Jubilee is in the news. There are those who think it is on its way to the ICU. Others see its throes as kicks of being reborn. Still, others argue it is under scrutiny because NASA is either dead or turned into something else after that handshake.
There are various issues to talk about regarding the House of Jubilee, the first being its perceived governance baggage. They range from perception that corruption and nepotism has since shot through the roof.
There is also perception things have gone so wrong that it may only require divine intervention in President Uhuru Kenyatta’s heart to take Kenya off the path of self-destruction. Here they add the load of bad manners like State borrowing as if there is no tomorrow.
There is the whole issue of Uhuru’s succession, which only those who saw Mzee Jomo Kenyatta age and die in office in 1978, can tell if both succession bids are of equal magnitude and traction in the country.
But unlike the late 1970s case, no one here is wondering if Uhuru will live through the remaining period to 2022 election. Apart from it being a taboo subject, it would also be in bad faith, for we don’t even know if we will live to see Kenya’s fifth President. That is an issue best left to our Maker and our individual fate.
That being the case, nothing however bars us from putting to scrutiny the balance of his term especially as his principal assistant William Ruto fights to take over. It matters not that 2022 still seems far away.
The fact is, he is on the campaign mode and so are the others eyeing the coveted seat. No one has apologies for doing so for they say the deal was that Uhuru takes 10 years then retreats to ‘Post Office Box Private Bag, Gatundu’.
Indeed, Ruto’s supporters expect him to reciprocate by supporting the man from Sugoi as his next and chosen successor. Whether Uhuru would do so is a question only time will tell.
There are, however, hints we can use to gauge if this will be the case. There is the lamentation from Ruto’s closest backers, and you know the usual mouth-pieces, particularly from the Rift that Uhuru Kenyatta, through his men, has elected to sidestep Ruto. They interpreted life-style audit calls by the President to mean attempts to delve into what Ruto owns and if it corroborates with what goes around on the grapevine; claims that he has an expansionist streak only comparable to Napoleon’s and an insatiable appetite for fat bank accounts. Still some of his guys marvel; so who is not corrupt on either side of the Jubilee staple.
When you ask the Uhuru guys what is happening they simply shrug it off as a case of the guilty are afraid (I honestly don’t know of what).
They also argue the President has resolved to salvage his legacy by fighting graft and in the process, care little who ends up in the dragnet.
Now let us look at Jubilee as a business company in which two main shareholders – Uhuru and Ruto - and an assortment of minority shareholders whose ornamental value is to tilt the scales either side depending on their own interests.
Then consider that both Uhuru and Ruto have a chance, albeit unequally, for a hostile takeover. Uhuru, whose voting power is padded by the privilege of the presidency can decide to do what he wants, including inviting others into the company. May be the famous March 9 “handshake” was testing.
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However, Ruto can also opt for a hostile take-over in a near-suicide mission by marshalling all the smaller shareholders around him whilst daring the President to try and block him.
The effect of this is to either show he is unstoppable, which begs the question; would he want to wage a war he can’t win, or to mess things up so badly for Uhuru that we may not have to wait for 2022 before regime change.
In-between this flexing of muscles are constitutional clauses that only lawyers know better their interpretations. Also, you can’t discount the fury with which Uhuru can fight back and where this will leave Ruto.
Tactfully, Ruto has called his troops to silence. You don’t show the cow, goes a Kalenjin saying, the arrow you will use to puncture its vein and draw blood. Meanwhile, our part in the Afro-cinema politics continues…
Mr Tanui is the Deputy Editorial Director and ManagingEditor, The Standard. [email protected]