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Strangely, Deputy President is also Leader of the Opposition

Tuesday September 17 2019

Kiharu MP Ndindi Nyoro

Kiharu MP Ndindi Nyoro. He made maximum political capital by playing the victim of police harassment. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

MACHARIA GAITHO
By MACHARIA GAITHO
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When Kiharu MP Ndindi Nyoro made his appearance on a television talk show in the midst of his cat and mouse games with police following a church fracas, he blamed Interior Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho for his tribulations.

But that is a familiar accusation from the ‘Opposition’ troops of Deputy President William Ruto.

At every available opportunity, the clearly disgruntled faction within the governing Jubilee Party will accuse key government agencies of persecuting them because of their support for Mr Ruto.

Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji and Director of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti, the key drivers of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s anti-corruption war, have been the main targets of their barbs.

However, the person most often singled out for special calumny is Dr Kibicho, who stands at a vantage point over key national security and administrative functions.

ACCUSATIONS

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Mr Nyoro freely accused the PS not only of orchestrating his intended arrest, but also directing what would appear to be a national campaign of ultimately blocking the DP’s prospects of succeeding President Kenyatta in 2022.

He accused the PS of using the police to target Mr Ruto’s supporters in the Tangatanga faction and being the main contact point for Jubilee MPs in the rival Kieleweke, seen as loyal to President Kenyatta.

Mr Nyoro even accused Dr Kibicho of managing a political slush fund to finance Kieleweke activities; the apparent counter to the common accusations that Tangatanga MPs got handsome amounts of cash every weekend to accompany the DP on his campaign tours across the country.

Another accusation is that Dr Kibicho has been trying to get MPs to support the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI), by which President Kenyatta has brought opposition leader Raila Odinga close to his side, presumably at the DP’s expense.

PUBLIC SERVANT

While heaping all the blame on Dr Kibicho, what Mr Nyoro and others in the Ruto group shy away from acknowledging is that, however powerful, the PS is a mere public servant who could hardly have the freedom to run his own political agenda.

If he is doing all that he is accused of, it would only be as a mere functionary serving the interests of a higher authority.

It follows that the PS is not the actual target of the attacks but President Kenyatta, who is obviously the one the DP’s camp thinks is directing the alleged anti-Ruto campaign.

The President cannot be unaware of the accusations facing Dr Kibicho from deep within the camp of his second-in-command.

In July, when reports surfaced of the now-infamous Hotel la Mada meetings attended by Cabinet secretaries from central Kenya, it was Dr Kibicho in the spotlight as the one allegedly rallying opposition to the DP and muttering assassination threats.

ASSASSINATION PLOT

Things took a dramatic turn when the letter allegedly sent to the President by an unhappy CS detailing the alleged plot turned out to be fake, and a key communications aide in the DP’s office was arrested and charged over it.

While the letter, which was widely circulated on social media, was pointing fingers at Dr Kibicho, more germane was that it suggested the President was aware of and approved the alleged plot against his deputy.

When things turned around, Mr Ruto’s allies were quick to respond that the police can hardly be expected to conduct a fair investigation on a matter in which their boss was implicated.

That is the same argument Mr Nyoro is employing when asked if he has reported to the police the rather dubious claims that he is targeted for elimination because of his support for Mr Ruto.

The first-time MP is given to melodrama and incendiary statements, many bordering on hate speech and incitement.

GAMBIT

The police played right into his hands. He was bound to make maximum political capital by playing the victim of police harassment and projecting himself as Mr Ruto’s most fearless supporter.

The incident allowed the Tangatanga battalion to push the narrative that they were being unfairly targeted while pointing out that their Kieleweke rivals, such as Nyeri Town MP Ngunjiri Wambugu, who is gaining notoriety for disrupting political rallies, remained untouched.

The DP’s supporters exploited the opportunity to project themselves as victims of a repressive and dictatorial state machinery — which is quite rich, considering Mr Ruto’s central role in the very government.

If all that is down to Dr Kibicho, who speaks softly but carries a big stick, he has succeeded spectacularly in making the DP simultaneously the Leader of the Opposition within.

However, the PS is but a mere functionary doing the bidding of his boss.

[email protected] @MachariaGaitho

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