Uhuru arrives to confront chaos in his party, State
President Uhuru Kenyatta flew back from France last evening to a bagful of problems - Jubilee chaos, rising impatience over the release of the handshake report and uncertainty on reopening of schools.
While he was away, succession politics swept aside the Covid-19 fears, bringing the two sides that are angling to succeed him into a monumental political battle.
The political antagonism on Sunday led to the death of two people in his Central backyard after Jubilee's National Management Committee (NMC) resolved to kick out Deputy President William Ruto from the party.
The NMC also proposed to ban Ruto's team from stepping into Jubilee House without prior notice.
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As the two factions fought it out, an attempt by the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) to rein in the situation failed. The commission emerged on Sunday evening to complain that the 'hustler-dynasty' talk mirrors the narrative that preceded the Rwanda genocide.
“We are sickened by the blatant manifestations of hatred and intolerance, especially by public figures,” said NCIC chairman Samuel Kobia.
By yesterday, the storm in Jubilee had ballooned into a national mess with ODM leader Raila Odinga's and Ruto's sides blaming each other. Raila's allies led by National Assembly Minority Leader John Mbadi and Minority Whip Junet Mohammed tore into the "hustler movement" blaming the DP for the violence in Murang'a.
"Time and again we have warned that a presidential quest that has been branded as a debt repayment initiative to Ruto is an extremely dangerous adventure. Ruto will destroy this country with this narrative whether he gets the presidency or not," Junet said.
In a strongly-worded statement, Junet claimed the 'hustler' talk was promoting class divisions. Yesterday, Raila himself issued a statement censuring the DP. He condemned him for the militarisation of the youth while calling for a stop to early campaigns.
“We must regard such politics as outdated and out of tune with our current aspirations of moving past our divided and bitter past as a nation. We must favour politics of engagement rather than confrontation,” said Raila.
He noted that the seeds of violence being planted at the moment could germinate during the general election. Raila said the spectre witnessed in Murang'a should be a "serious cause for concern to all peace-loving Kenyans".
But it is not only the chaos in Jubilee that is giving the president a headache. On Sunday, while taking a cue from Ruto, Raila turned up in church and announced for the umpteenth time that the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) report will be out soon.
The document, whose contents few people know, has been billed as the panacea to Kenya's political woes. Yet it appears to have stagnated somewhere. Neither the former premier nor the president can explain the long delay.
The fear of its contents, it is said, maybe informing the heightened political activity from the DP's side. “Countrymen, finally the wheelbarrow, mkokoteni and boda boda moment is here. The discourse about hustlers, not tribes; wananchi and not leaders; empowerment of ordinary hustles not power for the few; hustler jobs not positions for the mighty; from bottoms up not top-down. Jipange!,” Ruto twitted on Sunday.
But the president himself, going by the interview he gave in France, is not keen on early campaigns. He instead affirmed his preference for unity, stability and prosperity of the nation while at the same time justifying his handshake with Raila after the divisive 2017 presidential polls.
The confusion in the education sector adds swell to the president's to-do list. The man he entrusted with the task of issuing a calendar for reopening of basic learning, Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha, is still doing his calculations one week later.
Meanwhile, idle teachers have entered the second week as pressure piles to recall learners. “It is now time to have all children back to school. The Ministry of Education should urgently release the schools calendar,” Kenya National Union of Teachers Secretary General Wilson Sossion said yesterday.
Ruto said those opposed to the hustler narrative are focused on ensuring Kenyan youth remained poor so that they can be easily controlled.
“I know this is a difficult conversation but we shall have it anyway,” said Ruto.
[Cyrus Ombati, Allan Mungai, Roselyn Obala, Jeckonia Otieno and Kennedy Gachuhi]