Inside Uhuru's Plan to Manage Ruto, Raila Battle for Mt Kenya

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    From left: ODM leader Raila Odinga, President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto
    File
  • President Uhuru Kenyatta is wary of openly supporting his handshake partner, former Prime Minister, Raila Odinga, as this may polarise the country. This is according to political analyst Nafula Kisiang’ani.

    The social development consultant and political analyst underlined the fact that Kenya’s politics is majorly based on community affiliations and aligning with kingpins. Endorsing the ODM leader would be detrimental to Raila’s own ambitions as witnessed in 2002 when Mzee Daniel Arap Moi endorsed Uhuru Kenyatta for President on a KANU ticket. 

    Uhuru was then dubbed a state puppet and project, a title that is also being used to describe Raila ahead of the 2022 General Election.  

    “I went to The Hague after helping Raila become the Prime Minister. I also helped Uhuru to become President but when I declared I also wanted to be president, the deep state has turned against my candidature.

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    President Uhuru Kenyatta (left) with ODM leader Raila Odinga (right) at the Jomo Kenyatta International Stadium in Kisumu during the Madaraka Day celebrations on June 1, 2021
    PSCU

    "I want to tell Raila that the so-called ‘system’ will not help him to become President because it is voters who will decide at the ballot,” Ruto stated in Khayega, Kakamega County on October 23, 2021, a remark that irked Raila’s allies. 

    To avoid being caught in the middle of the row and battle for Mt Kenya region, Uhuru switched tactics to push his agenda for Raila and at the same time not antagonising Ruto’s followers. 

    Using proxies and elders 

    Political analyst, Nafula Kisiang’ani, states that the Head of State is using his allies to speak to Mt Kenya residents. These include Nyeri Town and Kieni MP’s Kimani Ngunjiri and Kanini Kega respectively. 

    “As the President, he ought to serve all leaders. However, he uses his proxies to speak. When these people speak, we all know the Head of State has spoken. He uses them to stay away from the limelight. 

    “He is setting boundaries to avoid being distracted too,” she opined. 

    Uhuru has also sent out Mt Kenya elders and businessmen such as media mogul Samuel Kamau Macharia (SK Macharia) who urge the region to rally behind Raila. 

    Resorting to vernacular 

    Uhuru, when touring Mt Kenya has spoken to the residents in the Kikuyu dialect as he sets out to unite the divided region. 

    On Friday, October 29, while in Ruiru, Kiambu County, he trolled politicians who were defecting from political parties arguing that they were focused on their own selfish interests. This was a thinly veiled attack at Kirinyaga Governor, Anne Mumbi Waiguru, who joined the Ruto-linked United Democratic Alliance (UDA). 

    He has also avoided the mainstream media and opted to be interviewed on the local vernacular media stations. 

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    President Uhuru Kenyatta addresses the military at the 2021 passing-out ceremony of the Kenya Defence Forces Recruits at the Moi Barracks Recruits Training School (RTS) in Eldoret, Uasin Gishu County on Friday, November 5, 2021
    PSCU

    Keeping Ruto’s background intact 

    The President has also avoided antagonising DP Ruto’s background. As part of his plan to connect with residents of any region he tours, Uhuru usually speaks to crowds that gather on highways. 

    The Head of State further seizes these opportunities to address key political issues he would not have spoken on at official and national events. 

    In several tours he has made to Rift Valley, Uhuru has kept away from breaking protocol. Analysts argue that he may have feared facing a backlash from DP’s loyal followers and sycophants. 

    OKA 

    Uhuru is believed to be championing for a coalition between Raila and One Kenya Alliance principals, Gideon Moi (KANU), Moses Wetangula (Ford-Kenya), Musalia Mudavadi (ANC) and Kalonzo Musyoka (Wiper). 

    The five leaders have met with the President a number of times to strategise on their 2022 game plan. Of late, Uhuru has scaled down his effort to unite the five in public and resorted to playing behind the scenes

    "We wish to state that reports claiming we were summoned by the President are false, malicious, misleading and mischievous, and are calculated to achieve nothing more than to ridicule our principals. 

    "At no time has His Excellency the President attempted to influence or derail the OKA campaigns directly, through proxies or otherwise," OKA stated on Monday, November 1. 

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    Gideon Moi addresses the meeting after meeting President Uhuru Kenyatta and other party leaders at State House, Nairobi on Thursday, February 25, 2021
    PSCU

    Changes in Jubilee 

    Jubilee and ODM are working towards forming a coalition. 

    “Our discussions with ODM are ongoing. There are discussions which are being done at the level of the two-party leaders,” Jubilee Secretary General, Rapahel Tuju, disclosed on November 1. 

    “It is beyond my pay grade to divulge something to you which can come up at the level of the two-party leaders,” he added, clarifying that Uhuru and Raila were spearheading the pact.