ANOTHER BETRAYAL?

Uhuru’s heart is with Raila but haters are hard at work

Some in Uhuru's circle either do not wish to see BBI implemented or, if it is, definitely not for Raila's benefiit.

In Summary

• Unless those pushing Uhuru to shove Raila off a political cliff stop their shenanigans and let the BBI process play out for the benefit of all, their efforts may see the link up of Raila and Ruto forces, for which they are no match.

• Yes, some of these may be the same forces that wish to have Uhuru and Raila retire come 2022, but theirs is a quest for selfish reasons that do not and will not benefit the country.

President Uhuru Kenyatta shares a word with ODM leader Raila Odinga during the launch of the BBI Report on November 27, 2019.
President Uhuru Kenyatta shares a word with ODM leader Raila Odinga during the launch of the BBI Report on November 27, 2019.
Image: COURTESY

When President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga shook hands on March 9, 2018, few believed that handshake would last.

This is because much as the handshake itself was a shocker, it is also true Kenyans have long come to accept that deals between politicians do not last.

Retired President Mwai Kibaki shred into pieces his MoU with Raila long before the ink dried on the piece of paper they signed in the lead up to the 2002 General Election.

 

A compelling case can be made that Kibaki and those allied to him in the Narc coalition had no intention of honouring the MoU.

The only thing there was unanimous agreement on in Narc was that the Uhuru project had to be defeated and mercilessly so, which happened.

Beyond that, the usual politics of self-interest and self-preservation crept in to make sure Narc did not last and pitted the two giants in the coalition against each other.

They were Kibaki, with his National Alliance Party of Kenya  and Raila, with his Liberal Democratic Party.

Kibaki, of course, became a bigger giant when he was swept into office by the Narc coalition and its supporters across the country, gleeful in rejecting Moi’s handpicked successor.

Question is, why did Kibaki shred his MoU with Raila?

The answer is simple: Kibaki and his henchmen did not want Raila as prime minister, which was at the core of the MoU.

To be sure, the MoU did not specify that Raila was the one to be appointed prime minister, rather, the MoU called for creation of the position.

However, it was a foregone conclusion had the position been created, Raila would have been the natural choice to take it up, having endorsed Kibaki.

 

And therein lay the problem because there were those from Central in general, and in Kibaki’s inner circle in particular, who did not want Raila anywhere near State House as president, ditto as prime minister.

It took the country nearly going up in flames for these individuals to accept—not that they had a choice — Raila’s premiership years later following 2015 post-election violence. This was possible due to pressure from within and outside the country.

Prior to Uhuru and Raila shaking hands, the country was so badly divided and half so angry it was simply a fuse waiting to be lit and the whole country would have gone up in flames this time.

Thank God the handshake diffused tensions and the country has been at peace since, even as we face other challenges, especially economically amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.

On the other hand, much as snobbish self-interest and self-preservation crept in after Kibaki was sworn as president to deny Raila what was agreed to in the MoU, the same forces have started to creep in and deny Raila what he and Uhuru agreed to in the handshake.

To be sure, Uhuru’s heart is with Raila in seeing the successful implementation of BBI.

However, there are those in his circle who either do not wish to see BBI implemented or, if it is, not for the benefit of Raila at all.

This personification of BBI to Raila reeks of nothing but pure tribalism and hate, which must be rejected by all men and women of good will.

So far, Uhuru is doing a good job in fending off these forces but where we are headed is murkier than ever before, leaving all sides scampering for survival repositioning.

Unless those pushing Uhuru to shove Raila off a political cliff stop their shenanigans and let the BBI process play out for the benefit of all, their efforts may see the joining of forces between Raila and Ruto, for which they are no match.

Yes, some of these may be the same forces that wish to have Uhuru and Raila retire come 2022, but theirs is a quest for selfish reasons that do not and will not benefit the country.

Samuel Omwenga is a legal analyst and political commentator