SUCCESSION POLITRICKS

How Gideon Moi is shaping up to be Uhuru’s secret card in 2022

Uhuru’s dilemma right now is on who he can trust as the delivery man.

In Summary

• It’s a delicate game, which if not played well, will likely result in him handing over power to his current worst enemy.

• The question is, with all the historical political and electoral injustices Raila has gone through in the hands of the past regimes, can he be trusted with this “special parcel”?

President Uhuru Kenyatta with Kanu leader Gideon Moi after the independence party endorsed his reelection at a rally at the Moi Sports Centre Kasarani on May 8, 2017.
President Uhuru Kenyatta with Kanu leader Gideon Moi after the independence party endorsed his reelection at a rally at the Moi Sports Centre Kasarani on May 8, 2017.
Image: VICTOR IMBOTO

When one looks at the One Kenya Alliance formation and the Gideon Moi and Muhoho Kenyatta's visit to Raila Odinga, one thing becomes a constant - Gideon.

The Gideon Moi factor is becoming very interesting. It proves that President Uhuru Kenyatta's game plan is not to support Raila Odinga, Musalia Mudavadi or Kalonzo Muzyoka, but to find a way to position Gideon strategically for a future presidency.

Uhuru knows that directly proposing him for President will be a huge mistake that won't go past the declaration and thus wants to position him strategically within a winning coalition.

He tried waters with OKA but realised the cerelac consists of wannabes with little clout to beat either Raila or DP William Ruto.

So he (Uhuru) seems to be drawing a plan to have Gideon as a Raila running mate.

Why DP? Because the other positions of prime minister and deputy PMs — as proposed in the BBI constitutional change — will require one to be an MP.

This is a problem because they know DP Ruto will put up a massive fight to beat Gideon, if he runs for an MP seat in Baringo. That’s a huge risk I wouldn’t take if I were in Uhuru’s shoes.

The BBI mess at the county assembly was the smokescreen. Plus, Gideon was overwhelmingly defeated by Sammy Mwaita, a Ruto ally, in Baringo Central in 2007, meaning he’s no political strongman.

As Sunday Nation correctly puts it, "Gideon lacks the charisma of Ruto or the razzmatazz of Raila…” Why was Uhuru and his strategists so fast into getting rid of Ruto after 2017? Because with a Ruto candidacy, Gideon would be a nobody — politically.

In Uhuru's game plan, the first step was to rid of Gideon’s biggest threat – Ruto. Initially, he hoped that by bringing in Raila, he would have an avenue to prop up Gideon, perhaps eventually have a Raila-Gideon candidacy.

But later, he seemed to have realised this arrangement won’t have much traction in the Mt Kenya region and will likely yield the majority of the votes to Ruto.

This necessitated teh proposed change in the Executive through the BBI process.

Uhuru wasn’t a fan of the constitutional amendment in the initial stage of the handshake, he vehemently opposed any suggestion of it — as he had done in his first term when Raila pushed for the OKOA Kenya law change. Why the change of heart?

The President’s idea of inclusivity is a fallacy because even with the BBI power arrangement, we are still going to have a loser – the official opposition leader.

Someone will still lose, and that’s the whole point of an election. We can’t have a scenario where everyone wins or gets contented unless the losing team concedes.

Some BBI proponents argue that the loser will take up the official opposition role – a constitutional position with some benefits.

But they forget that in 2007, we had the same arrangement, yet we still experienced the worst electoral violence since independence.

This BBI proposition is only meant to ensure GEMA region is taken care of by dangling one of the other three positions to them.

This arrangement seemed to have been working until Uhuru’s system began to feel itchy on whether Raila will safely protect Gideon and deliver him to the throne.

And, so, the formation of One Kenya Alliance. Mudavadi or Kalonzo would have been the best at safely delivering Gideon to State House, but Uhuru can’t afford to alienate both Raila and Ruto and Mt. Kenya at the same time.

In such a scenario: there will likely be three horses – OKA, ODM and UDA. If the three end up at the ballot, OKA will likely come third.

OKA is made up of daydreamers who think that by simply winning by-elections in their villages, they are strong enough to withstand Ruto’s charms and Raila's tsunami. 

In Kabuchai, Senator Moses Wetang'ula’s home constituency, Ruto’s candidate managed 22 per cent of the votes cast.

Ford Kenya lost roughly one-third of votes to opposing parties combined.

In Matungu, ANC’s Peter Nabulindo could only manage about 43 per cent of the vote, with ODM  and UDA candidates’ votes outperforming him. 

Contrary to what many Kenyans might think, these two by-elections were clear indications that the Wetangula/Mudavadi unity is not strong enough to win them the kind of victories we always see Raila or Ruto or Uhuru get from their strongholds – over 90 per cent.

Uhuru must have realised this and reevaluated his options.

This is where things began to fall apart for the OKA team. If Ruto could get away with about 20 per cent of votes from such lightweight elections, imagine what would happen is a do-or-die political duel. 

With that in mind, it’s right to conclude that the two are still weak on their own. All that Ruto need from Western is anything between 20 and 25 per cent in a presidential duel, especially if he runs Mudavadi and Raila.

For Raila, it’s worth concluding that he still has a lot of clout in Western. 

One may look at it this way: Why did Nasa affiliates all of a sudden begin fighting each other? Was the split in Nasa choreographed by the 'system'?

  By pulling off Kalonzo, Wetang'ula and Mudavadi from Nasa, Uhuru could have been creating room for Gideon on either side – whichever ended up stronger.

How so? With Nasa intact, and with Uhuru somehow preferring it over Ruto, there’s no way Gideon would come from nowhere, and with marginal support, to be Raila’s running mate.

But it makes sense for that to happen now with Raila left alone to hunt for a financially abled lieutenant. Gideon’s cash, state support and anti-Ruto votes in Mt Kenya are enough to sway Raila to accommodate the younger Moi in a coalition.

It is to be expected that whichever political arrangement Uhuru decides to back, it will have Gideon as the running mate. Uhuru’s dilemma right now is on who he can trust as the delivery man.

It’s a delicate game, which if not played well, will likely result in him handing over power to his current worst enemy.

The question is, with all the historical political and electoral injustices Raila has gone through in the hands of the past regimes, can he still be trusted with this “special parcel” – a product and darling of the same regimes. Only time will tell.

The writer is a blogger and champion of democracy