A close ally of Deputy President William Ruto has sensationally claimed there is a plot to extend President Uhuru Kenyatta’s reign beyond 2022.
In the latest storm that threatens to further widen the rift in Jubilee, Kandara MP Alice Wahome said the alleged scheme would be achieved through the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI).
She claimed it would expand the Executive and make Uhuru the prime minister and ODM leader Raila Odinga the president. The plot, she said, is meant to lock out Dr Ruto from power in 2022.
In the most stinging attack yet against the president from a member of Jubilee Party’s Tangatanga wing, which is allied to Ruto, the MP termed Uhuru a threat to Kenya’s democracy, freedom of speech, freedom of expression and political growth.
SEE ALSO :Raila, Ruto allies trade barbs over ‘handshake’ team
Ms Wahome faulted the head of State for the current state of the country, saying he had inherited a rich democracy from his predecessor Mwai Kibaki.
She also termed Mr Odinga “his (Uhuru’s) new political mercenary for hire, and the BBI report is the special-purpose vehicle heading to the route that has been suggested by David Murathe (former Jubilee vice chair), Francis Atwoli (Cotu secretary general) and Beth Mugo (nominated senator),’’ she claimed.
The three are among Uhuru’s allies who have in recent days hinted that he should take up the prime minister position in a new dispensation under proposals in the BBI report – a product of the political handshake between the president and Raila.
The Kandara MP made the remarks while addressing a press conference at a Malindi hotel yesterday.
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In November last year, while at a meeting of Mt Kenya leaders at Sagana Lodge, the president said he would not mind such a position, but advised Kenyans to concentrate on the more pressing issues facing the country.
“I do not know the contents of the BBI report, yet I hear people claiming Uhuru wants to become prime minister. I wouldn’t mind being in leadership in such a post, though let us deal with the current situation first,” he said then.
Wahome’s statement is likely to rekindle the fires that have engulfed the Jubilee Party as two camps – Tangatanga and Kieleweke, which is aligned to Uhuru – battle over his succession.
It is the second time in a week that the MP is crossing the president’s path in what appears to be a widening of rifts in the party.
At the burial of second liberation hero Charles Rubia on Monday, the MP suggested that the president was presiding over a police state, with opponents being intimidated and harassed.
SEE ALSO :Ruto allies say BBI bad for Mt Kenya
Her comments invited a direct response from Uhuru who told the DP’s allies to use the freedom of expression responsibly.
Wahome called for the abolition of the BBI and suggested that any changes to the 2010 Constitution categorically bar Uhuru from running for Executive office again.
“We cannot go the 1992 route when we changed section 2A but failed to also determine whether President (Daniel arap) Moi should run or not and we left it open,’’ she said, referring to an amendment of the Constitution that made Kenya a multi-party State.
The legislator wondered why the president has not responded to statements from his allies that he is still young and should run for political office.
SEE ALSO :Jumwa faces isolation as political rift widens
She claimed that the fact that Mr Murathe and other leaders opposed to Ruto have not been rebuked by the president for suggesting that he will remain in power proves there was a conspiracy to extend his reign.
“I am sure Kenyans must be thinking that Mr Murathe is dreaming. No, I don’t think so. I don’t think Atwoli is talking from nowhere. I also do not think Beth Mugo, who is a close relative of Uhuru Kenyatta, is speaking from nowhere either,’’ Wahome said.
The MP said the president and Raila want to use the handshake and BBI to bring changes that would allow him to contest for the prime minister’s position while the ODM leader goes for the presidency, hence edging out Ruto.
As per the Constitution, she said, the president was supposed to retire after serving 10 years as head of State.
The MP added that the suggestions that Uhuru was going nowhere because of his age was an abuse and insult to the intelligence of Kenyans.
“Even though the persons saying this may be expressing their opinions, I think His Excellency Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta, who we respect a lot, should actually respond to some of those issues because were they coming from just anywhere, then maybe Kenyans would not give them much attention,’’ she said.
“The agenda for 2020 seems to have been set by Murathe and Beth Mugo. Why did the president not take off with an agenda for the economic spurring of the country? Why can’t we even put aside the BBI?’’
In a telephone interview, she later added that: “The fact that this is coming from persons who are closely associated with Uhuru and he has not denied it shows that it probably has his tacit approval.”
The MP said she was happy Anglican Church of Kenya Archbishop Jackson ole Sapit had cautioned the country’s leadership about changing the BBI report for personal interests.
While delivering his New Year’s sermon at All Saints Cathedral in Nairobi, Sapit asked Uhuru and Raila to ensure they use the BBI report to unite Kenyans.
He said the BBI was noble and should not be allowed to pollute 2022 politics.
The prelate also asked politicians to cut down on empty rhetoric and concentrate on improving the country’s ailing economy.
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Deputy President William RutoPresident Uhuru KenyattaBuilding Bridges Initiative
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