- Unless political goalposts are changed or something else happens, the dice is already cast.
- What this means is that, with the BBI report and the political actions which follow, we are surely staring at very interesting political times in Kenya.
Last month, I wrote here that President Uhuru Kenyatta is playing political rugby, which had caught many politicians – friends and foe – off-guard. I explained that at every stage in the last one year, the President has produced deft political moves that have caught his political opponents flat-footed as he speeds off executing his agenda.
His political comments on the Building Bridges Initiative last week must have caught many politicians by surprise. Not that this was entirely unexpected, but the delivery must have confounded many a politician.
Addressing an ecstatic crowd at Ngong, Kajiado county, as he launched the Nairobi-Suswa standard gauge railway, President Kenyatta said he was determined to use the BBI to leave behind an enduring legacy built on sustainable peace and unity.
Uhuru explained that the legacy he was praying to God to help him realise on behalf of Kenyans was peace during and after elections, and an end to tribalism.
Knowing the President, and reading his body language at this function, one gets a feeling that more than ever before he is firmly in support of the BBI and its recommendations. It’s no doubt that he has now come out in the open. And this has set the political ball rolling.
Those opposed to the BBI have been jittery about the initiative and its agenda. It’s not lost on many Kenyans that Deputy President William Ruto and his political brigade have always voiced their opposition to the BBI.
Positions have been hardening since the handshake and, in recent months, pushing towards the brink.
To them, the BBI is a political ploy to block Ruto from ascending to the presidency in 2022 and create more leadership positions to accommodate election losers in the Executive. It’s already a political quagmire of sorts in the otherwise high voltage political chessboard.
Unless political goalposts are changed or something else happens, the dice is already cast. What this means is that, with the BBI report and the political actions which follow, we are surely staring at very interesting political times.
While Uhuru says the initiative is not a political ploy of any form, his deputy and his team of political brigade think otherwise. They have taken to bashing supporters of the BBI led by Raila Odinga, making the President’s position in the whole scenario awkward.
And these positions have been hardening since the handshake and, in recent months, pushing towards the brink. Because of hardening positions, factions have emerged within the ruling party – supporters of BBI (Kieleweke) and Ruto’s team (Tangatanga).
These factions, which have shown that there is no love lost between them despite being in the same party, have been shadowboxing over 2022 succession politics.
Although Uhuru has not come out openly to associate with the Kieleweke group, his deputy, no doubt, has made it known that he is the de facto Tangatanga leader, a label he proudly carries.
In what can be seen as political shadowboxing between the President and his deputy, behind the veil is a push for conflicting agenda in the guise of championing the cause of ordinary citizens.
This situation has held back the ruling party’s parliamentary group meeting for a while now; with those opposed to the BBI calling for a party meeting to no avail. But the question still remains: Will the BBI and its recommendations make things boil over in the ruling Jubilee party due to the growing mistrust?
The answer to this question is probably a resounding yes. With Uhuru’s commitment to BBI, the divisions in Jubilee will only increase after its report becomes public.
The ‘Tangatanga’ will definitely have a lot to say about it once its contents are made public and especially if there is a recommendation to change the structure of government. Ruto is determined to be president and has been working towards it and anything that short-circuits this will be opposed bitterly by his supporters.