Jitters over the size of Ruto's national cake

Kenya Kwanza team from left: ANC Party leader Musalia Mudavadi, Deputy President William Ruto, Ford Kenya party leader Moses Wetangula and Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malala, during economic forum meeting held at Musingu Boys High School on April 22, 2022. [Benjamin Sakwa, Standard]

The deal handing Amani National Congress immense powers in the next government should Deputy President William Ruto win the August presidential polls has stirred debate in political circles.

According to the deal signed between ANC, Ford Kenya and Ruto’s United Democratic Alliance, Musalia Mudavadi (ANC) will be elevated to the position of prime Cabinet Secretary two weeks after Ruto is sworn in.

The power deal leaves Ruto with 70 per cent of government which is to be shared with the rest of the country. The MoU is likely to trigger jitters over what other regions will gain from the Kenya Kwanza basket.

The 17-page coalition agreement is signed by Ruto, Mudavadi, Moses Wetang’ula (Ford Kenya) and the secretary generals of the three parties, with Tharaka Nithi senator Prof Kithure Kindiki as commissioner of oath.

Apart from ANC and Ford Kenya, 13 other parties form the Kenya Kwanza Alliance (KKA). The parties include William Kabogo’s Tujibebe Wakenya Party, Maendeleo Chap Chap led by Alfred Mutua, The Service Party founded by Mwangi Kiunjuri, Kilifi Governor Amason Kingi’s Pamoja Africa Alliance (PAA) as well as the Democratic Party, which is led by National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi.

Others are Chama Cha Kazi led by Moses Kuria, Devolution Party as well as Umoja Maendeleo Party led by Embu Governor Martin Wambora.

Yesterday, when the details of the power-sharing became public, the former Kiambu governor and leader of Tujibebe Kabogo revealed that he had not discussed any power-sharing deal with Dr Ruto.

“As Tujibebe, and the people of Mt Kenya, all we want is a formula of sharing revenue that will be based on population. So far, it is Ruto, to see the value of Mt Kenya people and decide what he wants to give them,” said Mr Kabogo.

While joining Kenya Kwanza on Tuesday this week, Kingi said the terms under which he and his party had joined.

“Our reason for coming to Kenya Kwanza is driven by the desire to finally find a solution to the problems facing our people. (If it was) about securing positions we could have secured‚Äč individual positions in Azimio but that is not our intention as PAA,” he said.

DP chairman Esau Kioni added his voice to the debate: “There is no harm in the arrangement which we have previously deliberated.”

Kioni said the remaining 70 per cent is still a substantial proportion of government that should satisfy the remaining partners.

“Please bear in mind that some of the partners will bring little value to the alliance and it is only fair that a pro rata basis will be used to share government. Those who bring little will get little and vice versa,” said Kioni whose party was brought into the alliance by its party boss, Muturi.

The deal, which observers says favours Western Kenya, has ring-fenced the position of the deputy president. According to article 21, “UDA shall nominate the coalition/s presidential and deputy presidential candidates in the general elections of August 9.

Kuria said that his party, Chama Cha Kazi had no problem.

“We are comfortable. We will work hard to deliver victory for Kenya Kwanza,” said Moses Kuria.

Former Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri was more measured in his reaction.

“Sometimes even being silent is a strategy in itself,”  said leader Kiunjuri

Ford Kenya secretary-general Chris Wamalwa said his party was national and the 15 per cent they had been given would benefit all Kenyans across the 47 counties.

“We are one of the oldest parties. We have membership in all the counties. Any appointment in the 15 per cent will impact on all Kenyans, so it is a win for all Kenyans,” said Wamalwa.

Governance analyst Tom Mboya said it would be difficult for Ruto to implement the agreement owing to the new allies the DP is winning.

“What happens to the rest who joined? Are they going to be flower girls? How will they be accommodated?” Mboya posed.

He said that history has always trashed political promises, which are never followed through.

“When campaigning, politicians make promises that they never live up to because there are new considerations once one gets to office,” Mboya added.

He, however, said that the deal grants Mudavadi some leverage. “He bought himself advantage by joining the DP early in the day,” he said.

Political analyst Javas Bigambo said the two parties bargained for a deal but that did not mean that the goodies will go to Western alone.

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