What Moi's exit means for Raila, Gideon and Matiang'i

Raila may be silent on his wishes but he may be waiting for the final kill

In Summary

• The amalgamation of politics of this region was dependent on Moi.

• Rift Valley will have to split into the centre, the north and the south.

Deputy President William Ruto speaks during the funeral service of former President Daniel Moi at Kabarak on Wednesday, February 12.
Deputy President William Ruto speaks during the funeral service of former President Daniel Moi at Kabarak on Wednesday, February 12.

Following the burial of former President Daniel Moi, political intrigues will begin in earnest. What came before will seem like child's play.

Some are touting a battle royal between Deputy President William Ruto and Gideon, Moi's last born son and Baringo senator.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Gideon has already won. 

Picture this. He could very easily be admitted to the ‘deep state’ as he is part of the princes walking around with power barons in Kenya. Then figure out the Building Bridges Initiative in which Raila Odinga has made himself the ‘main driver’ of the Handshake bus. Then watch the role of 'Super CS' Fred Matiang’i.

When you do the math, it is telling how tides will turn. If the BBI goes through, then we will know who is the potential President, Deputy President and Prime Minister. It is the contention of this commentary that Raila could serve as President for one term, his deputy could be Gideon and Matiang’i the prime minister under that regime.


Math is considered a very difficult subject. It is not, especially the mathematics of statecraft. In a well-considered opinion piece on Sunday on February 9, 2020, it was argued that Ruto is facing an uphill task in his presidential bid.

It is the patient who becomes not the shouting politicians, neither the ambitious. It is a piece of well-oiled machinery about admittance to the throneroom of State House power. 

Looking forward, there is the possibility of a deal that will incorporate Raila, Gideon and Matiang’i. Left out of the picture could be Ruto, and any other person who is not a prince. Two of them are princes at the moment, with one being groomed. That is what my crystal ball shows.

Moi’s death is both a blessing and a curse for Ruto. A blessing that Moi has exited the scene and a curse for what it portends in the Rift Valley politics. The amalgamation of politics of this region was dependent on Moi. Rift Valley will have to split into the centre, the north and the south.

Ruto cannot assemble the north to support his bid because it is mainly Samburu and Turkana counties. The south is mainly Kericho, Narok and Kajiado counties. No one has the guarantee that these counties will support the Deputy President

Then we go to Central Kenya, where Ruto’s goose is not just cooked, but already served. He might influence Murang’a county, but that is a long shot, knowing how Kikuyus have voted over time. Kiambu is already decided about a non-Ruto presidency. In the last election, Raila garnered 69,190 votes.


As I have argued elsewhere, the politics of the stomach is predominant in Kenya. That is, decisions of voters are based on what the candidate gives, but equally, they might as well fool you. Remember the slogan in 1992, Kula kwa Kanu, Kura kwa opposition (Eat from the government party but vote for the opposition).

That made rigging inevitable in that General Election. In the forthcoming election, that could as well turn into the truth, but there are so many stakes when BBI is considered. There will be less rigging, most likely.

If rigging happens, it will be for a Raila presidency to pay back what ‘Kenyans have stolen from him’.

Raila surely won in 2007. It is clear there was widespread rigging in favour of the incumbent.

As argued in national rallies, no one owes any political debt to anyone. But deep down, the Kikuyu nation knows it owes Raila something. Not Ruto. In the words of a person who does not need to be quoted, "I owe nothing to anyone."Second, there is another one who says "there is no debt to be repaid."

Is it pay-back time? Maybe. Maybe not. But the clouds are filled with political expectations, some of which may be dimmed. Some of them will result in disappointment. But we all know Raila. He never is defeated, unless he is rigged out.

The ground is shifting and very fast. It is expected some lieutenants of Ruto are busy studying and speaking to the ground. It is too early to speculate tom he kind of influence Ruto has and opinion polls won’t help.

Whereas there is clarity on the state of the nation, at least politically, not much is known about the President’s expectations about Ruto. The only thing known is that the President is ambivalent. Let it be known that the book by Robert Greene on 48 Laws of Power is still a guiding pillar in politics. One of those ‘laws’ is the art of seduction.

Do not be fooled. One may keep the other one guessing and later perforate his ambitions. It is expected. One has to outsmart a fox to beat them at his own game. Ruto is ambitious. Raila seems to have cooled down from 2017. He has not said what he wants in his future political life but he outsmarts Ruto every time this topic comes up.

He is waiting for the final kill. It might happen this year. Ruto’s guns are blazing and hot. He might have fired even before the war started. And we know Raila finished Kanu at the height of Moi’s despondency. What might he be planning for Jubilee?

It is only he who can give Kenyans a perspective. 

Tom Kagwe, J.P.

DISCLAIMER: These views are personal and do not reflect those of any political party or any affiliation.