The walkout by Bomet lawmakers from a presidential function in protest against not being called to speak is seen by some in Uhuru Kenyatta’s half of Jubilee hut as part of William Ruto’s 2022 campaign team strategy to force his boss to openly declare his support for him in 2022.
Insiders well versed with the working of the DP 2022 Focus Team alluded that he is increasingly getting jittery of the newfound camaraderie between Uhuru and Raila Odinga.
The Focus Team is convinced that the president is laying the groundwork to support the ODM leader in the 2022 elections at Ruto’s expense in what would be one of the most barefaced political betrayals in the digital era world over.
The DP’s allies suspect that the recent appointment of Raila as the African Union envoy in charge of Infrastructure, which was done behind Ruto’s back, is meant to raise the ODM leader’s profile in the continent and globally. To them, the appointment will help Raila fundraise for his 2022 financial bid which former PM confidants are openly pushing for.
The DP, according to insiders, was kept in the dark on Raila’s appointment as AU envoy and only got learnt about it at Bukhungu Stadium in Kakamega during Mashujaa Day celebrations when Raila broke the news.
The DP camp has further confided that apart from Raila appointment enabling him to marshal enough resources to bankroll his presidential campaign in 2022, it will also help him access various African presidents.
Ruto had of late embarked on meeting African presidents within the Great Lakes Region. He was in Uganda recently where he met Yoweri Museveni, then to Rwanda where he held talks with Paul Kagame and ended up in Gabon.
Earlier, he was in Congo. Raila is now the highest ranking special envoy to the African Union chairman, with offices in five countries.
His current post as High Representative for Infrastructure Development in Africa cuts across political, economic and technical spheres.
It helps him also interact with directors of international firms involved in multitrillion infrastructure development across the continents known to fund preferred presidential candidates globally eyeing lucrative tenders in near future.
Ruto camp has been financially chest-thumping and boasting it has set aside billions to fund his presidential campaigns. To them, Raila’s undoing four times he has gone for the presidency was lack of campaign funds to even pay campaign managers and agents nationally.
Raila’s decision to boycott last year’s presidential repeat as ordered by the Supreme Court was purely due to lack of funds. With the international community having set eyes on Kenya, the possibility of stealing and manipulating votes by IEBC was remote. Fear was within IEBC, Uhuru and Ruto had lost political power by Supreme Court ruling and if the election was manipulated in their favour, the cross would be carried by those who managed.
Raila is expected to represent the AU Commission chairman Moussa Faki Mahamat on development matters in all the 55 member countries.
Ruto allies have been calling on the opposition leader, who they perceive as the man to beat in the next political contest, to retire.
But for proponents of a Raila candidacy, his AU appointment serves as an endorsement that could help brighten his star as a statesman Kenya deserves as a leader.
The former prime minister will play a key advisory role in massive cross-border projects and is expected to lobby various countries to support the projects besides leading negotiations for funding.
The AU Commission where Raila will be working is the secretariat for the African Union, currently chaired by Kagame.
Central to the position is mobilising political support from member states and regional economic blocs on development.
The AU has identified several infrastructure projects, including transport on land, air and water that have to be developed to achieve growth.
It is the realisation that Raila will mingle with Africa’s heads of state and government which has sent shivers in Ruto’s camp, as the ODM leader will use the chance to mobilise huge resources for his campaigns.
The DP camp fears Raila will use his new position to strike lucrative deals with construction multinational companies eyeing tenders for the infrastructure project across the continent.
There are reports that the ODM leader will use Jimi Wanjigi as his proxy in awarding contracts particularly to Chinese companies, a move that will see the ODM leader mobilise billions of shillings for his 2022 presidential bid.
Aware what the appointment means, DP’s strategy is to force Uhuru to declare him his preferred successor in all the Jubilee strongholds to cut off Raila who will be engaged in African matters.
Last week Nandi senator Christopher Langat, nominated senator Alice Milgo, Konoin MP Brighton Yegon, Bomet East’s Beatrice Kones, Chepalungu MP Gideon Koskei, Bomet Central’s Ronald Tonui and woman representative Joyce Korir stormed out during the opening of a tuition block at Bomet University College, soon after Governor Joyce Laboso handed the microphone to Ruto.
They said they were riled by the invitation as Ruto would then invite Uhuru to give his address.
