SUCCESSION POLITICS

What Kibra by-election taught us

If Ruto has been jettisoned from the political dining table and all the signs are there for all and sundry to see, then expect trouble from the Rift Valley.

In Summary

• Raila has abandoned his Nasa colleagues and is currently occupied in crafting new coalitions. 

• Political futures or fortunes of opposition leaders Kalonzo Musyoka and Wetang’ula have declined terribly as the jointly mustered 260 votes in Kibra.

Malindi MP Aisha Jumwa and Jubilee candidate McDonald Mariga at Mash Park Hotel in Kibra. Deputy President William Ruto (right) applauds during a meeting with the Divine Church of Africa on October 1.
RUTO'S KIBRA PLAN Malindi MP Aisha Jumwa and Jubilee candidate McDonald Mariga at Mash Park Hotel in Kibra. Deputy President William Ruto (right) applauds during a meeting with the Divine Church of Africa on October 1.
Image: DPPS

The Kibra by-election has taught us several valuable lessons.

The first is that the 2022 presidential and General Election will be a battle of strongholds. That if the alliance between President Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga holds in Nyanza and Central Kenya holds, then the indefatigable Deputy President William Ruto is in for a political drubbing.

The billion-dollar question is whether Uhuru has sold his deputy “downriver” and if so, why?  The second lesson is that Raila has abandoned his Nasa colleagues and is currently occupied in crafting new coalitions. The words of ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi after the 2018 handshake, when he described the ODM leader as a betrayer, are turning out to be prophetic.

 

He described the deal between Ralla and President Kenyatta as “hollow, selfish and meaningless to Nasa’s structured cause”. He went on to say that with the departure of ODM from Nasa to Jubilee, new political permutations and alignments will emerge thus making the opposition coalition stronger.

He said the ODM leader had forsaken the fight for national dialogue and electoral justice that saw many Kenyans lose their lives “for whatever material offers from Jubilee”. He also described Senate Minority leader Moses Wetang’ula’s removal from office as a well-choreographed plan by ODM. Strong words coming from one principal to another. Clearly all is not well at the coalition

The third lesson is that the political futures or fortunes of opposition leaders Kalonzo Musyoka and Wetang’ula have declined terribly as the jointly mustered 260 votes in Kibra. All Ukambani governors — Kitui, Machakos and Makueni — were part of the ODM campaign juggernaut effectively cutting off Kalonzo’s political legs. The other lesson is that Kibra is a dress-rehearsal for the 2022 election. The amount of violence and intimidation in Kibra was daunting and is an ominious sign of what to expect in 2022.

If Ruto has been jettisoned from the political dining table and all the signs are there for all and sundry to see, then expect trouble from the Rift Valley. The bitterness in the region on account of the handshake is already palpable. A deep sense of betrayal has befallen the hustler nation country-wide. The whole world knows how hard Ruto campaigned for the Kenyatta re-election. At times working 18 hour days, the man criss-crossed the country like a Colossus. He was the most visible symbol of the Jubilee campaign. Did I overhear 10 years for Uhuru and 10 years for William? What happened and why he has been ditched remain a closely guarded secret.

Interestingly, the handshake betrayal goes both ways. Raila has abandoned his coalition partners and ran away with the funding for the opposition parties. ODM is currently busy hurling epithets at its coalition partners completely oblivious of the fact that the Nasa coalition was the brainchild of Mudavadi. Like the proverbial camel, Raila pleaded for a place to hide his head in the Nasa tent and his coalition partners forsook their political ambitions only to be pushed out of the tent. This was the unkindest cut of all.

It can now be revealed from reliable internal sources that when Kalonzo, Wetang’ula and Mudavadi forsook their quest for Presidency in favour of the ODM kingpin it was agreed that the Orange party leader would fund the campaign. Along the way, he ran out of finances after Jubilee leaders froze most of his accounts.

Opposition supporters were restrained from bringing in billions from abroad and by the time the 2017 presidential election was nullified, the coffers were empty. The boycotting of the subsequent election was a face saving ploy for a defeated impecunious giant.

 

The opposition had a brilliant chance of securing the presidency after the nullification as the country was numb with shock. Nasa thanks to a brilliant team of lawyers had downed a sitting government in power. It was unprecedented and Jubilee supporters were already feeling defeated. But where was the money to finance the election?

As Sun Tzu the wise sage states it is foolhardy to launch a battle with empty coffers and thus Jubilee got a “walkover.”