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The 3 devils Uhuru must confront in determining future with Ruto

Sunday June 30 2019

President Uhuru Kenyatta

President Uhuru Kenyatta chats with Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko as Cabinet Secretary Raphael Tuju (left) and DP William Ruto look on at JKIA before he left for the AU Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on February 9, 2019. PHOTO | FILE | DPPS 

KWENDO OPANGA
By KWENDO OPANGA
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Entering his final term in November 2017, President Kenyatta is determined to anchor his last government, and legacy-making stint, on uniting Kenyans.

They were deeply divided by two bitterly fought presidential polls, whose results were as fiercely disputed as they were furiously defended. This in a first ever extended General Election.

It was the right decision. In the lead-up to the election, the President had in 2016 presided over the dissolution of 13 political parties and their merger with his Jubilee Alliance to form Jubilee Party.

Why? To unite Kenyans, assured the President and Deputy President William Ruto. Then, in March 2018, the President and his hitherto implacable foe Raila Odinga, announced a detente whose objective was, again, to unite Kenyans.

CRISES

Nineteen months since the President was sworn in, 15 after the rapprochement and just under three years since Jubilee was born, what is the outlook?

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Unity, is still a work in progress, and not assured. A lot depends on what President Kenyatta is going to do now because it appears crises are creeping up on him.

One, the Cabinet is divided, concerned and feels cornered. The DP reported to the Directorate of Criminal Investigation that four, among them — from the President's backyard — were plotting to assassinate him.

It was a bombshell. It was unprecedented, reckless and dangerous. It shook a Cabinet and country that were still reeling from an inflammatory phone conversation in which a minister plots to tie the DP to mass murder.

CONFIDENCE

And, a fortnight earlier, Kenyans could have been forgiven for thinking there was a crisis of confidence at the top on seeing and hearing their President seething.

He lost his temper at a public faith-based meeting; switched to his mother tongue; swore he fears nobody; and vowed to hunt down the targets of his abrupt ire. Two, the politics of his succession is getting under the President's skin. His anger signalled frustration and fear that it could cost him the unity of Kenya. Rightly so.

He cannot unite Kenya before he unites his Jubilee Party. He cannot unite Jubilee if his Mount Kenya backyard and party bedrock is divided.

Bickering Jubilee politicians have spawned several pro and anti-status quo groupings in the party. Two is a division, several is chaos. And while both reflect struggle or failure, chaos is a portent for a break up.

PARTIES MERGED

Further puncturing the unity Jubilee is supposed to symbolise, two new parties have emerged in the President's backyard.

They are positioning themselves for the 2022 General Election regardless of the President's wishes for unity of purpose or warnings against early hustings.

Three, obviously the fear (of President) factor has diminished. It is why the President railed, for the umpteenth time, at Team Tanga Tanga for prematurely campaigning for Dr Ruto to succeed him in 2022 a fortnight ago.

And, importantly, for the umpteenth time, Tanga Tanga allied MPs behaved as if they are immune to presidential anger or censure. Truth be told, they regard Mr Kenyatta as a lame-duck leader already.

The President and his Deputy do themselves no favours. They ceased being friends and became colleagues and just tolerate each other. Their proxies, however, turn on each other with malice aforethought.

VIOLENCE

Four, enter Jubilee Secretary General and minister plenipotentiary Raphael Tuju. His supposedly leaked telephone conversation reveals a plot to tie Dr Ruto to the burning of a church filled with faithful escaping the 2007 post-election violence.

Nothing could be more inflammatory as to open old wounds than for a party's chief executive to be caught discussing about his second in command using Kenya’s electoral infamy of infamies.

Mr Tuju envenomed the politics afresh, secondly, politically pinned on the DP what the International Criminal Court legally failed to do in 2016.

Was he acting alone? He is far too sleek to go solo, let alone rogue, and far too calculating to be that adventurous. But he let slip a gem: more from 2007 awaits the DP closer to 2022.

Mr Tuju's car crash and Dr Ruto's train wreck demand that President Kenyatta eschews emotions, be the adult and act against his minister and deputy now to save Kenya's future. Fixing the succession, will end the crises.

The President can't sack the DP. The law does not allow him. He must bite the bullet and choose the lesser of three devils: arraignment, impeachment or do a deal with Dr Ruto.

Last, what's good for David Murathe's goose must be good for Tuju's gander.

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