forum in a new power deal that could shape the politics of the country ahead of 2017.

It must be noted that it was on these grounds that Mudavadi’s key supporters, prominent Kakamega lawyer of 34 years in practice Aggrey Shitsama and a renowned educationist George Godia, were named to ambassadorial portfolios.

Fear within Jubilee was that Ruto, who is not comfortable with Mudavadi, was likely to block and stifle the appointments initiated and recommended by UDF.

Despite the failed coalition arrangements between them in the run-up to the 2013 elections, Uhuru and Mudavadi have remained close political friends. In many occasions, sources say Uhuru had reached out to Mudavadi in what analysts call political consultations.

Although Uhuru did not get any meaningful votes in Western Kenya not even an elected leader, he has always kept Mudavadi as part of his political calculations and for political survival.
It is due to their closeness that Uhuru has been making trips to Western Kenya as he tries to show Kenyans that even though the Luhya community did not vote for him, he does not have any hard feelings against the community, and particularly Mudavadi.

To show how close the two leaders are, Uhuru attended the 25th memorial service of Mudavadi’s father former minister Moses Mudavadi in Mululu, Vihiga county.
This was Uhuru’s third visit to  Western province since his election and is being seen as an attempt to woo the vote-rich region that overwhelmingly supported his rival, Raila Odinga of Cord.

The visit was a political strategy that was to tell the Luhya community that he and Uhuru were working closely. Mudavadi is Uhuru’s longtime political ally with whom he unsuccessfully contested the presidency on Kanu ticket in 2002 elections. Mudavadi was then Uhuru’s running mate after having been named the VP to replace the late George Saitoti after he opposed Moi’s choice of Uhuru.

Uhuru had then been handpicked to succeed Moi and Mudavadi was his pointman in the region. His decision to stick with Uhuru against the wishes of residents cost him his Sabatia parliamentary seat that subsequently went to then political greenhorn Moses Akaranga, now Vihiga governor.

We have since gathered that the Uhuru-Mudavadi relationship and by extension Jubilee-Amani coalition relationship is still intact. However, his absence from the last presidential tour of the region sparked a lot of debate.
But Mudavadi allies were quick to correct that his absence from Uhuru and Ruto’s tour of the region did not mean that he boycotted it. Sources say Mudavadi gave his blessings to the president’s tour and could not attend because he had an urgent engagement in Mombasa that he had to attend to.

But the relationship between Mudavadi and Ruto has not been very cordial. Their bad relationship dates back to 2008 when they both served in the Grand Coalition government. Ruto had been bitter that the position of Deputy PM Raila gave Mudavadi was his but swallowed his pride and took the ministry of Agriculture.

However, Ruto and his allies continued to demand for equality between him and Mudavadi, saying he delivered more votes and more parliamentary seats to Raila and ODM than Mudavadi. The pressure was too much for Raila to bear and so he created the position of deputy party leader and appointed Ruto but Raila delegated more powers to Mudavadi than to Ruto.

There were claims that Raila used Mudavadi to frustrate Ruto. The rivalry exploded during the run-up to the 2013 elections when Uhuru invited Mudavadi to join the Jubilee coalition and to fly the presidential flag. Sources say it was Ruto who forced Uhuru to cancel the deal after it had been signed. Mudavadi and his allies have never forgiven Ruto for that.

Mudavadi and Ruto have always crossed paths. At one time, during the homecoming  of Ikolomani MP Bernard Shinali, Mudavadi told people present that it was not right for an outsider “to lecture Luhyas on the need for unity,”  referring to Ruto.

Ruto has been accused of bankrolling some MPs from western province to make Mudavadi look weak. Ruto is aware that Uhuru has a soft spot for Mudavadi. Ruto has officially declared war on Mudavadi and the larger Luhya community whom he believes is the stumbling block to the journey to his presidency.

Insiders say ahead of 2017, Uhuru is targeting the Maragoli, Bukusu vote block. To please the Bukusu community, Uhuru attended the homecoming party of Bungoma governor Kenneth Lusaka. To crown it all, he had New Ford-Kenya party leader Eugene Wamalwa a former cabinet minister, among those who accompanied him to the recent American tour.

In politics, anything is possible and Uhuru is secretly out to win the popular Luhya vote block.
Apart from Mudavadi playing a major role in the appointments, others who had a hand were chief of the General Staff General Julius Karangi.

Karangi’s hand was felt in the nominating Major (retired) Jeoff Otieno to Egypt. Almost a week later, Karangi had his fellow soldiers join him on National Security Council. Major General Philip Kameru was nominated top spymaster with major-general Gordon Kihalangwa being named new director of immigration. Kihalangwa is a former assistant chief of staff in charge of personnel and management. He has a doctorate degree. He has his roots in Vihiga county and just like Mudavadi they are both Maragoli’s.

He replaced Jane Waikenda at the immigration. Waikenda was moved to Pretoria, South Africa, Waikenda’s appointment was courtesy of Joseph Kinyua, head of civil service. She brought some austerity measures at Immigration.

Those Uhuru helped land plum nomination slots were Ali Makwere (Dar-es-salaam), Sam Ongeri (UN-Habitat) and Jean Kamau (Bangkok).
Ruto had influence in the naming of Joseph Magut (Berlin), who is a former Eldoret mayor, Prof Bitok (Khartoum) and Lucy Chelimo (Ottawa). Ruto also had his friend since YK92 days, Lazarus Amayo, moved to the strategic London station in United Kingdom. 

The envoys transfers were done with recommendation of Amina Mohammed, the cabinet secretary; Mohammed Gello was moved to Seoul, John Lanasunya (Algeria), Ali Abbas (Kuwait) SK Maina (Tokyo), Lemorashira (Harare) and Joseph Maikara (Bankok).

Others nominated with the influence of Waiguru, Kinyua are Rukia Sugow (Tehran) and Isaac Njenga (Windhoek).
To make inroads in the Muslim community, Uhuru consulted Amina. In fact Muslim nominees were purely for political gains. Sheikh Dor, a former ODM nominated MP is heading to Muscat Oman, Galm M Boru (Doha) and Sophie Kombo (Lusaka).

We have information the transfers of principal secretaries was aimed at reshuffling the cabinet in due course.
Those likely to be moved are internal security Ole Lenku, Labour secretary Kazungu Kambi and Sports, Wario Mohammed.

Already principal secretaries transferred are Patrick Omutia (Mining), Richard Etai (Sports), Amani Mabruki (Devolution),  Khadijah Kassachoon (Health) and Fred Segor (Livestock).
Of great significance was the nomination of former Finance minister Njeru Githae to be in Washington DC as ambassador and of Kiema Kilonzo to Ankara, Turkey.

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