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Uhuru should now go back to Ruto or fire his speech writers

By Michael Ndonye | June 11th 2021
President Uhuru Kenyatta (left) elbow greets Deputy President William Ruto during the 18th Annual National Prayer Breakfast at the Parliament buildings, Nairobi. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

The political heavens have willed that President Uhuru Kenyatta goes back to Ruto or sacks Jubilee Party's political troubleshooters if he is to have a smooth ride with Raila Odinga.

In all his speeches lately, we see him throttling the 2017 post-election ghosts. For instance, his speech on Madaraka Day in Kisumu was arguably a fierce renewal of his 2017 attacks on the Judiciary—and there in lies the awkwardness.

Some political pundits faulted photojournalists who covered the celebrations for not directing their cameras enough towards Raila Odinga, James Orengo and the Nasa principals who successfully petitioned the elections through the Supreme Court and won. What then was Uhuru telling them while they believe the courts vindicated their claims of stolen elections?

Garry Kasparov talks about chess: “I used to attack because it was the only thing I knew. Now I attack because I know it works best.” Between 2013 and 2017, Uhuru and Ruto used to attack the opposition by all means. This was the only strategy that they had at hand.

Now that the political game players and the pieces changed after the Handshake in 2018, Uhuru should only attack when it works for him and his partners. He has, however, been turning his political barrels inward and by the look of things, he doesn't seem aware of this friendly fire. What evidence do I have?
In most of his written speeches lately, the president covertly hits at Raila and ODM, while his extemporaneous parts; where he speaks his mind while sometimes holding the microphone, attacks his former brother William Ruto. As such, he leaves an ideological cold gulf between his remnant Jubilee aides and the brotherly Raila's side. The speeches leave Tangatanga with a sweet taste in the mouth.

No longer fashionable

We all know that most of Jubilee's speech writers were recruited when hitting at Raila, the Opposition and all allied institutions including the Judiciary, was in vogue.

Could they have forgotten that it is no longer fashionable to attack Raila, thanks to the Handshake? It seems they haven’t realised that the Judiciary and Raila share the 2017 nerve. Moreover, any attempt to revisit the Judiciary, now or in the future, would be revisiting Raila.

While Uhuru struggles to affirm his legitimacy, the opposition, which now dines alongside him in the high tables, has cemented an alternative view since the annulling of 2017 presidential election.

Remember after the 2017 elections, political analysts projected that Jubilee's second term's major hurdles would be stamping their legitimacy after the 2017 election nullification. This is especially because Nasa snubbed the repeat election and later swore in Raila as the people’s president.

It was a stroke of political genius on Uhuru’s part to capture Raila and his armies through the Handshake. It shattered the political glass, tossing generals from both sides of the political divide off balance.

While the president scored well in numbing the Opposition, he is slow in getting his knee off Judiciary’s neck. The Judiciary almost boated NASA across Jordan to Canaan — for the first time since Raila’s political career three decades ago.

What can we say then? Uhuru should call a meeting with himself, and then with his political spin-doctors. He can have all the freedom to attack the Judiciary and the former NASA if he goes back to Ruto.

Or, he should send his speech writers packing, if they are to blame for the friendly fire. There must be a formula of dropping his beef with the Judiciary and 2017 political silhouettes now that he’s handled his former brother Ruto with political ‘vayolence’.

Otherwise, the way things are going, the political Satan has asked to sift Uhuru’s legacy and nobody in the political plains and the mountains will be willing to offer petitions against it — not even his brother Raila.

Dr Ndonye is a political economist of communication


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