Ruto, Raila risk being puppet presidents over pre-election agreements

UDA presidential candidate William Ruto and Raila Odinga of Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Alliance. [Standard]

Front runners in the presidential race William Ruto and Raila Odinga are going to the elections with their hands tied by the pre-election political agreements they signed.

To appease their allies and woo voters, UDA presidential candidate Ruto and Raila of Azimio la Umoja One Kenya signed away a sizeable number of Cabinet posts.

The agreements were a product of intense lobbying, blackmail, and negotiations among politicians, political financiers, and other power brokers in the country.

"The agreements come with some lucrative hidden benefits and key job positions. A few use the agreements to get selfish deals against the wishes of Kenyans,” Political Analyst Martin Andati told The Standard on phone.

Mr Andati said President Uhuru Kenyatta was pushing hard to remain politically relevant in the government because of his interests in legacy projects and business.

In the event that Raila is elected president and he lives up to his promises, his Cabinet will be populated with President Kenyatta and Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka's appointees. This is on top of the Azimo leader’s appointees, and other people who have heavily contributed to his campaigns.

They include former Gatanga MP Peter Kenneth, former National Assembly Speaker Kenneth Marende, and a host of Azimio financiers, who have directly or indirectly signed agreements.

“The financiers might not be appointed but they will have their people in government or get key tenders,” Mr Andati said.

Allies of Uhuru who is the Chairman of Azimio la Umoja Council, expected to be in Cabinet include the Interior Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho, Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya, and his Interior counterpart Fred Matiangi. The president on his part will oversee the activities of Azimio.

Raila has promised Kalonzo the position of Chief Minister, which is not currently in the Constitution.

According to the agreement the Wiper leader signed with Azimio, he will appoint 30 per cent of the government and lobbied to have Water, Foreign Affairs and Trade ministries.

Raila’s direct appointees to the Cabinet that he has publicly announced include his running mate Martha Karua as Justice CS, Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya as National Treasury CS and Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho will take over the Lands docket.

Murang'a Governor Mwangi Wa Iria claims that the Azimio leader has promised to appoint him Agriculture CS.

“If you don’t elect Baba, I won’t be a minister. I am done and I will go with all that I have done for you and the others I am planning to do. Why would you terrorise me Murang’a people?" He told Murang’a residents during the campaigns on Friday last week.

"Raila has promised me a position. I will be a minister in Raila Odinga’s government. Please on 9th vote for me by voting Raila,” Wa Iria said.

Deputy President Ruto on his part has also bargained away nearly half of his government including 30 per cent to the ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi and Ford Kenya's Moses Wetang'ula who will pick some CSs and PSs.

The ANC leader will be the Chief Minister in charge of the Cabinet activities in Kenya Kwanza government.

The DP promised to endorse Wetang'ula to become the National Assembly Speaker. The Ford Kenya leader will also appoint one CS and PSs. Kilifi Governor Amason Kingi, who negotiated for a single Cabinet post wants to be the Senate Speaker in the next government.

As a result, Ruto will lose control of Parliament as the second arm of the government. “The main war is between the masses and the few people cut deals through political agreements. Long term, Kenyans will win,” Mr Andati said.

"The masses must fight for their position since the next president is likely to be held captive,” he added.

The late entrant in Kenya Kwanza, former Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko, will pick a CS and other government positions.

Sonko will not hold any position in Ruto's government after the High Court and IEBC blocked him from contesting on integrity grounds as stipulated in Chapter Six of the Constitution.

"In adherence to the Supreme Court judgment, you are therefore disqualified from holding any public office and thus disqualified from contesting and being elected as the governor of Mombasa or any other county. Your candidature is invalidated and your certificate revoked,” read the IEBC letter to Sonko.

Insiders say that after Tharaka Nithi Senator Kithure Kindiki was not picked as Ruto's running mate, he will land the Attorney General post in Kenya Kwanza government. This will give Prof Kindiki powers to appoint the Solicitor General, formulate laws and monitor all government agreements.

“The Treasury docket is key to running government activities, and that’s why many people are going after it,” Mr Andati told The Standard.

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