Leaked Uhuru BBI Letter Is a Trap for Ruto - Analysts

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    President Uhuru Kenyatta (right) and his deputy William Ruto (left)
  • UPDATE: Senate Majority Chief Whip Irungu Kang'ata acknowledged that the letter he addressed to President Uhuru Kenyatta was legit and that he authored it. However, he denied leaking it to the media. 

    "Kindly though, the letter dated December 30 (2020) is authentic. I didn't give it to the media. Someone else who had been copied did. I apologise for that. 

    "With the benefit of hindsight, I should have copied no one else. Trust substantive issues raised in the letter will be remedied," he tweeted on Monday, January 4. 

    Earlier on, a letter from his office and bearing his signature quoted Kang'ata distancing himself from the controversial letter alleging that it was fake. The statement sent to all newsrooms indicated that the Senator denied any knowledge of the letter and argued that it was a ploy devised by his opponents to discredit him and the BBI process.

    The leaked letter addressed to President Uhuru Kenyatta by Senate Majority Whip Irungu Kang'ata has ignited a debate, with a number of politicians and analysts questioning the motive behind the mail. 

    Kang'ata warned the head of state that the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) was poised to fail in Mt Kenya, a region where Deputy President William Ruto has been making inroads. Central Kenya is highly polarised especially with several leaders rising to be kingpins to replace Kenyatta in 2022. 

    “Based on a survey I conducted during the December 2020 holidays, I have to the conclusion, BBI is unpopular in Mt Kenya. Out of every 10 persons I surveyed, six opposed it, two support it, and two others are indifferent," his letter read in part.

    Speaking to Kenyans.co.ke on Monday, January 4, political analysts Dr Jane Thuo and Nafula Kisiangani decoded the hidden meaning behind the letter, with the latter stating that it may be a trap to nail DP Ruto. 

    Murang’a Senator Irungu Kang’ata addressing supporters of Kiharu MP Ndindi Nyoro (2nd left) on September 10, 2019 in Murang’a town.
    Murang’a Senator Irungu Kang’ata addressing supporters of Kiharu MP Ndindi Nyoro (2nd left) on September 10, 2019 in Murang’a town.

    "ODM leader, Raila Odinga, has been keen on pushing Ruto to oppose the BBI. This may be a move to make Ruto feel buoyant that he has the numbers only for him to face a backlash. 

    "It, however, may also be a plot by Uhuru and Raila to strategise a campaign for BBI. They may be gauging the opinions of leaders and Kenyans so as to analyse what steps they have to take in pushing for its enactment," Nafula, a Social Development Consultant opined.

    She argued that the President had heavily invested in the BBI and it was highly unlikely that he may turn around on it, especially with less than a year before his term ends in 2022. 

    Nafula added that reports alleging that Kenyatta would betray Odinga were improbable too. Nonetheless, she warned that Kenyatta is a schemer and politics is a dirty game.

    Dr Jane Thuo, a lecturer at the University of Nairobi and a media consultant concurred with Nafula's sentiments and urged Odinga to disassociate himself with Jubilee. 

    "DP is already in the opposition though unofficially. He is trying to wreck Jubilee Party from the inside but he definitely has an alternative plan. Raila needs to play his cards smarter by retaining his ODM identity and "distance" himself from Jubilee.

    "He is a brand and getting swallowed will disadvantage him. He can have a working relationship with the President but he must stamp his authority.  Raila has to associate any failing of the ruling party with Ruto and take credit of any developments and fight against corruption to post handshake," she said, adding that citizens were unhappy with Odinga's stance on several issues that he was so vocal of pre-handshake. 

    Odinga, on Sunday, December 3, told Kenyans to desist from blaming him for Jubilee failures. He explained that his involvement with the head of state was only meant to implement the projects that they had agreed on during the handshake. 

    He also announced that the grace period for not engaging in early campaigns was over and that in 2021, his party would unveil tactics to counter Ruto's influence in the country and also popularise ODM party. 

    ODM leader Raila Odinga (right) with Murang'a Senator Irungu Kang'ata at the burial of the latter's father on February 24, 2020

    On adoption of BBI, Nafula stated that Odinga and Kenyatta will capitalise on proposals that will be adopted through Parliament as they appear to have the requisite numbers. They would then battle out for the rest of the adoptions that require a referendum. 

    Politicians allied to DP Ruto also spoke on the letter with divided opinions. Former Kakamega Senator, Boni Khalwale, lauded Kang'ata, saying that Ruto allies had long warned BBI proponents that the document would be rejected in Mt Kenya. 

    "Writing a letter with sensitive content ostensibly addressed to the President and leaking it to the media is disingenuous for an “insider” unless one is exiting government.  While the objective of the letter remains achievable, the leak is amateurish and may result in unforeseen consequences.  A bit of tact & sophistication was required," Tharaka Nithi Senator, Kithure Kindiki. however, questioned the motive. 

    Nyeri Town MP and Kenyatta's ally, Ngunjiri Wambugu, added that Kang'ata would be ejected as Majority Whip in Senate as he was misguiding the masses.

    The legislator said that they had not distributed amendment copies, had not undertaken proper civic education and a joint Mt Kenya team had not been formed to sell the BBI document. 

    These developments come months ahead of Odinga's planned tour to Mt Kenya to woo supporters. Kenyatta is also expected to traverse the region which has seen MPs such as Alice Wahome (Kandara) and Moses Kuria (Gatundu South) lead a mass exodus of legislators to DP's camp.

    Nominated Senator Isaac Mwaura (Kiambu County) was the latest to jump into the DP's bandwagon, stating that he was backing Ruto for his political survival as the region allegedly backed the DP's 2022 presidential bid.

    DP William Ruto welcomes Nominated Senator Isaac Mwaura to his camp in January 2021.