SUCCESSION TURBULENCE

Why Uhuru won't let go of his handshake partner Raila

Gideon and Muhoho’s meeting with ODM leader stirs the political pot.

In Summary
  • The meeting came againt a backdrop of jitters in Raila's camp over possible betrayal by the President's allies.
  • It also came two weeks after Uhuru held a night meeting with Raila.
Kanu chairman Gideon Moi, ODM leader Raila Odinga and Muhoho Kenyatta at Raila's Karen residence on April 13, 2021.
Kanu chairman Gideon Moi, ODM leader Raila Odinga and Muhoho Kenyatta at Raila's Karen residence on April 13, 2021.
Image: HANDOUT

President Uhuru Kenyatta has sent out the clearest indication yet that he passionately wants ODM boss Raila Odinga in his 2022 succession matrix.

Two weeks after he visited Raila at his Karen home and took him on a tour of projects in Nairobi, his younger brother Muhoho Kenyatta and Kanu chairman Gideon Moi also trooped to the home of the former Prime Minister. 

The meeting lifted the lid on Uhuru's spirited efforts to assuage jitters in the ODM camp and steady the handshake amid disquiet over alleged plot by powerful forces to betray Raila.

Yesterday's meeting stirred the political pot even as the trio remained cagey about the agenda.

“I am deeply impressed by the Rt Hon Raila Odinga's quick and steady recovery; a clear indication of his resilience even in the face of adversity. We wish him good health, long life and boundless joy as one of our country's foremost patriots,” Gideon tweeted.

The meeting also came in the wake of signals of a possible Raila reunion with Deputy President William Ruto—a political force that analysts opine would vanquish Uhuru's 2022 game plan.

A Raila-Ruto alliance could sweep Rift Valley, Nyanza, Coast and Northeastern regions reminiscent of ODM's near-annihilation of ex-President Mwai Kibaki in the 2007 polls.

The DP last week met (with) Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya, who is ODM deputy party leader, at the Mahali Mzuri camp in Masaai Mara Game Reserve, triggering panic in the President's camp.

However, it is not clear if the ongoing manoeuvres would result in Uhuru anointing Raila as his successor in a one-term transitional plan or ask him to endorse his other choice for 2022.

The presence of Gideon, who is a principal in the One Kenya Alliance, swirled speculations whether the President will persuade Raila to a negotiating table with the team to build a larger coalition.

Raila's camp has been rocked by fears over a scheme by Uhuru's men to pick his successor from the One Kenya Alliance of Gideon, Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka, ANC boss Musalia Mudavadi and Ford Kenya's Moses Wetang'ula.

One Kenya Alliance leaders Moses Wetang'ula (Ford-K), Kalonzo Musyoka (Wiper), Musalia Mudavadi (ANC) and Gideon Moi (Kanu) and former Kathiani MP Wavinya Ndeti drum up support for Machakos senatorial candidate Agnes Kavindu of Wiper on January 26, 2021.
COALITION BUILDING: One Kenya Alliance leaders Moses Wetang'ula (Ford-K), Kalonzo Musyoka (Wiper), Musalia Mudavadi (ANC) and Gideon Moi (Kanu) and former Kathiani MP Wavinya Ndeti drum up support for Machakos senatorial candidate Agnes Kavindu of Wiper on January 26, 2021.
Image: HANDOUT

The latest development is seen, therefore, in light of the President trying to assuage fears and reassure Raila that all is well and that the handshake is intact despite the raging political turbulence.

National Assembly Deputy Majority whip Maoka Maore told the Star that the meeting was a confirmation that the handshake is intact and that the BBI reggae is on.

“We have never heard from either of the principals complain, the noise has been largely from the periphery. The handshake is intact and that is what the pictures said,” the Igembe North MP said.

He maintained that the President and his handshake co-principal will continue working together "otherwise there will be chaos in the country".

National Assembly Minority leader John Mbadi said the Kenyatta and Jaramogi families have historical ties.

"Of course politics must be discussed because once Muhoho and Gideon go to Raila at his home they will ask how he is feeling and Raila will explain how he fell sick and how he's doing.

"After that they will discuss politics, they will discuss BBI, they will discuss Kenya, next year and now. But that does not mean there was a pre-planned meeting," Mbadi told the Star.

Political analyst and University of Nairobi lecturer Harman Manyora yesterday told the Star that there was a likelihood that the President was scheming to have Raila negotiate with One Kenya.

“The One Kenya Alliance will finally be convinced to support Raila in 2022, it is going to be a Raila against Ruto contest,” he said.

According to Prof Manyora, Raila's meeting with Gideon and Muhoho was also part of a plan to calm jitters among his supporters who have been doubtful of the President's support ahead of 2022.

“It was a mission to allay fears and soothe supporters that nothing has gone wrong, Uhuru really wants to work with Raila ahead of 2022,” he said.

Nyeri Town MP Ngunjiri Wambugu, a key ally of the head of state, told the Star that the trio's meeting was a session for the country's three most powerful family institutions whose significance can't be ignored.

“You can make noise about them, you can laugh at them, you can call them names, but you cannot ignore them because they represent institutions,” Ngunjiri said of the Jomo Kenyatta, Jaramogi Oginga Odinga and Daniel arap Moi families.

The vocal MP noted that the meeting also symbolised political might in the wake of the push to amend the Constitution through the BBI process.

“This shows that no coalitions will work if the BBI is not at the centre. The session means that there is a sense of first having the BBI sail through before talking about 2022 coalitions,” he said.

The President and Raila have been pushing for the BBI until the process encountered headwinds in Parliament amid claims of betrayal from the ODM camp who felt their leader was being short-changed.

Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua.
Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua.
Image: FILE

Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua yesterday told the Star that the President was in panic after his "foreign army" threatened to ditch him for Ruto.

"What is happening is that the President has given in to blackmail by ODM. The ODM party had started claiming that they would work with Ruto after they felt the system was supporting One Kenya Alliance. It is working for them,” Gachagua said.

Gachagua, a member of the DP's Tangatanga movement, said the President had been forced to succumb to the blackmail because he had abandoned his real soldiers.

“That is what happens when you depend on a foreign army. You are always prone to blackmail all the time,” he said.

But political analyst Dismas Mokua said the President and Raila are joined at the hip insofar as the BBI process is concerned, hence the two have no option other than working together.

“However, this will immediately change after BBI because politicians and powerful personalities will be looking to support a coalition that can guarantee political stability and economic growth,” he said.

Mokua said yesterday's meeting confirmed that One Kenya Alliance could be a viable proposition, with key players wanting to buy shares early in the day.

 

Edited by F'Orieny