Kenya is witnessing unprecedented times as President Uhuru Kenyatta openly slides into a naked war of words with his own Deputy, William Ruto. President Uhuru wants the country’s constitution amended but his deputy disagrees saying it is a waste of time and money and that Kenyans don’t need it because there is nothing to benefit.
Two camps have since emerged; Uhuru is traversing the country to popularise the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) while Ruto is combing through the country rallying his supporters to reject this constution amendment initiative. Recently, Ruto travelled to Uhuru’s stronghold Mt. Kenya region to decampaign the BBI initiative.
President Uhuru Kenyatta has accused Ruto of trying to get into his Mt Kenya backyard “through the back door instead of using the front door if he is genuine on the plight of the local people”.
Uhuru further said he had not entered into a political pact with anyone ahead of 2022, adding it was the voters who have the ultimate decision on who would be president.
In what appears a blow to Ruto over his reliance on “10 years for Uhuru and 10 years for Ruto” clarion call, the president said after the BBI process, the region will retreat to discuss where its interest will lie in the 2022 polls.
President Kenyatta accused the DP of flip-flopping on BBI, despite being involved from the early stages of its formulation.
Although he did not directly mention Ruto in his address, the president left no doubt who he was addressing.
Uhuru also had a warning to Mt Kenya ‘hustlers disciples’ hobnobbing around Ruto, saying: “You are treading dangerous grounds.”
“We all saw what happened to Charles Njonjo and GG Kariuki. They used to take rides in presidential limousines and even smoke there. And bragging they were in power. We all know how it ended. In two years their careers faced eternal ruin. People were put before commissions of inquiry. They suffered because they chose to be led by personal interests rather than communal interests,” the President further said.
He added that the only legacy that crop of Kenyatta succession players planted was dissatisfaction, dissent and finally revolt that culminated in “the likes of Kiraitu (Meru governor) picking placards to fight for multiparty democracy”.
While speaking to social, religious and political leaders at the Mt Kenya Leaders Conference at Sagana State Lodge, Uhuru accused Ruto of shifting goalposts on the reform moment, despite several backward actions to appease him.
“This document is a result of several rounds of public consultations and meetings like the two in Bomas where he (Ruto) even turned up and sat next to me,” Uhuru said.
“At some point, I even wanted to tell the participants that he had appointed representatives to the BBI steering committee. You all saw how he pleaded that I tone down on the subject,” said the president.
Using uncharacteristically strong language, he urged Mt Kenya allies of the DP to stop acting out of personal greed, saying they were being used to frustrate regional unity.
He said those propagating the hustler versus dynasty narrative have failed to recognise his long-term generosity to persons in need such as those affected by the 2007/08 and 2017 post-election troubles.
“Those young leaders who have even insulted my mother who is old enough to be their grandmother also fail to tell you that I was even taken to the International Criminal Court (ICC) pursuing justice for our poorest and not my daughter Ngina,” said Uhuru.
“I am very sad that some of those attacking me and branding me a dynasty are leaders who have benefited from my own political goodwill. I will leave their fate to the people in their own constituencies.”
The president said branding him a dynasty because he was Jomo Kenyatta’s son was the height of unfairness because he did not choose to be born into the family and had not elected himself to office.
“We should also not fail to appreciate that each and every leader born here today has sired or will sire children who can be judged by the same standards tomorrow,” he said.
The president repeated that he had not entered any political pact with any individual that he would offer them support in future. “My only promises were to the voters on what I would deliver if they elected me to office and I’m on course to achieving the same,” he said.
He said his priority for now remained achieving the BBI reforms to ensure he left a just system, especially in distribution of resources to all regions.
He pledged tough negotiations for those eyeing the Mt Kenya vote, adding that it will be like a pack of hunters sharing the spoils after a successful kill.
“I will be at the head of the table to ensure there are no monkey games. We must ensure that we get what is our due entitlement,” said Uhuru.
He had two analogies that left the crowd reeling in laughter.
“A well intended visitor is one who uses the front gate to your home and sits with the family patriarch to discuss a situation. Beware of the other one knocking your bedroom and lounge window calling out your wife for a negotiation at night,” he told the delegates from 10 counties, including nine governors.
Other attendees included Nairobi Deputy Governor Anne Kananu and leaders from Gikuyu, Embu, Meru and ‘diaspora counties’ such as Kajiado, Isiolo, Lamu and Uasin Gishu.
The second analogy was in relation to the BBI and 2022 campaign promises to Mt Kenya region.
“Put your faith in good systems and not promises from individuals,” Uhuru said.
He likened the promises being given by Ruto’s camp to the dilemma facing a father of a young, beautiful girl for whom a delegation from a humble family are asking for her hand in marriage.
“You are about to accept the little they have brought and future payments when a showy man driving a big shiny car arrives with nothing asking for the daughter’s hand in marriage too. If you agree, they will bring every member of the larger family a Toyota Probox,” he said as he brought the house down with laughter.
He then added that his advice to the family patriarch is to accept the humble family’s offer.
“Sooner rather than later, you will realise the shiny car was on loan and has been auctioned and the Probox cars will never happen,” he said to more laughter.
According to some of the speakers yesterday such as National Assembly Deputy Majority Whip Maoka Maore and Nakuru Governor Lee Kinyanjui, who was the MC, Uhuru will be the political gateway into Mt Kenya.
Maore later said at an interview that there will be no further need to bring back on board those who had rebelled against the president. “It is a purge we shall execute again,” he said.
Meru Deputy Governor Titus Ntuchiu said pro-Uhuru leaders will move harder on the ground to remove doubts on the BBI.
Former Murang’a Senator Kembi Gitura said the perception of rebellion against BBI in Mt Kenya was a fallacy.
“We shall go out and work hard for the BBI from Monday, with the president having now fully disabused the notion that it had anything to do with Raila’s 2022 campaigns,” said Maragua MP Mary Wamaua.
Kinyanjui warned the region to be wary of the hustler/dynasty narrative, saying it had real prospects of turning people against each other.
adapted from kenya standard