BBI’s uniting role imperilled by alleged plot to lock out Ruto

President aimed at taming biggest political critic Raila with handshake but started fire in DP camp

In Summary

• DP believes the alleged corruption scandals that revolve around his office are part of this scheme to curtail his presidential bid. 

• Report has driven a wedge between DP and ODM leader Raila yet it is expected to unite millions of Kenyans. 

Deputy President William Ruto, President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga at a past event.
NO PARTY OF THREE?: Deputy President William Ruto, President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga at a past event.
Image: PSCU

The 2018 March 9 political truce – famously known as the handshake – between opposition chief Raila Odinga and President Uhuru Kenyatta was hailed as a perfect antidote to negative ethnicity and tribal-animosity that has always characterised elections in the country.

Indeed, the truce was billed to create unity and harmony. With the Building Bridges Initiative being born to collect Kenyans’ views on the nine-point agenda that formed the hallmark of the truce, all was hunky-dory and the country seemed to be on the right trajectory.

Through the handshake, President Kenyatta’s aim was to tame his fiercest political rival - who had declared himself the people’s president - hence ensuring his second and last term of presidency sails smoothly.

The President was perhaps fully aware that securing his legacy would be a tall order with incessant political interference from the fierce opposition leader; Raila. He then had to find a way of calming him and ensuring a serene environment to secure his legacy. The BBI report was subsequently born out of this. Since then, the duo has strived to convince the country that the BBI is the best way forward. As a result, BBI has taken the centre stage in the current political landscape in the run-up to 2022.

However, in seeking to tame Raila – which succeeded at, President Kenyatta inadvertently created a headache for the DP and his camp. Ruto has maintained that the whole process is part of a wider scheme by Raila and some government functionaries to lock him out of the presidential race.

The DP sees the former PM as an unwanted guest and has blamed him for using the BBI to wreck the party; which goes against the report’s aim to supposedly unite millions of Kenyans.


Freelance journalist