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Citizen Weekly

Sunday 26 April 2015


Attempts by President Uhuru Kenyatta to reconcile the family of retired President Daniel arap Moi and that of the Deputy President William Ruto has finally hit a dead end, we can authoritatively revel this week.
Uhuru and his political handlers have been lately concerned over the political tension in the Rift Valley region which has heightened with the recent announcement by Kanu that it will sponsor Gideon Moi, the Baringo Senator, to run for the top seat in 2017.
The fear within the Uhuru camp is that should Kanu clear Gideon to run against Uhuru in 2017, then even with Ruto as Uhuru’s running mate, the Kalenjin votes will be divided and this will be to the advantage of Cord.
Another concern for Uhuru is that there are so many sideshows on the political front in Rift Valley and the deep politics development that is unfolding behind the scenes but which has far-reaching implications for Uhuru’s presidential bid in 2017.
Even though analysts say that Ruto is not bothered with Gideon’s attempts to wrestle the Kalenjin control from him, the larger Jubilee family is the most worried lot since without a block Kalenjin vote, Uhuru is likely to be a one-term president.
It is against such fears that Uhuru had reached out for the older Moi to broker a deal that would see Gideon go slow on Ruto and to have the region leaders united ahead of 2017 elections. We have however discovered that Uhuru’s attempts to reconcile the two families had hit a concrete wall.
Analysts now claim that it was after the failed attempts that Uhuru has of late been tactically visiting Rift Valley especially in the company of his
deputy. Early in the month, Uhuru did not attend the Nandi County Investment Forum with only Ruto attended the highly publicized function held at Kapsabet town.
Uhuru also cancelled at the eleventh hour his planned trip to Eldoret where he was to attend the ASK show in Eldoret. It later emerged that Uhuru was not able to attend the two events because it was not in his diary.
It has been whispered that Uhuru cancelled a tour to Eldoret town on after he received intelligence reports that farmers and some local leaders had planned to confront him with demands on the maize crisis. He was to open the Eldoret ASK national show and attend other activities for the Uasin Gishu county government, but the plan was cancelled under unclear circumstances.
Sources say Uhuru Uhuru and Moi had held close to five meeting in the absence of Ruto with only Ruto attending one meeting at State House while the rest of the meetings have either been held at Mois’ Kabarak home or at his Kabarnet Gardens home in Nairobi.
Uhuru’s failure to reconcile the two families has got to do with two factors. One, Moi has never forgiven Ruto for taking away the Kalenjins from Kanu to ODM during the 2007 elections in which three of his sons including Gideon lost in various parliamentary elections.
Moi believes Ruto who is his political student and who owes his political standing to Moi stole the mandate as Kalenjin leader in 2007 and remarks he made against Moi in the run-up to the then hotly contested elections have never been forgotten.
Even when Uhuru teamed up with Ruto in 2013, Moi had attempted to have Uhuru run on Kanu ticket with Gideon as running mate but Uhuru handlers did not want to hear anything to do with Kanu.
Analysts say that as much as Uhuru is trying to reconcile the two families, it is unachievable since the elder Moi has never handed him the leadership mantle of the Kalenjin and does not even want to meet him hence the reason why he has been conspicuously missing during Uhuru-Moi meetings.
Before the dust could settle after the failed reconciliation, Bomet governor Isaac Ruto also declared that he was ready to team up with Gideon to teach Ruto a lesson in 2017.
The announcement caught the DP wrong-footed and while in Kapkatet, he issued an onslaught saying that Kalenjin politicians not singing his tune will be kicked out in the next election. But Ruto and Gideon in a quick rejoinder laughed off the warning and promised him a political battle of his lifetime in 2017.
Both Ruto and Gideon have time and again accused the DP funding their political rivals, who include MPs and a number of Ward Representatives, to destabilise them politically.
Uhuru strategists are however aware of new political realignments in the offing in Rift Valley ahead of the 2017 election, with Kanu-URP rebels rolling out strategies to take control of the vote-rich region.
Trouble for Uhuru now and the reason behind his many attempts to reconcile the Moi-Ruto families is to avoid a situation whereby Kanu sponsors Gideon as its presidential flagbearer against him.
Another reason why Uhuru has taken up the responsibility of bringing the Moi family on board is the future of the Ruto case at the ICC. Uhuru informers believe that should Ruto be jailed and with Gideon leading a strong Kanu, the Kalenjin votes could be as well gone since the Kalenjins would not be comfortable voting with Jubilee in the absence of Ruto.
It is also important to take note that although Kanu did not contest the presidency in 2013, the party still enjoys reasonable following in Rift Valley and this is something Uhuru and Ruto cannot ignore.
During the last general elections, despite the URP wave, Kanu won 6 parliamentary seats in Rift Valley and two senatorial. Despite campaigns by Ruto against Gideon in Baringo county senatorial race, Gideon managed 124,425 votes against Ruto’s man Jackson koskei who flew the URP flag and garnered 23,591 votes while ODM’s candidate Edward Kateiya got a paltry 8,462 votes.
