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POLITICAL DIVORCE

UhuRuto love enters new low

Previous vice presidents would briefly greet the audience and then say, "Your Excellency, this is your day. Mine is to invite you to speak to your people."

In Summary

• When the Jubilee regime happened, there was the president, and a co-president.

•  Now there is one president, as it should have been from day one of the Jubilee regime. There is one centre of power — as it should always be.

President Uhuru Kenyatta and DP William Ruto in celebratory mood. The UhuRuto ticket took Kenya by storm in 2013
President Uhuru Kenyatta and DP William Ruto in celebratory mood. The UhuRuto ticket took Kenya by storm in 2013
Image: FILE

Intra-Jubilee blows should be sharp on target from now on. Deputy President William Ruto's faction now knows the enemy. It's no longer about outsiders muddling the party. 

When the Jubilee regime happened, there was the president and a co-president. The co-president was presidential in speech, actions, power, and rants against the opposition. There was also hubris.

The co-president spoke exhaustively, and authoritatively during presidential functions. He addressed governance and policy issues, leaving the President with skeletons. This was a cardinal sin against protocol and history.     

 

Previous vice presidents would briefly greet the audience and then say, "Your Excellency, this is your day. Mine is to invite you to speak to your people."        

The VP flattered, and then let the boss shine. That is how power worked under previous presidents, especially during the Moi regime. After another sonorous, "Your Excellency Sir,"  the VP, with a Nyayo badge on the lapel, an abiding symbol of loyalty, would bow servilely, salute generously, and then sit down docilely.   

The Jubilee era DP behaved differently, even though the continuum of power hadn't changed. Power respects chain of command. Stars are bright but they don't compete with the sun. When you fly too high, you get burnt. You don't inherit the kraal when the owner of the boma is hail.

The co-principal oozed power. The dress code was matching, probably by mutual consent when the excitement was still high, and succession politics was still far away. Or was it a case of someone from the co-president's corner calling State House to find out from the wardrobe manager what the boss would be wearing? Or was it the dressing director spying on the presidential wardrobe for the co-president?     

About mid-term, of the final legal leg of the Uhuru Kenyatta presidency, there is a new dispensation. Presidential strongman David Murathe promised, on the eve of the 2017 General Election, the president would rebrand in the second term.

The owners of the system did not like the insubordination of the first term. Murathe promised a new-look President Kenyatta. The waiting was strategic. The system still needed the DP's support for the 2017 General Election.

Now there is one president, as it should have been from day one of the Jubilee regime. There is one centre of power — as it should always be. The clawback has redefined the hierarchy of command.    

 

The former co-president, who is the official DP, is missing, as the President struggles with the challenges of the Jubilee regime. But that is not all. There is a fight for the space that was, and the elusive promise of eternal camaraderie.

The fight has undercurrents of fear, force, and betrayal. The Kieleweke side of the Jubilee regime is showing who the President is. The Tangatanga side is merchandising fear. They are telling the President to return to the love lane or they sing.

They have started spilling the beans, of how the President's relatives got tenders to supply Jubilee campaign merchandise in 2017. They are promising to sing some more if the President does not restore love for the DP.

The war of proxies is getting close and personal. The factions are shoving fingers on each other's face. The fight is about the future as it is about the past: Nostalgia for lost love and the reality of losing the president's support. The party leader is sending lethal, calculated, and provocative blows. The arrival of Kanu leader Senator Gideon Moi in the citadel is potent. The message is loud: the 2012 Jubilee marriage is over. It served its purpose; it's time to move on.

There is also the deputy party leader — the DP. He is struggling to claw back into position, but without the audacity, not just yet, to take on the bull by the balls. The usual line, 'the President and I are fine, the problem are 'fraudsters and conmen who want to steal our party' - is a time-buying strategy. Procrastination may be too costly for the DP's 2022 presidential ambition. The General Election is not about to be postponed.     

The DP's punching bag is Jubilee secretary general Raphael Tuju, who answers to the party leader, who is also the president. The stone is close to target, but the messenger is still taking beatings for the President.   The secretary general is the official voice of the party. But there is also deputy secretary general Soy MP Caleb Kositany, who says Jubilee needs a co-secretary general. Kositany pars for the DP, the deputy party leader, every time Tuju executes directives of the party leader, the President.

The battle of the secretaries takes 'UhuRuto' love to a new low.