No permanent enemies in politics; case of Gachagua and Uhuru

There are cases in the past where sworn political enemies did makeup and decided to work together, including President Moi reaching out to Jaramogi Oginga Odinga in the latter's sunset years and President Mwai Kibaki visiting Moi for advise when his Narc administration was rocked by vicious infighting.

Prof Masibo Lumala, the Director School of Information Sciences, Moi University, however, says it is telling that Gachagua's call for rapprochement with Uhuru came when President Ruto was touring Raila Odinga's Nyanza backyard

"They say in politics there are no permanent friends and so should Uhuru in his assessment think that probably having a more cohesive Mt Kenya region under Rigathi will be more beneficial to him, they may still make up," says Masibo.

But from deeper analysis, the don thinks Gachagua may have realised that the political landscape is shifting really fast and to handle the pace, he had to go back to his backyard and re-emerge as that person who wants to unite the region.

"He is desperate to have Uhuru on board as he tells his detractors and other political players that if you want to get the support of the mountain region and its rich vote basket, you will need to go through Rigathi," says Masibo.

Analysts also argue that other factors could have influenced the deputy president to court Uhuru, a man he has openly mocked, vilified and blamed for almost every ill facing the country.

But first, Gachagua has made it clear that he wants to be the Mt Kenya regional kingpin under whose guidance, the region will gravitate as they campaign for President William Ruto's second term in the 2027 presidential election.

It is therefore a no brainer that such a mission can only succeed if he manages to get Uhuru behind him because the former president still wields a lot of influence in the region and will continue doing so many years to come.

"I think the deputy president has realized that Uhuru Kenyatta is a major player in Mt Kenya politics and he can only ignore him further at his own peril," says Prof Masibo.

It is also argued that having been very controversial and combative in his statements to the chagrin of many, both in government and opposition, Gachagua may have realized that he needs to quickly shift gears because a lot of realignment is taking place.

That includes the National Dialogue Committee (NADCO) talks that took place at the Bomas of Kenya, which he had earlier dismissed at a meeting in Machakos, saying they will yield nothing much.

Ruto's forage into Raila Odinga's Luo Nyanza backyard, the reception he received and the impact of the recent shake up of government that increased the powers of Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi are also red signals for Gachagua.

He has repeatedly said the government is owned by shareholders according to how they voted and dismissed critics telling them he has no apologies to make because those who supported President Ruto should be rewarded more than others.

"He is probably trying to send a message of reconciliation by offering Uhuru an olive branch, hoping that by so doing the former president's supporters will forget all the nasty things he has said about him," says Prof Masibo.

Prof Masibo says Gachagua is asserting himself by trying to use Uhuru as a weapon against those he perceives are fighting him, especially after he appeared to clash with Cabinet Secretary Moses Kuria.

"You realize when there was a problem within Mt Kenya he comes out very forcefully to defend their course, including championing for the interests of coffee and tea farmers and the writing off of debts owed by factories," says Masibo.

Political analysts point out that Gachagua may have been startled by the kind of reception that the president received throughout his four-day tour of all Luo Nyanza counties.

Prof Herman Manyora sees Raila's hand in the game, and strongly argues that is highly possible he has struck a some kind of deal with Ruto, whose casualties could include Gachagua and Wiper party leader Kalonzo Musyoka.

"Rigathi and Kalonzo should be very afraid because I think there is a deal between Raila and Ruto. What happened in Nyanza could not have played out if Raila did not give his nod," said Manyora on Spice FM.

Because Raila owes his Azimio la Umoja One Kenya team so much for the support they gave him likewise to Ruto in UDA who owes his position to party leaders like Gachagua, the Raila-Ruto deal could have been kept under wraps because of the sense of betrayal it can create.

"Gachagua will cause a lot of problems if that deal is made public but I suspect there is a deal between the two and the casualties will be Rigathi and Muysoka," added Manyora.

He further argued that Musalia Mudavadi could be a major beneficiary of such a deal because Raila has a soft spot for him despite their recent disagreements and that Musyoka could also be brought into the game.

Prof Masibo agrees that the reception Ruto received in Nyanza spoke volumes because the first time when he went to Homa Bay, the likes of governor Gladys Wanga were conspicuously absent but this time made every effort to be as close to as possible.

"That sends shivers down the spine of the likes of Rigathi because they now realise they will start sharing the national cake equitably against his wish that only those who voted for Ruto the man should benefit," says Masibo.

He however argues that chances of Uhuru extending a handshake to Gachagua are very slim because the former president has nothing to gain from it. Secondly, the rough treatment meted against him by Gachagua since last year works against efforts of a rapprochement.

He says Uhuru does not need the Mt Kenya votes because he has done his bit and trying to win him over will not change the dynamics in terms of the national conversation on issues like share-holding in government.

Early this year, the former president family farm in Ruiru was attacked by goons who carted away hundreds of livestock, cut down trees as police officers stayed away until very late while senior Kenya Kwanza leaders including Gachagua remained silent.

President Uhuru's mother Mama Ngina Kenyatta's security guards were also withdrawn before criminal investigation officers raided his sons house to allegedly search for illegal firearms as Gachagua repeatedly warned him against allegedly funding demonstration that were taking place in the country.

Other accusations leveled against Uhuru by Gachagua and other Mt Kenya Kenya Kwanza leaders include allegedly inviting opposition leader Raila Odinga into the Jubilee government after the March 2018 handshake.

He has also lashed out at the critics of his unity calls, asking why they have not raised any concerns when Mudavadi, Wetangula and other western Kenya leaders rally their region to work together.

"I don't know why many people are uncomfortable when I say this region should be united in purpose. When I said on Friday that I was going to reach out to Uhuru, I have seen a lot of narratives and false conclusions by people who don't want us united," said Gachagua.

He is supported by former Nyeri Town MP Wambugu Ngunjiri who also argues that there is always a negative vibe every time leaders from Mt Kenya talk about uniting the region.

According to the former MP, the issue only became an interesting conversation because the DP has said he was going to reach out to the former president based on the acrimonious history that they have had.

He said regional interests should override personal interest arguing that some will say it was Rigathi's fault for attacking the former President while others will blame Uhuru's for disregarding the agreement they had in Jubilee.

"All that is now overtaken by the fact we have Rigathi is the senior most political leader while Uhuru is also a respected leader as former president from the region and so for us to have a unified conversation, these two leaders must sit together," says Ngunjiri.