The deep state and the system are two words that have become synonymous with the Kenyan elections even as the country prepares to go to the polls in eight months. The two words have become so popular in the country with warring political factions expressing different opinions on their roles in determining electoral results.
The August 9, 2022 election will be one of the most contested polls in the country since the return of multiparty democracy in 1992.
Kenya’s election is reportedly highly influenced by deep-pocketed individuals. This is based on the lamentations and allegations of top politicians and opinion leaders. Members of the alleged deep state and system are believed to be top businessmen who are out to protect their interests and wealth.
Many are said to be Mt Kenya billionaires who greatly contribute to the country's economy as they have dominated almost all business sectors; from industrialisation to agriculture and banking. Two of the region’s wealthy factions are currently embroiled in a crisis on whether to endorse Deputy President, William Ruto, former Prime Minister, Raila Odinga or the Amani National Congress (ANC) leader, Musalia Mudavadi.
“We are being threatened that there is a system or deep state which consists of people who will rig us out during the General Election and that the winners have already been predetermined. They have the system but we have the people and God on our side,” Deputy President William Ruto stated on Tuesday, August 11, 2020, at an event at his Karen home.
“I hold no position in the Government of Kenya. It is led by the President and his deputy, whose names you know. So if you’re talking about the ‘Deep State’, who is there? It’s the President and his deputy. So, ask the DP, which deep state he is talking about?" Raila responded a few days later.
According to insiders privy to the information, the two factions pushing for Ruto, Raila and Mudavadi are code-named the Muthaiga Club and the Windsor Five, with both camps composed of billionaires from the vote-rich Mt Kenya region.
The two groups are identified by their meeting joints, where they hold exclusive rights and privileges to executive lounges.
The Muthaiga Club tycoons comprise of a group led by a top Jubilee official under pressure to resign after the party lost track and touch with the grassroots, a top banker and a media mogul among others.
These billionaires are said to be championing for Raila to succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta going to the extent of brokering a pre-election pact between Uhuru’s Jubilee Party and Raila’s Orange Democratic Movement (ODM).
The group is also behind Raila’s image management, media prominence and meetings with the Mt Kenya Foundation - powerful figures behind the country’s economy.
On the other hand, the Windsor Five tycoons, support the candidature of DP Ruto and former Vice President, Musalia Mudavadi. This group comprises of only five billionaires who wield so much power owing to their economic status.
The five billionaires see Ruto as a safer pair of hands compared to Raila - who is a long time anti-graft crusader. According to our source, the Windsor Five believes that Ruto is best suited to safeguard their interests and businesses while protecting their wealth.
Nonetheless, they consider Mudavadi the safest option and rate him higher than Ruto. Mudavadi is seen as calm and easy to take and implement orders. His family also has ties with the Kenyatta’s spanning decades and has managed to keep his business interests low-key.
“The Windsor Five is considered more powerful than the Muthaiga Club. The Windsor's were the force behind Uhuru's 2013 success. When Uhuru entered into a pre-election pact with Mudavadi in the same year, they were very furious and ordered him to rescind that decision.
“But the pact was more of a gentleman's agreement between Mudavadi and Uhuru and not with the billionaires,” the insider told Kenyans.co.ke.
President Uhuru Kenyatta is, nonetheless, believed to have a vital say in his successor with both groups respecting him as the region’s kingpin. Analysts have, on several times, questioned his decision claiming that he is playing a game of chess on both Raila and Ruto.
Some analysts and politicians believe that he will endorse Raila in 2022, owing to their handshake, while others argue that he will stick with Ruto.
The wrangle between Uhuru and Ruto has been questioned with many arguing that it is a well-orchestrated plan to tame Raila, who disrupted Jubilee’s agenda between 2013 and 2018 with countless demonstrations that destabilised the economy.
Uhuru’s art of political doublespeak has been evident in the public through his speeches, attacking Ruto and seemingly being lukewarm on supporting him in 2022 on one end and supporting Raila and being unclear on endorsing him on the other.
"I have never said I will not support William Ruto, why do you keep insulting me? Yes, I said kumi kumi, yangu kumi iliisha lini? (I am to serve my two terms and then he serves his two terms. But has my term ended?" he posed while addressing delegates in Sagana in January 2021.
Within the same month, he, however, alluded to supporting another community to run for Presidency other than the Kalenjin and the Agikuyu.
“To be honest, those who are saying they are tired of this or that family and that the opportunity should now be given to whoever...if that is the thinking or logic... I can also come to the conclusion that only two communities have had the presidency and we need to give another community the opportunity,” he stated at the funeral service of Hannah Mudavadi, the mother to ANC's Musalia Mudavadi.