Uhuru's political return a boon for his friends but rattles critics

When former President Uhuru Kenyatta was accorded a Military farewell at the Langata Barracks on September 09, 2022. [Stafford Ondego, Standard]

Former President Uhuru Kenyatta’s renewed political engagements have elicited various reactions on what is his end game.

While some of President William Ruto’s foot soldiers have dared the former president to a political duel, others believe unkept promises have created trust deficit with the electorate and fear that if Uhuru sparks an anti-government movement, their careers may be at stake in 2027.

The Tanga Tanga movement birthed a crop of leaders who are products of the yellow wave in Mt Kenya region. They successfully sold the hustler narrative to the masses, promising that the government would belong to mama mbogas and boda boda riders.

MPs who believe the government has let down hustlers have been left praying that Uhuru’s allies who lost their seats will stop church meetings and ‘civic education’ to the people.

“We hope for two things. Either things get better so that their anti-government movements do not end up disrupting our term in 2027, or that Uhuru’s allies lack the zeal to sustain their meetings. As things stand, we cannot face our constituents," an MP who requested anonymity told The Standard.

Githunguri MP Gathoni Wamuchomba, who was elected on a UDA party ticket, said it was high time the government was reminded to honour its promises to the people, adding that Parliament has been compromised and abandoned its oversight role.

“For the first time in Kenya’s history, our farmers are celebrating Christmas without their coffee dues. We have been promised Sh80 per kilo but this has not materialised. Any effort by the leaders to defend the rights of the people are welcome and it will have casualties,” she said.

Wamuchomba has been criticising the Kenya Kwanza administration as a lone ranger from Mt Kenya region and was the only leader who opposed the Finance Act, terming it as punitive, oppressive, and scandalous.

“That is when the rains started beating us. When leaders cannot rise to say no to the basic rights of their people. I followed my conscience and opposed the move despite intimidation and the cold war that came,” she said.

Former Gatanga MP Nduati Ngugi said Uhuru’s return to politics will rattle and scatter many politicians especially those allied to the government given that there was no significant opposition from Mt Kenya region.

“Many went to their comfort zone after securing the election on a silver platter as they took advantage of the yellow fever. But with our people having opened their eyes, things will never be the same in the future,” Mr Ngugi noted.

He said that should Uhuru’s party sustain the movement, many UDA politicians will cross over to be on the side of Kenyans.

“It is our competitors who coined a narrative ‘listening to the ground’ and through this, many will join our camp and this will expose the government. The same way Ruto broke the traditional jinx  of not being elected on a first term, he will also break the jinx of failing to lose the re-election," claimed Ngugi.

But National Assembly Majority Leader Kimani Ichungwa dismissed Uhuru’s efforts to use his former allies to destabilize the government, stating that they were ready for him as they did in 2022.

While describing Uhuru as a "saboteur and a man who destroyed the economy", Ichung'wah said the former President was hellbent on wreaking havoc in Ruto’s administration.

“He destroyed our economy and the nation through State capture. He now fears that others may and will succeed where he failed and that is the height of pettiness,” he claimed.

Former Nyeri Town MP Ngunjiri Wambugu, a former ally of Uhuru and now a rival, said the former president should retire as a statesman and leave the political field "as he would drag himself into unnecessary political wars".

"I even wonder why people keep saying Uhuru needs to come back to politics. To do what? His term expired and he cannot help the Opposition since he was the President who failed,” the former MP said.

Ngunjiri said if Uhuru does not exit from politics, he would lead a team of former elected Jubilee leaders to expose him to the public and how he betrayed them.

"I led the Kiambaa by-election campaign and after we lost, I presented to him our hits and misses. He promised us he would mend things, which was an empty promise. We, too, shall spill the beans," he said.
Political analyst Gitile Naituli noted that Uhuru could be galvanizing his political machinery after he heard the cries of his people and wants to come back and show them the way in 2027.

“This was a man who was vilified by Kenya Kwanza leaders and went home disgracefully. But with his warnings almost coming to reality, he hopes to be the kingmaker in 2027,” he said.

The analyst said the political scheme could be a strategy for him to force himself into the matrix of being influential and soughtafter the way his predecessors were sought after by politicians after his exit from politics.