KWENDO OPANGA: Kenyatta takes charge of his succession

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President Uhuru Kenyatta- Photo/Courtesy

Nairobi

By Kwendo Opanga

Enter 2022. Kenyatta has been head of state since 2013 when he took over from Kibaki. He has matured into a big beast and, unlike Kibaki, has an elaborate and drawn out plot for his succession.

One, where Moi abruptly named a political greenhorn his heir, Kenyatta in 2018 settled on an old pair of hands, a veteran of the opposition trenches and a former minister and premier, 77-year-old Raila Odinga.

The President has since cumulatively whitewashed Odinga, the enemy he used to call old, mad and an idolator, into a wisdom-dispensing, bosom pal and president-in-waiting.

President Uhuru Kenyatta

Two, Moi was preoccupied solely with Kenyatta occupying the top job. Kenyatta by driving Odinga to take his Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) into government, albeit without an official merger, killed the parliamentary opposition. In came an elective dictatorship and out went keeping the government accountable.

That way the President set the stage for the creation of a mega political tent -Azimio La Umoja, with he and Odinga, four times a failed presidential candidate, at the helm.

Ruto has been demonised as the thief-in-chief of public resources or, as Odinga put it, the chief priest in the temple of corruption. Kenyatta and Odinga and their legion allies appear happy to fry Ruto politically than try him legally.

Three, in choosing Kenyatta, Moi rationalised that neither his long-serving V-P George Saitoti nor his many able party functionaries and government loyalists, qualified to lead Kenya.

Kenyatta set Odinga and ODM and his own Jubilee Party to wage a long campaign of attrition against Deputy President Ruto. Unlike Moi, Kenyatta cannot sack the Deputy President, but sustained attrition hurts his reputation, depletes his resources, cuts his influence and costs him political capital.

Four, Moi believing in his own powers of appeal, and clearly overestimating them, personalised and fronted the Project-Uhuru-for-President campaign.

Kenyatta unleashed Odinga and a supporting cast on a long, public-funded and countrywide campaign for change of the constitution. This became known as the Building Bridges Initiative, aka BBI.

DP William Ruto, President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga

Moi did not want to change the constitution. After all he had so mutilated the document to increase and buttress the powers of the presidency, he loved his creation.

Kenyatta and Odinga came in singing the tune of changing the constitution to expand the Executive and to give high profile jobs to poll losers. This would neuter the Deputy President’s office.

Five, Moi late in 2002 made Mr Musalia Mudavadi Vice-President and Mr Cyrus Jirongo a Cabinet Minister to bolster Kenyatta’s stature and bid in Western Province, which was a stomping ground for opposition politicians.

Kenyatta and Jubilee, Odinga and ODM, launched public supposedly anti-graftcrusades that viciously took down Ruto. They soon became a rolling populist bandwagon.

Ruto has been demonised as the thief-in-chief of public resources or, as Odinga put it, the chief priest in the temple of corruption. Kenyatta and Odinga and their legion allies appear happy to fry Ruto politically than try him legally.

The deep state backs "credible" candidates. Kimemia appears to know deep state has a dog in the 2022 succession fight

Six, Odinga, in particular, and Kenyatta later on, have vilified churches and clergy as recipients of largesse from Ruto; launders of ill-gotten wealth; partakers in mammon and, therefore, wolves in sheep’s clothing.

Seven, while opposition politicians have repeatedly complained of poll rigging, never before had establishment figures publicly declared there exists a deep state that influences presidential polls.

Uhuru,Raila and Ruto

Nyandarua Governor Francis Kimemia, who was the powerful Head of Public Service and Permanent Secretary for Internal Security in the Kibaki regime,offered insight into the faceless state within a state.

In a TV interview, he said a presidential candidate favoured by the deep state wins.

If the deep state is against you, he said, “your goose is cooked”. And, he added, the deep state backs “credible” candidates. Kimemia appears to know deep state has a dog in the 2022 succession fight.

Last, thanks to Kenyatta’s long-winded succession scheme, Odinga for the first time in his long political career is ridiculed as his project and puppet.

Ruto, driven into opposition, swapping places with Odinga and branded mwizi (thief) and most publicly humiliated second in command.

Ends

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