Baringo County a Kanu stronghold in the 2013 General Election, with Gideon winning the Senate seat despite vigorous campaigns by Ruto and Uhuru who pitched camp in Baringo County twice in the run-up to the polls.
But what is giving Uhuru sleepless nights is the uncertainty over the outcome of the ICC case facing Ruto and the merger of URP and TNA to form JAP which has triggering discontent among some members of the Kalenjin community and Rift Valley voters at large.
Whereas Ruto has laughed off Gideon’s entry into presidential race, Uhuru and his handlers know what damage Gideon’s entry into the race can do to Uhuru’s 2017 bid.
As Uhuru works overtime to bring the Moi family on board, Ruto is said to be busy plotting on how to clip Ruto’s political wings in Rift Valley also specifically in Baringo County where Gideon literally controls. AT one time, Ruto was quoted saying “You must accept to be led,
even if your father led the country for 24 years. Stop dividing the
Investigations now reeval that the battle lines have also been extended to Baringo County where URP is allegedly grooming former East Africa Co-operation Minister Musa Sirma to out-seat the Gideon as senator in 2017 he withdraws from presidential race to defend his senatorial seat.
Gideon is also said to be plotting on how his strong men will take on Ruto’s allies in Baringo. He is said to be grooming the suspended Assembly Speaker William Kamket to take on the URP MP Asman Kamama. Kamket vied unsuccessfully for the Tiaty parliamentary seat on a Kanu ticket but lost to URP’s Asman Kamama.
Another concern of Uhuru and by extension other top Kalenjin politicians and professionals is whether Ruto can succeed Uhuru in 2022 without Moi’s blessings.
A story is told that after the Ravine Declaration of 2006 where Ruto declared his candidature for presidency he and his entourage drove to Moi’s Kabarak home to seek blessings. It is alleged that Moi didn’t open the gate for them for he knew Ruto was not up to the task. Todate Moi has never changed his mind.
Last week, Moi has dismissed reports alleging he met with Uhuru and Ruto at State House Nairobi. This happened at a time when Ruto claimed that his political rivals led by Gideon and Ruto were rejoicing about his ICC tribulations.
Those who have been following the Kalenjin politics as they unfold will agree that Gideon has identified Ruto’s weaknesses in government and has been using them to attack the DP during his countrywide meet-the-people tours on the DP’s home turf.
The issues include claims that the DP has been reluctant to bring pressure to bear for better pricing of maize in the North Rift and tea prices in the South Rift, as well as his lack of steam to push for a whole raft of pre-election campaign pledges to the region.
It is now said that for Uhuru to reconcile the two families, he must also reach out to individuals from within the Baringo County. Names that are being flouted that could see the deal brokered successfully includes those of Benjamin Cheboi (Baringo governor), Joshua Kulei (former President Moi’s private secretary), Daniel Kibelion who is a prominent businessman and the proprietor of the Kibelion Hotel in Emining a popular tourist destination and Asman Kamama (MP for Tiaty).
Others are Moses Lessonet (Eldama Ravine), William Cheptumo (Baringo North), Prof Hellen Sambili, Sammy Mwaita (Baringo Central), Grace Kiptui (Baringo County Women’s Representative), Grace Kipchoim (Baringo South), Musa Sirma, Leut Gen Joseph Kasaon, Rtd Gen Daudi Tonje, Phyllis Kandie (Cabinet Secretary for East African Affairs, Commerce and Tourism), Amb Lucy Chelimo, Prof James Tuitoek, Alicen Chelaite, Eric Kotut who is the former Central Bank governor and is one of the key businessmen in Baringo who has invested heavily in the flower sector and Dr. Edward Sambili.
But even Uhuru seems to be willing to work with Ruto and his allies in 2017 and even beyond, Ruto allies are not comfortable with Uhuru’s close links with Gideon and the Moi family. Uhuru’s strageists are said to have advised him to groom Gideon should the ICC jail Ruto or should Ruto decide to run against him in 2017.
To show how close Uhuru and Gideon are and to begin with, the Mois and the Kenyattas have a long history and an interesting future that is already unfolding in the ongoing power struggle.
Gideon has accompanied Uhuru to Sudan and AU summits in Ethiopia as well as to the billionaire playgrounds of Dubai to watch the elitist Formula One motor racing sport. Uhuru accompanied Gideon to the famous Kimalel goat auction where Ruto’s absence was conspicous.
Eyebrows shot up throughout the diplomatic community in June 2014, when the United Nations Environment Assembly opened its Segment Summit and Gideon was given the official protocol duties of escorting Prince Albert II of Monaco, who attended the world environmental body’s four-day conference in Nairobi.
It was not lost on observers that Gideon escorted Albert II even to social functions and on his outings from the business of the summit. Like Albert II, Gideon is a polo enthusiast.
This unique protocol duty at Uhuru’s request underscored those meetings that the head of state has had with both Gideon and Mzee Moi at the latter’s Kabarnet Gardens residence and elsewhere.
It was also no surprise that it was Gideon himself who recommended Uhuru for the award of the honourary Doctor of Leadership degree at Kabarak University’s 10th graduation ceremony.

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