This Man David Murathe: A Straight Shooter Who Takes No Prisoners

He is said to be President Uhuru Kenyatta’s close confidant and go-to guy when the Commander-in-Chief needs back-room advice on all matters politics.

Despite commanding great influence among the country’s ruling elite, David Murathe has for the most part steered clear of the political limelight instead opting to pull the strings from the shadows akin to legendary American puppeteer Jim Henson.

The Mount Kenya region bigwig has nonetheless found himself knee-deep in the earnest business of succession politics particularly during President Kenyatta’s second term in office, where he has constantly castigated Deputy President William Ruto and drawn in the country’s voting class to ODM leader Raila Odinga’s presidential bandwagon in a similar fashion to the fabled Pied Piper of Hamelin.

To date, the 64-year-old who serves as Jubilee’s national vice-chairman, holds the distinction of being the first politician to allude to President Kenyatta and DP Ruto’s falling out following the March 2018 handshake between the Head-of-State and Odinga, flaunting his insider knowledge of intricate political plays in the process.

Murathe’s political journey however began in the late 80s when he pursued a political science degree at the University of Nairobi. His radical demeanor and public criticism of then president, the late Daniel Arap Moi, saw him and other students detained by law enforcement agencies following the botched 1982 coup.

Murathe alongside his fellow students, were implicated as being part of the “Mwakenya”, movement, an anti-Moi group that had allegedly etched itself in a number of higher education institutions at the time.

After being released from detention, Murathe wisely stayed under the radar and graduated from the institution before resurfacing a few years later to throw his hat in the political arena when he decided to contest for Gatanga’s MP seat at the 1997 General Elections.

Murathe emerged victorious at the polls, successfully fending of his main rival S.K. Macharia. But a year into his reign, rumours started circulating that he had resigned from his position after allegedly ‘selling’ his docket to Macharia for Ksh. 10 million.

The National Assembly speaker Francis ole Kaparo fuelled the controversy after allegedly claiming that he had received a letter conveying Murathe’s resignation at the time.

Murathe denounced the assertions labelling them as forgery and attempted to retain his seat at the 2002 polls, under a KANU party ticket, after crossing paths with Uhuru and supporting his then presidential bid.

Murathe lost to Peter Kenneth while Uhuru was floored by Mwai Kibaki, leaving the Jubilee vice-chairman’s political status in limbo. By siding with Uhuru at a time when all Mt. Kenya leaders backed Kibaki and his NARC outfit, Murathe however made a powerful life-long friend.

He would later resurface as a significant cog in Uhuru’s backroom staff when the Head-of-State was appointed Finance Minister and later Deputy Prime Minister during Kibaki’s stint as Head-of-State. The pair frequented various entertainment joints together further solidifying their friendship in the process.

In 2013, Murathe played a key role in bringing President Kenyatta and DP Ruto together under the Jubilee umbrella in a bid to challenge Odinga for the presidency. Despite being skeptical on the idea of joining Ruto, Uhuru finally gave in and struck a coalition deal with Ruto after serious convincing from Murathe.

It came as a surprise to many when Murathe, a few years down the line, politically bombarded DP Ruto while declaring that President Kenyatta would never work with him. No one had dared to attack Ruto openly at the time but Murathe’s move clearly highlighted his unwavering resolve to never backdown which in the past has landed him in trouble.

At the time, it was not clear if Murathe was speaking on behalf of the Head-of-State or on his own accord but recent developments have highlighted that Murathe was speaking on both capacities.

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