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The succession tantrums; kingmakers testing waters
By Charles Bazenga | Updated Jan 12, 2018 at 08:29 EAT
Nyeri town MP Ngunjiri Wambugu
  • Talks about who is suitable for the Presidential spot in 2022 are slowly becoming hard to ignore
  • With the recent speculations of an assumed rift in the ruling party, leaders from different divides have stated their stand in who will support who
  • These talks are a game played by kingmakers to identify a strong candidate for 2022

Recently, we have experienced political tension in Jubilee camp. This is as a result of utterances by Jubilee politicians from the Central Kenya region; some hinted that the region will not automatically support the Deputy President, William Ruto in his 2022 presidential bid...they also said that the region owes the deputy president nothing politically.

Others stated that the region will be solidly behind DP owing to loyalty and support that he has accorded president Uhuru Kenyatta. The absence of the Deputy President at the statehouse when six cabinet nominees were announced by the president raised eyebrows and sparked debate- that there was a rift between the president and his deputy!

Through his Twitter account, HE William Ruto scorned those insinuating that there is a rift-he urged them to cease the unnecessary political debate and let the president provide a team that will steer the transformation agenda as in the Jubilee manifesto. 

All these push and pull could be choreographed by kingmakers who aim at achieving the following;

What is the alternative for rift valley region

Since 2013 when Uhuru Kenyatta sought the presidency successfully, Mr. William Ruto has been on his side. Politically speaking, this makes president Kenyatta and his supporters indebted to Mr. Ruto- that Uhuru should endorse him as the best-placed leader to succeed him. It's evident that some quotas are not comfortable with this and prefer to look elsewhere for Kenyatta's successor. 

The storm over succession is a tester- what would the rift valley region do should Mt. Kenya region abandon Ruto? Will they find a formidable alliance outside GEMA nation? This has caused suspicion and panic in the ruling party. The culmination of this was when two MP from Mt. Kenya (both of Jubilee Party) differed sharply on social media on whether or not the region will support DP in 2022.

The Presidential announcement of cabinet nominees without his deputy as usual elicited debate on the alleged rift between the two. There's lots of talk about it until when the Deputy President tweeted that people should hold their horses and let the transformation agenda unfold.. that they should let the President give "us" a team to steer the agenda. 

Generally acceptable candidate

Choreographed succession debate helps the kingmakers identify the most preferred candidate by Kenyans. If it's someone they favor, well and good but if it's someone they dislike then they will coin a negative narrative that will break that individuals campaigns. 

Possible formidable alliances

Politics is a game of numbers. Communities with large populations are of interest to kingmakers. With their candidate in place, the kingmakers will approach populous communities and offer them the running mate position and other post-election assignments e.g. ministerial positions, state jobs, government boards membership etc. Since every community thinks of what is at stake for them. It's all about interests. 

Constitutional change needs assessment

In times of vast political interests, politicians think of more political offices just to accommodate targeted regions/persons. In our situation, the most contemplated office is that of the Prime Minister. Creation (creators) of the office would aim at attracting and enticing an elusive region or block, for instance, Western region. 

Dynasty embarrassment

It's not wrong to have leaders from one family. In fact, Leadership is a blessing from God. However, we must agree that one nation can't be ruled by just a few families (dynasties). This is for the simple reason that we've got many other talented/gifted Kenyans who can lead the nation. A group of individuals who favor dynasties is working hard to ensure that the rotational power handover among the dynasties prevails. It's in order to say that the kingmakers could be working against the dynasties this time round. A push for the continuation of dynasties might not work especially if Kenyans vote soberly.


The political actors need to focus on delivering their promises to Kenyans at both the county and national level. The anxiety and uncertainty caused by such political talks only destabilize the nation. 

Hon Charles Bazenga

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