Unease in Rift over duo’s dalliance as Jubilee faces split

Kapseret MP Oscar Sudi has opposed the handshake. [File, Standard]

It is exactly a year since President Uhuru Kenyatta and opposition leader Raila Odinga took to the steps of Harambee House for a handshake that ushered in optimism about an end to political tensions after a divisive General Election.

Kenyans witnessed relative calm even as leaders vowed that never again will the country witness electoral violence and political divisions.

Deputy President William Ruto and his troops were quick to laud the handshake saying it would enhance unity and create a conducive environment to achieve President Kenyatta’s Big Four Agenda.

But a year later, the truce has turned into mudslinging and name calling between allies of the DP and Raila.

Leaders from the Rift are also uneasy and have accused Raila of using the handshake to scuttle Ruto’s 2022 presidential bid.

The Rift is literally watching from the sidelines the steps that Raila is taking with some of its leaders blaming him for shaking Jubilee’s once solid foundation.

Nandi Senator Kiprotich Cherargei, who was opposed to the handshake, said the initial picture of Kenyatta and Raila shaking hands was ‘cosmetic with a hidden intention.’

“The handshake is a disaster in itself. From the onset, I knew it has nothing tangible to offer Kenyans but laced with acid to destroy Kenyatta’s legacy. It has already metamorphasized as a platform to create expansion of the executive in order to accommodate perennial political losers into government,” said the Senator.

He added: “Kenyatta had good intentions with the handshake but Raila came in with an agenda to destroy the same walls and bridges and deny other regions development. Currently, the country is facing the symptomatic side effects of Raila’s involvement, there is nothing to celebrate because our economy is doing badly and we are back to where we were, where divisions are the order of the day.”

Uasin Gishu Governor Jackson Mandago opined that history is repeating itself. Basing it on former premier’s tendencies to hop from one party to another.

He said when the initiative was mooted, he was among those who supported with expectation that it will bring change to the lives of citizens. “History keeps repeating when it comes to Raila. He has gone through many political vehicles including Ford, NDP, Kanu, ODM, NASA and currently on a mission to break Jubilee. My advice to Kenyatta and Ruto is that they should not forget where God picked them and where they were placed along with the purpose they were given in the country to serve,” said Mr Mandago.

Allies of the DP have already traded their guns on Raila insisting he is working behind the scenes to brand Ruto corrupt to dim his 2022 bid. “We have enjoyed relative peace in the streets of Nairobi and Kisumu which was synonymous with violence because Raila used to wreak havoc in the name of fighting the state but the handshake is threatening to split Jubilee and derail all its development efforts,” said Keiyo South MP Daniel Rono.

MPs Oscar Sudi and his Kimilili counterpart Didmus Baraza have hit out at the President over his dalliance with Raila.

Mosop MP Tuwei maintained that it is impractical for Raila to support Kenyatta while at the same time continue fighting his Deputy all in the name of the handshake.