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Infighting jolts Ruto and Raila political paradise amid succession

President William Ruto, his predecessor Uhuru Kenyatta and Azimio leader Raila Odinga. [File, Standard]

Unease and supremacy battles define the current political situation as some ambitious operatives position themselves to take over as regional kingpins.

The political realignment is causing jitters in the bastions of President William Ruto and Azimio leader Raila Odinga. Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua too is no longer at ease as political fires have begun to be lit under his feet in Mt Kenya.

Political waves are also sweeping across Western, where UDA Secretary General Cleophas Malala has been fomenting trouble for his former party leader at Amani National Congress, Musalia Mudavadi who is now Prime Cabinet Secretary.

National Assembly Speaker, Moses Wetang’ula too is unhappy with Malala who has been categorical that Ford Kenya and Mudavadi’s ANC must be folded up and join UDA.

Caught in the succession political matrix, Kenya Kwanza and Azimio are battling sibling rivalry that could leave them vulnerable.

Cracks in Ruto’s government triggered by jostling for top leadership positions have left some leaders exposed.

Gachagua and Mudavadi, the senior most politicians after Ruto have not had the best of political relationship. Insiders in the Deputy President’s camp fear that the former ANC leader enjoys a cordial relationship with the president that could unsettle them politically.

On the other hand two Cabinet Secretaries are angling to succeed Ruto as the Rift Valley kingpin and inherit his political base after he leaves power.

This scenario is being replicated in Mt Kenya where another CS is positioning himself to wrestle Mt Kenya from Gachagua.

Immediately after arrival from Colombia, the DP called out a section of Kenya Kwanza leaders over their public utterances on fuel prices.

In a statement on Sunday, Gachagua noted that he is privy to the concerning tone public servants have interacted with Kenyans regarding the recent spike in oil prices which has caused uproar in the last few days.

The DP castigated the leaders of arrogance and lack of empathy in addressing concerns by aggrieved Kenyans, sentiments that seemed to be directed towards Trade Cabinet Secretary Moses Kuria and presidential economic advisor David Ndii.

Days later, Kuria hit back at was seen as a sarcastic response to Gachagua saying he regrets his earlier remarks indicating that the price of fuel is likely to go up in the coming months owing to global dynamics.

“I have since been advised by people like Dr Boni Khaleale (Khalwale) and his master that the statement was incorrect, insensitive, and ARROGANT. I am made to understand that the price (fuel) will come down,” the CS posted on X.

The tweet has gotten a section of social media users suggesting that Kuria was referring to the Deputy President as Khalwale’s ‘master.’

The tussle between Gachagua and the CS captures the heart of political rivalry for the soul of Mt Kenya for the control of the voter rich region for post Ruto political realignment. 

Yesterday, political analyst Herman Manyora advised the DP to go slow on Kuria.  

“I would advise DP, @rigathi to go slow on the MITI minister, @Hon Moses_Kuria. Kuria is a grassroots leader who can mess his chances of being Mt. Kenya kingpin. Bwana Gachagua, ogopa Moses Kuria.”

Away from the Gachagua-Kuria political tussle, Azimio deputy leader Martha Karua has teamed up with embattled Jubilee Secretary General, Jeremiah Kioni in fronting Kamwene, a new political movement.

Kwamene Leadership Forum seeks to champion the interests of Mt Kenya. In Rift Valley, Transport Cabinet Secretary Kipchumba Murkomen, an ally of the President has addressed a series of meetings across the region.

Murkomen served as Elgeyo Marakwet senator for 10 years and had been elected for a third term before Ruto appointed him to Cabinet.

Murkomen, 44, seems to be positioning himself take over the Rift Valley mantle if the forays in the region are anything to go go by.

In June, during a visit to the Kabunde airstrip in Homa Bay county, the Transport CS said he could arrange for a meeting between the President and Raila to resolve the impasse over the Finance Bill, 2023. A month later, Ruto and Raila held a meeting in Mombasa.

In Western, Mudavadi is facing the political heat generated by UDA secretary-general who recently called for the dissolution of ANC and Ford Kenya to join UDA.

For Azimio, the talk of Raila’s succession was kicked off in August when his elder brother and Siaya Senator Oburu Odinga hinted at his possible retirement a matter that attracted the attention of the Luo Council of Elders. Oburu further hinted that National Assembly Minority Leader and Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi would be the community’s spokesperson after the former Prime Minister hangs his political boots.

The announcement has since triggered political fights in Nyanza with more names being suggested for the communities spokesperson position.

Though Raila has kept off the debate about his retirement, names of former Jubilee Secretary General Raphael Tuju, governors James Orengo (Siaya), Anyang’ Nyong’o (Kisumu), Gladys Wanga (Homa Bay), ODM chairman John Mbadi and Embakasi East MP Babu Owino have been floated in different political forums.

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