How Kenyan Politics has changed since 'Handshake'

Homa Bay County Member of Parliament (left)Homa Bay MP Peter Kaluma(centre) and Kisumu Women Rep Rosa Buyu during the state of the nation address at parliament on 4/4/19 [Beverlyne Musili,Standard]
Gloves off as ODM members in newfound love with Uhuru’s allies face off with DP zealots in purge against graft.

President Uhuru Kenyatta’s second State of Nation address after the March 9 ‘handshake’ has come at a time political temperatures are rising within his Jubilee administration.

His address comes in the background of the handshake that has united erstwhile political foes, while opening fissures in a previously tight Jubilee house.

Interestingly, Uhuru’s rapport with National Super Alliance (NASA) leader Raila Odinga has reduced political temperatures in the country but has created tension within the ruling Jubilee Party, that is now split between ‘Tanga Tanga’ and ‘Kieleweke’ camps.

Yesterday, the President addressed divided Jubilee MPs, unlike in previous occasions where he had to contend with aggrieved Opposition forces in the House.

Attracted rebuke

At one time, former Nyaribari Masaba MP Timothy Bosire declined to stand up as the President took to the podium, attracting a rebuke from the Head of State.

President Kenyatta’s ‘revisit’ speech in the aftermath of the nullification of his presidential victory so irked the Judiciary that he addressed Parliament in the absence of Chief Justice David Maraga and other top judges.

Unlike in the past when his speech would be interrupted by whistles from NASA lawmakers, this time round there is a growing discontent from allies of his deputy William Ruto.

In March 2016, the whistles were blown just as the President was standing to begin is annual address, forcing National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi to intervene to restore order in the chambers.

MPs Opiyo Wandayi (Ugunja), Millie Odhiambo (Mbita), Simba Arati (Dagoretti North), John Mbadi (Suba), Gladys Wanga (Homa Bay) and Senator Moses Kajwang (Homa Bay) were ordered out of the House for causing disruption.

The DP’s allies feel that the ‘handshake’ between Uhuru and Raila is meant to curtail his 2022 presidential ambitions in a move dubbed ‘Stop Ruto’ Movement.

Lately, the country has witnessed a gloves off fight pitting Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) members in a newfound love with Uhuru’s allies and the DP’s supporters.

On Wednesday, Ruto accused Raila and his co-principals Kalonzo Musyoka (Wiper), Musalia Mudavadi (Amani National Congress) and Moses Wetang’ula (Ford Kenya), who have backed Uhuru’s anti-graft war, of trying to block him from the 2022 succession race.

“Their main project has become stopping one individual from asking for votes from Kenyans. It is God who decides and they are therefore wasting their time. They have so far brought in Jubilee confusion, propaganda and deceit. They don’t want us to construct roads, connect power to people and the Big Four sgenda,” said Ruto.

Ruto expressly described the ongoing purge as selective, lacking integrity, fought on convenient half-truths and with political outcomes in mind.

Tension in Jubilee

Investigations on the Arror and Kimwarer dams involving Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich are also of concern to Ruto’s men who have dismissed it as a witch-hunt linked to 2022 succession politics.

Reports also indicate that the tension in Jubilee is gradually evolving into a full-blown war in which individuals have to choose sides with some Cabinet secretaries reported to be deliberately avoiding being seen in public with the DP on his ‘development tours’.

Raila’s Orange party has backed Siaya Senator James Orengo’s suggestion of impeaching Ruto, accusing him of being an obstacle in the fight on corruption and national cohesion.

Orengo, while addressing residents during campaigns in the Ugenya by-election, said Article 150 of the Constitution is enough to throw out Ruto, adding that the threshold for removing the deputy president from office on constitutional grounds is much lower than the criminal prosecution threshold.

Last month, Uhuru while on a State visit to Namibia warned officials who engage in corruption that they would be fought, including his political allies.

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ODM membersState of Nation addressNASARaila OdingaUhuru