BIG FAMILIES THREATENED

Dynasties plotting to block Ruto, fear he won't play ball, say DP allies

Government of national unity between President Kenyatta and Raila Odinga could block Ruto's drive for State House

In Summary
  • The DP's allies believe there is a huge plot by the country's powerful and elite families to scuttle his ascent to the presidency. They fear he won't protect their economic interests.
  • President Kenyatta and Raila are reportedly working on a unity government likely to be unveiled after the coronavirus crisis passes. 
DP William Ruto when he hosted President Uhuru Kenyatta and Opposition leader Raila Odinga at his Karen residence in Nairobi.
TRIO DP William Ruto when he hosted President Uhuru Kenyatta and Opposition leader Raila Odinga at his Karen residence in Nairobi.
Image: FILE

Deputy President William Ruto's allies believe the unity government push is a scheme by dynasties to gang up and derail his 2022 State House bid.

A coalition between President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga has been mooted as a way to further unite the country and revive the economy struck by the coronavirus.

The DP's close political confidants told the Star there is a huge plot by the country's powerful and elite families to thwart his ambitions.

 

Ruto's presidency, his allies claim, poses a danger to the dynasties who believe the DP will not play ball to protect their interests and immense wealth acquired over many years.

The DP's allies argue that if a unity government is actualised and Raila given a formal role in government, that would herald a formidable coalition against Ruto's bid.

The government of national unity is being used as a means to actualising the game plan that has been in the works for a while now,
Kimilili MP Didmus Barasa

Uhuru is the son of Kenya's founding president Jomo Kenyatta while Raila is the scion to the country's first vice president and multi-party democracy champion Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, Raila's father.

President Kenyatta and Raila are reportedly working on a unity government likely to be unveiled after the coronavirus crisis passes. Ruto allies say that would anchor the Uhuru-Raila 2022 coalition.

The architecture of the deal would vanquish Ruto's ambition — once endorsed by Uhuru — to succeed President Kenyatta.

It would also consolidate the stranglehold of dynasties on national politics.

“The government of national unity is being used as a means to actualising the game plan that has been in the works for a while now,” Kimilili MP Didmus Barasa said.

 
 

Barasa, a Ruto confidant, warned that Kenyans were tired of dynasties and will deal them a death blow at the ballot by electing the William Ruto as President.

Ruto and his allies cast the contest as one between a hardworking, successful 'upstart' and the dynasties remote from the people. 

Barasa said the president “is free” to go into any arrangement with the ODM leader “if this will end the rumours, conmanship and underhand dealings that undermine the Deputy President". 

The Constitution gives the President the powers to reorganise government, including creating a unity government. However, political analysts warn such a move could roll back the country's democratic gains.

“Real power is sought democratically through the ballot. Kenya's democracy has grown in the two decades and unless there are compelling reasons and a national crisis, a unity government is not tenable,”  political analysts Felix Odhiambo said.

According to Odhiambo, it would be unfortunate if such a unity government fosters exclusion and builds forces against certain political players.

The Deputy President himself has warned a Uhuru-Raila alliance in the offing as cracks widen between him and his boss.

Branding such a partnership an” ethnic coalition”, Ruto has warned Jubilee members to be vigilant and wary as talk of pre-2022 coalitions rages on.

“The Jubilee fraternity should ignore propaganda peddled by desperados seeking ragtag ethnic coalitions,” Ruto tweeted, adding, "Our progressive Constitution vests power in party organs, not personalities."

The ruling Jubilee Party, Ruto continued on Twitter last Friday, has no room for “selfish evil experiments meant to benefit brokers and their ilk”.

The DP in recent days has been on a collision course with senior Jubilee officials, including secretary general Raphael Tuju and vice chairman David Murathe. He accused them of trying to wrest the party from him.

A move by Uhuru's allies to change the membership of Jubilee's National Management Committee threw a spanner in the works. Ruto protested the move to the Registrar of Political Parties.

