Why Ruto is no longer in Uhuru succession plan

When President Uhuru Kenyatta convened a Jubilee Party, National Assembly Parliamentary Group meeting at State House last week, he was reportedly very clear in his mind.

The Head of State had set his sights on the changes in Jubilee leadership positions in Parliament and also sought to make clear his position on the 2022 succession politics.

Coming almost three years after the last PG, held in 2017, President Kenyatta could have seized the opportunity to make it clear to Deputy President William Ruto that he had already made a decision about his 2022 succession game plan, and that he (Ruto) was no longer part of it.

Five politicians who attended the meeting separately revealed to the Nation details of what transpired during the gathering that is said to have lasted barely half an hour.

Apparently, President Kenyatta likened the succession politics to a relay race, in a message that left no doubt it was directed at his deputy and his Tangatanga brigade, and said his initial plan had been to hand the baton to Dr Ruto after completing his term in 2022.

President Kenyatta reportedly said that they had started the race together, and he was ready to have them complete it together.

However, he reportedly said, instead of his teammate waiting for the baton to be handed to him, he left his position and ran backwards to “forcefully get it”.

There is no way one could win in such a race because he would be exhausted, said the President in an apparent reference to Dr Ruto’s early campaigns for 2022.

The enraged Head of State also told off the Ruto brigade for “making my government look like a seven-headed snake.”

The President reportedly said that it was a depiction of disrespect and high degree of insubordination, and the following day came the Executive Order No. 1 of 2020 which commentators say downgraded his office and tucked it under the Executive Office of the President.

Nandi Hills MP Alfred Keter says that the DP should have himself to blame for his predicament “as he has been doing everything depicting lack of interest in ascending to power.”

He went on: “As long as he is still hosting loose cannons like the Kipchumba Murkomens, Aden Duales, the Oscar  Sudis and the Kimani Ngunjiris, then he is on a self-destruct mode.”

“If a student of political science wants to do a thesis on how not to become a president, they should just have a case study of William Ruto,” said the MP.

Belgut MP Nelson Koech said what transpired at State House was simply a 25-minute dress down with no room for a rebuttal.

“It is fine with us anyway because that was and remains his compound and so he has the latitude to speak and act as he desires. What we do not want is for the meeting to be called a PG,” Mr Koech said.

“I hope he will convene one in the near future with clear agenda set out in advance and room for members to speak out their minds.”

“Most of the legislators are senior politically, professionally and even age wise and for them to be reduced to merely signing attendance sheets in meetings is a great disservice,” he added.

Mr Koech also sensationally claimed that the President and ODM leader Raila Odinga’s push for a referendum before 2022 is a plot to block DP Ruto.

“The referendum is simply a plot to create factions that will go to 2022 which is unfortunate because a well-meaning referendum builds consensus first,” he said.

“If they expect a them versus us contest then they better think of something else. We shall accede to every proposal they put forth as long as it does not say that Raila will be the sole candidate on the 2022 ballot paper,” added the legislator.

He said there is no guarantee that the new positions created will benefit the drivers of the initiative.

“A living example is Raila Odinga who found himself in the political dustbins even after pushing through the 2010 Constitution,” he added.

But Cherangany MP Joshua Kuttuny told DP Ruto’s troops to find better ways to save him from his political challenges.

“Leaders come and go, so we are not going to come up with a Constitution to address the issue of one individual,” he said.

“There is no way a referendum will stop Ruto because it doesn’t have anybody’s name. We are talking of a Bill that is going to enhance cohesion, respect to the rule of law and stop people from engaging in corruption. So where is Ruto coming in in this referendum and succession politics?” Mr Kuttuny posed.

Nyeri Town MP Wambugu Ngunjiri said President Kenyatta and Mr Odinga were focused on permanent solutions to the problems that ail Kenya; especially the political instability around elections.

“The call for a referendum is to achieve this end. Especially to ensure that elections stop being a do-or-die, with violence as an option.”

In 2018, President Kenyatta made the clearest indication that he would be at the centre of succession politics towards the end of his final term and that his candidate would surprise Kenyans.

This was in contrast to his sentiments in the run-up to 2013 and 2017 general election when he told Jubilee supporters that he would do his 10 years and hand the baton to Dr Ruto.

“They think because Uhuru is going home in 2022, he will not have a word on what will happen. I am telling them when the right time comes, I will have something to say,” the President told a rally in Nyeri town in 2018.

He said some people thought he had been quiet because he could not discuss politics. “I am still a politician. They will be shocked when that time comes, but for now I want to concentrate on delivering my pledges to Kenyans.”

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