Is it Ruto or Raila?
Succession is the fact or right of being the next person to have an important job or position. In Kenya the most significant succession is political succession which happens after every five or ten years rules of a president since 1992 when the constitution was repealed and term of the presidency set to the maximum two terms of five years each. The same was retained in the 2010 new constitution. President Uhuru Kenyatta became the first president to govern with the new constitution. He succeeded President Kibaki who came from Central Kenya which seemed then as impossibility due to the high volatility and ethnic nature of our politics. All signs are however clear now that the seat is fast moving away from the region and headed West. What is not clear is whether the seat will rest at the neighbouring Rift region or if it has stamina to move to the sunset part of the country.
In our analysis we are going to consider all possibilities of where the seat may finally settle but what is unfolding fast and clearer is either the deputy president William Ruto or former premier Raila Odinga are the most probable heirs of the presidency. Both of whom are political heavyweights with vast experiences in the game. Both entered the political arena at their youth and have perfected the art of politics to a satisfactory edge.
The succession seemed definite; the deputy president William Ruto remained the de facto heir of the house on the hill until 9th March 2018 when the famous handshake between President Uhuru and the former premier Raila crossed ranked to bury their hatchets and bring the ceasefire to the heightened political tensions which emanated from the disputed 2017 presidential elections. Many Kenyans hailed the newly found union between the president and opposition chief for the calm and tranquility it restored to the country but those who were closest to the deputy remained skeptical due to the political threat it may have caused to his 2022 bid. His close allies openly criticized the handshake and as days went by in the month of June after Uhuru Kenyatta’s remarks at DP William Ruto at Jogoo Road, where Uhuru referred to his deputy as a person roaming aimlessly. In Swahili the president said; “Huyu kijana yangu Ruto yeye anatanga tanga kila pahali. Mkimwona hapa machorochoroni ambia yeye shida zenu,” They formed the Tanga Tanga Movement which later grew dim after heavy criticism from the president who urged Kenyan to shun politics and concentrate on development.
Raila was appointed as a special envoy for infrastructure by African Union in October 2018 a position that elevated his voice across Africa and magnified his political voice in the country. Towards the end of the year in December, the president toured Nyanza region the political turf of ODM leader Raila Odinga – precisely Kisumu and Siaya counties. President Uhuru Kenyatta launched the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) pilot project in Kisumu County amid much fanfare during which his deputy and the former premier were present. The deputy president, however, did not accompany him to Siaya County.
The deputy president, on the other hand, has intensified his Western Kenya visit and has made good inroads with Former Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale, Sirisia Member of Parliament (MP) John Waluke, Lurambi MP Titus Khamala, Navakolo MP Emmanuel Wangwe and National Assembly Majority Chief Whip Benjamin Washiali among others leading the battalion of political heavyweights from the region backing his 2022 bid. The region is yielding positively as he is eating into what has traditionally been former Raila’s political bedrock.
The deputy president has as well gained momentum in Coastal region, where Kilifi governor Amason Jeffah Kingi and a raft of Mps who include Malindi’s Aisha Jumwa , Badi Twalib (Jomvu), Sharif Ali (Lamu East), Suleiman Dori (Msambweni), Gertrude Mbeyu (Kilifi), Benjamin Tayari (Kinango), Ali Mbogo (Kisauni), Khatib Mwashetani (Lunga Lunga), Owen Baya (Kilifi North), Stanley Muthama (Lamu West), Paul Katana (Kaloleni) and Ali Wario (Garsen). This made shockwaves to ODM party prompting the Party secretary general Edwin Sufana warned them of stern action by the party if they continue to support Ruto. ODM disciplinary committee went ahead to recommend the expulsion of Malindi MP Aisha Jumwa and Msambweni MP Suleiman Dori over gross misconduct.
The Mountain region, however, has not been a walk in the park due to resistance by disgruntled politicians who believe that the deputy president was the one behind their political misfortune in the last general elections. Led by the former Kiambu governor; William Kabogo, who publicly watered down the lipa deni (pay debt) movement which was intended to rally people from the mountain region to show gratitude to deputy president by voting him in come 2022 since he supported their son in 2013 and 2017 the resistance can only grow bigger since the former governor has publicly declared his intention of joining the national politics and his visit to former premier at his Capitol Hill office shortly before taking head-on the Lipa deni team. The lipa deni initiative was led by Ruto’s regional political stalwarts led by Kikuyu Mp. Kimani Ichung’a and his Kiharu counterpart Ndindi Nyoro.
The Mountain political matrix seems to be getting more complicated day by day owing to the rejuvenation of the giant Democratic Party (DP) which was former president Kibaki’s vehicle in 1992. The sleeping giant party is aimed at creating a strong political vehicle for politicians who would not join Jubilee party or even KANU party which is restructuring itself day by day and making good inroads into the region. KANU has attracted many lucrative political heads from Central Kenya. The DP party is being associated with prominent business moguls and seasoned politicians from the region who are rumoured to have dedicated substantial resources to ensure DP becomes the party of the day, come next general elections.
Some other notable figures in the Mt. Kenya region is Murang’a governor Mwangi Wa Iria who has registered the Civic Renewal Party and said it would fill the fill the vacuum after Uhuru exits political stage in 2022 in Central and larger Kenya’s political metamorphosis. In the same county former youthful PS Irungu Nyakera (Principal Secretary, State Department of Transport, Ministry of Transport, Infrastructure, Housing & Urban Development). The young leader has heightened community centered activities through his foundation which mentors the youth and has as well launched a football league recently which saw Football Kenya Federation (FKF) Aberdares Branch on Saturday, December 1, 2018, entered a Memorandum of Understanding with Irungu Nyakera Foundation to fully sponsor the Muranga County League.
The Rift valley region is equally not a bed of roses for the deputy President since Gideon Moi who is rumoured to have a softer spot on Raila is re-engineering his political vehicle the party of the independence KANU. Though it did not perform excellently well in the last general election the son of the former president of 24 years Daniel Arap Moi seems determined to proving a point come 2022. There has also been meeting between the former political professor retired President Moi and delegations led by key political leaders which includes; for Premier Raila Odinga, former vice President Kalonzo Musyoka, Mombasa governor and coastal kingpin Ali Hassan Joho among others. It will be remembered that the deputy president had visited the old Mzee only for his meeting to be cancelled the last minute. The humiliation, however, was interpreted by many common Kenyans as a scheme of political dynasties to sideline the hustler and the hustler nation as the national cake is being shared. The act was a great draw back to the Moi’s as many paupers felt letdown.
Despite all the efforts to dislodge the deputy president what he believes is his political heirs’ rights he still remains the man to beat in the 2022 election. He has been endearing himself to the people through his countrywide project launching activities and church fundraising. He has, however, one big day which shall make him or destroy him completely. The day he shall announce his running mate shall turn to be his day of political judgment. This is the day where either his political genius aspect or magician must play at its best or his political rapture be declared. Considering the following; if he chooses from a running mate from Central the Western block shall swiftly drift away and galvanize itself with Nyanza to give Raila the 5th presidency, if he considers a Westerner, the mountaineers will melt away as Coastalarians swims to deep waters and worse still if he goes for a Coastalarian the Westerners shall groove with mountaineers to make Mudavadi the man of the day. But he can consider neutral person and save himself the wrath of political polygamy where you promise all political brides the number two seat only to realize it was one.
All said and done the biggest question which should be lingering in the minds of mountaineers should be; who takes best care of their interests both economically and politically.
Danson, a Creative innovative mind happening to the world in a great way