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September 21, 2018

Kenneth panics Ruto’s camp

Peter Kenneth entry into Nairobi governor race
Peter Kenneth entry into Nairobi governor race

Deputy President William Ruto’s political gravitas is grossly exaggerated. The man, who burns with post-dated presidential ambition, is at the top of the totem pole of the Kalenjin fiefdom, but he fumbles on the fluid national chessboard.

National integration, the national interest, equity, justice, integrity, and ideology seem alien for as long as the current Kalenjin and the Kikuyu elite are joined at the till.
     The Jubilee strategy of the possibility of the two communities dominating the presidency up to 2032 has been shaken, thanks to Peter Kenneth’s announcement of his interest in the Nairobi governor race.

The assumption in the Ruto camp seems to be that Kenneth is taking a strategic position in readiness for the Uhuru succession in 2022.
It’s also possible that Kenneth may be working on a strategy that could give him two terms as Nairobi governor: That is, if he wins in 2017against the incumbent  Evans Kidero.

Retired President Daniel Moi’s legendary patience as he waited for his turn after Jomo Kenyatta, President Uhuru’s father, eludes the self-proclaimed hustler. The DP is restless, whereas Moi was patient. Ruto is nosing the touchline, overlooking the next hurdle.

Among the Kalenjin, Ruto is celebrated as one who dismantled the citadel during the life of the king and his princes. But the self-declared hustler should know the ‘royals’ have not forgiven him for insinuating himself on the realm.
   The royals are the inheritors of the kingdom former President Moi built. Moi survived the power intrigues around Kenyatta because he did not expose his presidential ambitions too early. Ruto has not learnt from Moi, which makes him fair game for intrigues.

Kenneth’s into the Nairobi race exposes the fidgety side of Ruto. The former Gatanga MP has not even said he is recharging for the 2022 presidential race.  
   There may be no logic to the anxiety in the Rift Valley, but the announcement has shaken the foundation of Ruto’s 2022 presidential plot. His camp may even want to return to the drawing board — assuming it still exists.

President Uhuru Kenyatta may have been as surprised, like others, by Kenneth’s decision to downsize his presidential ambition and run for governor.
The other aspirants seeking the Jubilee Party ticket — nominated MP Johnson Sakaja, Dagoretti South MP Dennis Waweru, Water CS Eugene Wamalwa, former Starehe MP Margaret Wanjiru, and Nairobi Senator Mike Sonko — didn’t see this coming: The rats retreated when the cat arrived.

But for now, the President, who is seeking reelection against a resurgent opposition, should console himself: Some of Kenneth’s 72,789 in 2013, may top up his basket.

Ruto’s handlers have always assumed the 2013 Jubilee power pact would see their man succeed Uhuru in 2022. They assume Uhuru will have exhausted his two five-year presidential terms. This wish is often expressed with hubris and entitlement.

At the 2007 general election, Uhuru, a 2002 presidential race loser, deferred his ambition  and backed President Mwai Kibaki’s bid for a second term. The leader of the opposition defected to support the incumbent. The urge to keep power in ‘The House’ was irresistible.
     In 2012, Kibaki dropped his loyal Vice President, Kalonzo Musyoka, for Uhuru.

The President may want to repay the Ruto debt in 2022, but he would have lost the clout to lead the Kikuyu behind his deputy. In addition, the possibility of squeaking through the 2017 general dlection is diminishing in the face of rising public rage against corruption.PK may also be aware of the complexities of the possibility of a second Kikuyu replacing a Kikuyu in 2022. If he is, then, that removes the burden of comparing his strategy with Uhuru’s 2007 support for Kibaki. Then there may be no conspiracy but an independent desire to replicate the Gatanga CDF success in Nairobi.

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