State House Project Against Raila Is Real
Smart people, such as read the Star, by now know of the existence of a project in the Kibaki succession game plan. When Lugari MP and presidential aspirant Cyrus Jirongo blew the lid off the plan with his public utterances a fortnight ago, the usually mute State House was so piqued it sent out a blistering statement that left quite a lot to be desired. It went beyond mere denial to uncharacteristically attack Jirongo’s personality.
Now, as any keen follower of the Kibaki presidency will attest, every time State House denies something, it usually serves as a confirmation instead. Let’s not get into the details of the memorable “One family only” defence and the embarrassing saga of how the state facilitated the Armenian mercenaries to commit crimes around. Even judges at the International Criminal Court have found it hard to believe denials that Mungiki adherents attended a meeting there at the height of the 2007 post election stand off.
Back to the project, it is apparent that State House and informal networks with traceable patronage back there have more than a passing interest in the next election. While some argue that it was a slip of the tongue, I believe President Kibaki’s subconscious stream was at work when he kept referring to only one “project he knows about in his address to MPs at their retreat in Mombasa last month.
Indeed the project is one — to ensure continuity of the status quo by bequeathing power to one of the ruling elite or their proxy. The idea is to prop up a candidate or craft a coalition that will ensure the continued dominance of economic and political power in Kenya. The scheme unites the wielders of power and the power brokers of the Kenyatta, Moi and Kibaki administrations, that have a common interest in succeeding themselves and perpetuating their stranglehold on Kenya. At stake is whether such a succession plan will breathe life into the new constitution, address the inequality and injustice that Kenya must overcome and end ensure the rule of law.
Although hints are being dropped cautiously because of the high stakes involved, the truth is that the project is the running thread in all the political alliances that have been formed over the last three years. The anti-thesis and obstacle to that succession plot is perceived to be Raila Odinga.
The plot started with the split in the Orange Democratic Movement, when William Ruto walkde away with a chunk of the party’s support. While Ruto may have been inspired to quit by personal differences and personal ambition couched as communal grievances, he fell prey to the state’s master plan of peeling off the orange party and obliterating Raila’s political fortunes. UDM, to which he moved with a cabal of allied Kalenjin and other pastoralist MPs, found ready reception from the State, momentarily enjoying favours and resources to go about executing their dissent.
The situation was further helped by charges of crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Court preferred against Ruto and Uhuru Kenyatta, a principal player in the project whose rescue the state has not spared an effort. Unfortunately, as fate would have it, the partnership between Uhuru and Ruto has always been suspect. It has never been one of equals and remains tenable only as long as Ruto is ready to act as a prop for Uhuru. But Ruto is not a willing pawn, and his own interests on the table.
Intelligence has also shown that despite two years of charged and expensive campaigning, their camaraderie and chemistry notwithstanding, the solid suspicion between Ruto and Uhuru supporters is unlikely to dissipate before the election, which could torpedo the whole project. Thus the decision to peel off another layer of the Orange, in the form of Musalia Mudavadi.
The new beacon of the project, Mudavadi serves two objectives. He is expected to further chip away ODM and Raila’s critical Western Kenya support and, if need be, stand in if Uhuru’s candidacy is not viable. That is a contentious and divisive prospect among different project masterminds — all of them boasting their mandate, influence and legitimacy to State House. First, is the fact that some of Uhuru’ diehard supporters perceive Mudavadi’s emergence and apparent positive reception as competition. Quite apart from Uhuru’s supporters, he enjoys the patronage of some factions within the system, including an influential activist, who believe the Kikuyu community should back someone else who is “friendly”. To this faction, Mudavadi is a godsend.
It remains to be seen if Mudavadi’s will be the ultimate solution to the execution of the project headache. But the formation of the UDF party, level and source of support for his bid is a tale of state patronage that will continue to draw both support and revulsion. Significantly, it has triggered new alliances to undercut his influence that will become apparent in the coming days. There is a high likelihood of upsetting the calculations of the project masterminds. But while all this goes on, one question lingers: Why are some people so scared of Raila that they are willing to “sacrifice” anything to ensure he is not elected president of Kenya? We will attempt to answer next week.
David Makali is the director of The Media Institute. email@example.com