Ruto is facing a political storm. It is threatening to sink the great Titanic political ship – Jubilee Party. Observers anticipated these turn of events but the abruptness and rapidity of the deterioration came as a shocker.
Botched Jubilee Party primaries ahead of 2017 elections and theft of campaign funds. Underhand dealings and premature 2022 presidential campaigns. Are causes of the bad blood between Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto.
Highly placed sources reveal that the president got fed up with his deputy long ago. Billions of shillings donated for the presidential campaigns in 2017 went missing under Ruto. China, Sudan and Uganda, among other friendly countries contributed.
Consequently, Uhuru was forced to raid the Kenyatta family coffers to finance the campaign.This is after millions of shillings from state bodies such as Kenya Pipeline and Kenya Power and friends of Jubilee vanished into thin air.
The Kenyatta family to date has never forgiven Ruto. Continually blaming him for the financial mess at the Jubilee party. The DP was personally in charge with his allies sidelining Uhuru’s camp.
Uhuru entrusted Ruto with the mission of heading the secretariat of the campaign.
This is after the tumultuous elections of the party that were postponed and repeatedly ordered. According to sources, the DP once sidelined Jubilee Secretary General Raphael Tuju to make financial decisions where all supplies were his cronies.
Ruto’s Nightmare (Tuju & Murathe)
Tuju has of late become the DP’s biggest headache in the succession matrix. Even after the polls, the tussle between Ruto and Tuju continued largely fuelled by their aspirations to control the Jubilee political machine ahead of 2022.
Raphael Tuju is a close confidant of the president. His network runs the show at Jubilee headquarters which Ruto has unsuccessfully fought to control. He is also a cabinet secretary without portfolio executing Uhuru’s directives, pointing to the widening rift between the president and his deputy.
According to insiders, Uhuru believes Ruto stage managed his Sugoi home raid a few days to the repeat presidential poll to divert attention from the theft of the campaign funds.
During the raid a GSU officer was shot and his gun taken away by the attackers who have never been brought to book.
The incident happened a few minutes after the deputy president had left for Kitale. DP is the second most guarded government official in the country after Uhuru and their homes are usually under 24-hour watch by the elite Recce Squad of the GSU.
Uhuru believes that Ruto planted his cronies during the Jubilee party primaries in a clever scheme to make him a lame duck president soon after the polls. The president’s position on this matter was revealed by former Jubilee party vice chairman David Murathe.
Murathe claimed Ruto manipulated the nomination process so as to plant his allies in Mt Kenya region. The same happened in Rift Valley. The move is said to have even backfired in his own Turbo constituency Uasin Gishu. His favoured Jubilee candidate Kevin Okwara was defeated by an independent Janet Sitienei.
Also in Uasin Gishu Ainabkoi, William Chepkut won as an independent. Ruto wanted a one Samuel Chepkonga on Jubilee to be area MP. Insiders say Uhuru was bitter the two seats had been earmarked for Jubilee to control parliament by virtue of being Ruto home turf.
But what annoyed Uhuru most was that in Thika Town the president’s own Kiambu county. Ruto was against Patrick Wainaina on Jubilee ticket preferring Alice Ng’ang’a. Wainaina ran as an independent and won. Uhuru could not believe that in his own Kiambu, Jubilee had been defeated yet Thika residents voted for him overwhelmingly as president. He blamed Ruto for sabotage.
Ghosts From The Past
Already, more Jubilee politicians who lost in the primaries have come out to claim the process was a fraud.It was manipulated to push out certain individuals.
Among those who claim they were elbowed out are former Kiambu governor William Kabogo, former Mukurweini MP Kabando wa Kabando, former Nakuru governor Kinuthia Mbugua, nominated MP Maina Kamanda, former Othaya MP Mary Wambui and city gubernatorial aspirant Peter Kenneth.
Uhuru hosted Mount Kenya Jubilee Party losers at State House after party nominations. Indeed, they expressed their bitterness. These disgruntled leaders faulted the DP. He rigged them out to ensure his 2022 line-up was in place.
Uhuru confirmed before the 2017 general polls that he’s aware they were rigged out. He urged them to remain in the party.They still needed Ruto to deliver the Kalenjin votes and “after that Ruto would know who Uhuru is”. That explains why Uhuru, during the campaigns, to hoodwink Kalenjin voters said, he will back the DP in 2022.
Thirdly, Uhuru got bitter with Ruto when, after the polls, he started pushing for former Bungoma governor Kenneth Lusaka to be appointed house speaker to replace Justin Muturi. The DP wanted Lusaka in parliament to consolidate his following among the Luhya community block.
Ruto wanted Muturi moved to senate.
By lobbying for Muturi’s removal, Uhuru, according to sources, felt that his number two was stabbing him in the back. Muturi is Uhuru’s drinking buddy and a few years earlier Ruto had boasted to Kalenjins that he was the one running the government since the president was ever enjoying his drinks.
The will of the president eventually prevailed as Muturi retained the house speaker’s position with Lusaka assuming the senate role.Insiders add that Ruto wanted to use Lusaka and majority leader Adan Duale to remove Uhuru from the top position using parliament which majority of Jubilee MPs are allied to him.
Talk is, a plot to impeach Uhuru had been hatched to make Ruto assume presidency in the remaining years and easily win 2022 as an incumbent. It seems Uhuru bought the idea and decided to reach out to ODM leader Raila Odinga using the handshake to enable him control legislature. By then, Ruto camp were of the opinion no vice president had managed to succeed and win presidency since introduction of multiparty politics.
Ruto, according to sources, also vehemently opposed the nomination of Maina Kamanda but the president flexed his muscles to have his way. Kamanda is among leaders in Kieleweke which is pulling all stops to ensure the DP does not ascend to the presidency in 2022.