The lawmakers accused the governor of not involving them in plans for the President’s visit and not acknowledging their presence at the college. They claimed she did not invite them to a planning meeting ahead of the function, to draw up a memorandum that would be handed over to the president. To them, Uhuru State House strategists who were privy to Raila AU job took charge of the president’s Bomet visit after discovering what had happened during Uhuru Nandi county tour.
In her response, the governor said she was not to blame for the hitch as she was not in charge president’s programme.
Insiders say the National Intelligence Service sent a brief to the president telling him of Ruto’s scheme and that is when the decision not to give the MPs a chance to address the crowd was reached.
Uhuru tour to Ruto’s stronghold was the first since the election.
Uhuru delayed his arrival in Nandi by six hours with word spreading he had decided to skip the event.
It turned out that the president had a tight schedule. After seeing off Namibia president Hage Geingob, who was the chief guest during the Mashujaa Day celebrations in Kakamega, the president also attended a service at St Andrews PCEA Church and eventually arrived in Kapsabet at 3.30pm, long after 9.00am when he was expected.
But insiders aver that Uhuru deliberately delayed going to Kapsabet to send a signal to Ruto and his allies that he would not succumb to blackmail.
The walkout by Bomet legislators has further widened the split in Jubilee with a section of leaders in Mt Kenya and Nairobi castigating them for storming out of a function attended by the president.
Word has it, after the walkout on Uhuru in Bomet, anti-Ruto faces at State House are now pushing to have Uhuru tour Luo Nyanza with Raila to counter the DP strategists. Uhuru has on several occasions postponed his Nyanza tour on the ground he had not visited Rift Valley Kalenjin land to thank them for standing with him during the last presidential polls. The political ghost haunting him has gone with Nandi and Bomet visit.
MPs Ngunjiri Wambugu (Nyeri Town), Rigathi Gachagua (Mathira), Maoka Maore (Imenti North) and Nairobi senator Johnston Sakaja accused the lawmakers of blackmailing Uhuru by demanding that he talks politics “yet he has not reneged on the agreement to support Ruto in 2022”.
Insiders say Ruto camp has also been financing groups to pile pressure on the president to openly declare support for him.
On such group is the Rift Valley Council of Elders which mid this year challenged Uhuru to state whether he still supports Ruto’s 2022 presidential bid.
There are also reports that the elders had earlier held a meeting with the DP where they were each given Sh50,000 facilitation.
“We challenge Uhuru to come out clear and say whether he still supports Ruto’s 2022 presidential bid. Does he still support him or has he changed his mind?” asked Karanja Kabage.
They repeated claims by Senate majority leader Kipchumba Murkomen that a powerful cartel surrounding Uhuru are out to block Ruto presidency.
State House Comptroller Kinuthia Mbugua, former presidential adviser Nancy Gitau and Interior principal secretary Karanja Kibicho and Jubilee chairman David Murathe are said to be powerful figures bankrolling anti-Ruto forces. The group is said to have been instrumental in the removal of proRuto faces at State House on grounds they were spying for the DP and informing him of the president’s daily diary and who to be met.
Manoah Esipisu was the last casualty of DP spies at State House when he was dropped as president’s spokesman and appointed an envoy to Britain.
Concern has also been raised about Raila’s unlimited access to State House and direct phone calls to Uhuru. Sources say Raila even of late visits Uhuru’s private residence with Wanjigi where hard drinks flow freely to wee hours of the morning. Raila has brokered a deal where Jimmy and his father pending criminal charges are to be let off the hook by the state. Jimmy has no time for Ruto whom he accuses as having teamed up with Chinese investors immediately Jubilee won the first term in power to steal lucrative infrastructure projects from firms allied to him.
The decision by the government courtesy of Uhuru to return to Raila his full security detail with chase cars and guarded homes across the country is being interpreted as part of succession game plan. Raila has houses in Karen, Runda all in Nairobi, Nyali and Kwale in Coast, Riat overseeing Kisumu Airport, two in Milimani area Kisumu one located along Nuru Road and another next to county commissioner of Kisumu. His Bondo residence is also guarded but thieves recently struck and stole.
That Raila is laying grounds for 2022 presidency with Uhuru well briefed is the fact, all his private offices in Nairobi are fully in operations and guarded by state security. Nairobi offices still active are Capital Hill, Jaromogi Odinga Foundation, Okoa Kenya in Lavington, a private office in Karen Hardy Area and one on Amboseli Road Lavington.
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