While the Jubilee wars have been swirling for some time, it is now the claims by Ruto's allies that Uhuru and Raila are plotting a dynasty alliance against him that could break the camel's back.

“Kenyans will speak loudly against attempts to balkanise the country along with either tribal or family lines,” fired Jubilee deputy secretary general Caleb Kositany.

Saying the attempted change of officials of the party's key organ was part of the plot to drive the expected alliance agenda, Kositany said, “Only an army can wrest Jubilee from Ruto."

The DP's allies now say seizing control of the Jubilee Party could scuttle Uhuru's allies' bid to forge a partnership with Raila ahead of the 2022 polls using Jubilee.

“There are several parties in Kenya, but there is no way someone is going to take Jubilee unless they are coming with an army," Kositany said.

The fresh claims by Ruto's allies could further muddy the political waters in Jubilee already riven by internal wars and widening cracks at the top of the executive.

But National Assembly Majority leader Aden Duale has warned that unlike in 2008 when the grand coalition government was established under the National Accord, the current Constitution does not provide for a unity government

“The Constitution does not allow the formation of a Government of National Unity. The only time we had a GNU was when we had the National Accord in 2008. These guys must see the reality,” Duale said.

The key Jubilee leader warned of a “secret card” between President Kenyatta and DP Ruto that could see Raila face the "harshest betrayal of his life".

“If you think you have fixed William Ruto, you will be shocked. ‘Baba’ (Raila) will be shocked. There is that secret card between Uhuru and Ruto,” Duale said in a warning to Raila.

Political analyst Herman Manyora said a reorganisation of government appeared inevitable, “partly because of the coronavirus pandemic, but mostly arising out of the irreconcilable differences between President Kenyatta and his deputy”.

“Because of the pandemic, the country needs to pull together, and the absence of the Ruto team means the President has to turn to Raila’s side for support. The form the cooperation takes and the timing will be determined by the developments on the health front and the attendant social and economic challenges," Manyora said.

Ruto's allies believe that the proposed unity government would be that special purpose vehicle to seal the DP's fate.

Nyali MP Mohamed Ali, a key Ruto ally, warned that the country was tired and ready for change, adding, "No amount of intimidation” would stop Ruto's campaign.

“Whether they create a government of national unity or any other coalition, the clouds over Ruto's presidency are gathering,” the vocal independent MP said.

The government of national unity would hand Raila a formal role in Jubilee, while a couple of his allies would also be appointed to the government in what could completely alter the terrain.

Ruto's 'poor background' is a threat to powerful families, his allies say. A Ruto presidency would deal a staggering blow to the families that control the country's political and economic power and all manner of schemes must be exploited to block him, they say.

Ruto himself on Wednesday appeared to confirm his fears about the dynasties when he posted  Bible verses aimed at his opponents, even as his absence in executive remains conspicuous.

“Those who have no godfathers let's proudly speak in tongues to our God the Father,” the DP tweeted.

He went on, “With this pandemic let's pray for God's healing, work together to feed the hungry and plan to repair our hustles.”

Ruto, who has branded himself as the 'hustler' has previously accused power brokers and elite players of scheming against him because they feel threatened by his rise.

A unity government would whittle down Ruto's influence and strengthen the bond between the President and Raila.

Nandi Senator Samson Cherargei a key Ruto ally, told the Star that they were aware of all manner of schemes.

He said the country's problems stem from the politics "of deception and conmanship" that he said were ushered in by the 'handshake'.

The senator termed Raila a desperate politician seeking power by any means.

“I didn’t know Raila is so desperate that he is now pushing to have a GNU,” he said.

The President's allies, including Murathe, Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru, MPs Wambugu Ngunjiri (Nyeri Town) and Joshua Kutuny (Cherangany), have said the President was at liberty to reorganise his government at any given time and nothing would bar him from forming a unity government.

“Once the President entered into the Handshake deal with Odinga, it was just a matter of time before this was actualised for the benefit of the nation,” Waiguru said.

Edited by Eliud Kibii