Fourth, the president and his deputy had a major fallout prior to the naming of the cabinet. Uhuru sidelined him but worked with powerful principal secretary Karanja Kibicho, CS Joseph Mucheru and head of NIS Philip Kameru in cabinet composition.
Fear was that Ruto allies would loot the projects funds as they had done during his first term they were in charge of Agriculture and Health. The DP was conspicuously absent when the president named more numbers to his cabinet with more veteran cabinet secretaries being retained.
While naming the first batch of cabinet, Ruto missed out from State House with sources intimating that he was unhappy, a claim he later on dismissed. Ruto had opposed both lists raising eyebrows.
Separating Chaff From Wheat
As early as 2015 Uhuru learnt that Ruto was not only running a parallel government but was also shopping for strategists to drive his presidential campaigns once Jubilee won a second term with little regard for the president’s legacy projects.
Ruto men referred as spies were unceremoniously removed from State House and replaced by DP’s political foes led by comptroller of State House Kinuthia Mbugua. Of late Ruto, has to book an appointment to visit a State House unlike before.
It must remembered recent government appointments have been fovouring Raila, Gideon and to an extent Kalonzo Musyoka allies.
Indeed, immediately they were sworn in, Ruto hired four Americans as campaign strategists. The four, who perished in the Turkana chopper crash, were veteran political consultants who had begun laying out an elaborate campaign gameplan for Ruto ahead of 2022.
The four Americans were Brandon Hower Stapper, David Mark Baker, Kyle John Forti and Anders Jesiah Burke.
The president was annoyed with Ruto for embarking on premature campaigns at the expense of his Big Four Agenda which will supposedly define his legacy. Uhuru got annoyed with his number two when he started putting breaks on the war against corruption.
The DP, through his allies, has been shouting on top of rooftops that the war on corruption is aimed at scuttling his 2022 presidential bid, a move that has greatly annoyed the president.
The president seems to have taken his deputy head-on over his relationship with the leader of ODM party several times, causing an uncomfortable situation.
Handshake 1 & 2
Uhuruto alliance gave rise to the Jubilee Party. This was a bridge in itself that put together two groups that clashed against each other in 2007. Hundreds of lives lost and several hundred thousand displaced. Back then, Mr. Ruto was part of Mr. Odinga’s Orange Democratic Movement.
An agreement (Handshake 1) that saw Kenyatta and Ruto campaign on the same platform in 2012 was an unlikely alliance for both communities. Kalenjins represented by Ruto, and the Kikuyu represented by Kenyatta. This unity held even until the hotly contested 2017 elections. Today though, this is a bridge already on fire. Supporters of the president and his deputy often taking on each other publicly.
Opposition leader Raila Odinga and President Uhuru Kenyatta pulled a surprise move in March 2018 that caught everyone unaware-including their close allies.
The now-famous “handshake” on the steps of the office of President Kenyatta would then set the stage for an effort to unite a country split by decades of divisive politics-often along ethnic lines.
Casualties and collateral damage on both sides of the Jubilee divide are expected . Ruto has suffered the greatest setback. His allies have found themselves hounded before courts and released on heavy bail terms. They tried to ethnicise the anti-graft purge but that didn’t work.
Emboldened by the support from the opposition ranks, Uhuru has moved to close the cash flow for Ruto’s activities. The Central Bank introduced a bunch of measures. Consequently mopping up excess liquidity from the money market.
Hitherto, the Tanga Tanga group had become synonymous with flamboyant Harambee events targeting churches with humongous cash donations.
Uhuru, A Changed Man
President Uhuru Kenyatta is busy reorganizing his Cabinet, government agencies, and corporations. The Building Bridges Initiative’s results are clearly evident in these changes in policy.
The DCI arrested Henry Rotich, who was accused of corruption, as the Cabinet Secretary to National Treasury.
Rotich, pleaded not guilty hence released on bail. He had been appointed by Kenyatta in 2013 at Ruto’s request. This appears to have angered Ruto.
Ruto held up his tongue on Rotich’s indictment. A central figure from his populated Northern Rift Valley political support base.
The ‘building bridges task force’ was a key result of the ‘handshake. It was given the mandate to go around the country gathering views about how to create a more united community.
The activities of the task force culminated in the November 2019 launch of a report. It recommended, among other things, a change in the governance structure of the country.
The new frameworks include the development of a Prime Minister’s office. And two Secretaries, the office of opposition official leader, and the selection of ministers from parliamentary leaders.
The contention was that the ‘winner takes all’ . This government structure made other groups to feel left out . Those who were not included in the winning coalition suffered, hence the regular post-election confrontations.
Uhuru dismissed claims that the former Prime Minister is out to destroy the ruling Jubilee party. This follows their political truce of March 9, 2018. Then we have the Gideon factor. It is said Uhuru is more comfortable with Gideon presidency than Ruto.
In reality,Its Gideon’s idea for Raila’s to drive a referendum with Uhuru’s support. The Baringo senator does not have time for Ruto.
The DP has always said the referendum bid is aimed at creating political positions for dynasties.
With the new constitution, Raila, Gideon and even Kalonzo think otherwise. They are of the view that if we head to 2022 referendum, Ruto is likely to win the day. It is on this basis, a new system has been offered to Uhuru where a winner doesn’t take it all.
This is to be established the offices of Prime Minister and two Deputies. Also with those of President and two Deputies to control Ruto.
Uhuru can sit wine and dine with the enemies of Ruto. The vice president is alone and his state-targeted supporters have seen how poor the blood between Uhuru and Ruto is.
Ruto has now chosen to participate in confrontational politics. A good example is from the way he engaged Kibicho at JKIA during Rwanda’s return visit to Uhuru.