A section of members of the First Family are piling pressure on Uhuru Kenyatta to cease reprimanding his deputy William Ruto in public.
The family members who include First Lady Margaret Kenyatta and the president’s private secretary Jomo Gecaga are telling the head of state that his attacks on his deputy are making him unpopular particularly in Mount Kenya region that voted for him to a man in the last polls.
The deputy president currently enjoys overwhelming support in Mount Kenya region.
The First Family members are also concerned that Uhuru has remained mum even as some cabinet secretaries openly castigate Ruto, a move that is painting the government as divided, directionless and, as Ruto would put it himself, rudderless.
This comes as Ruto also piles pressure on Uhuru to sack CSs who are undermining him, arguing their actions go against collective responsibility which dictates the cabinet speaks in one voice.
The CSs attacking Ruto include Interior Fred Matiang’i, ICT’s Joe Mucheru and Trade’s Peter Munya as well as Matiang’i PS Karanja Kibicho. Ruto men have chided the four saying that was it not for Ruto, they would not be in government.
The first family, according to sources, wants Uhuru to adopt a neutral stand like that of the First Lady who has been attending events hosted by Ruto’s wife, Rachel and Raila’s wife, Ida.
Margaret won accolades after she attended a function hosted by Rachel where the two women stepped up their dedication to the empowerment of women.
Rachel had brought together local and international leaders at Kasarani in Nairobi to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Joyful Women Organisation, which she founded.
The function, held on November 29, was also attended by Oludolapo Osinbajo, the spouse of Nigerian vice-president Yemi Osinbajo, Gender CS Margaret Kobia and Ruto’s mother Mama Sarah Cheruiyot.
A few days later, Margaret attended another function hosted by Ida.
During Ida’s event, the duo posed with branded T-shirts for the launch of the Beyond Zero 2020 Half Marathon but the move assumed a political angle with some leaders questioning who gave Ida a T-shirt branded 0022.
According to the politicians, mainly from Tangatanga, the choice of 0022 engraved on Ida’s jersey was a strong political statement.
Insiders aver that Margaret is disturbed that her husband might leave the presidency a dejected man if the tide turns against him particularly in Mount Kenya region.
Already, Uhuru’s mood swings from jolly to grumpy are portraying him as a man who is not only not dignified, but one who is not in charge of his affairs. There are however others who say such habits are common with drunkards.
His outbursts and declaration that come January he will go to Mount Kenya region to face his detractors who think he is a fool and know nothing about the political developments have exposed him as an injured president.
The First Family members, sources add, believe Uhuru is fighting his own shadow since nearly all the leaders across the political divide have pledged to back the BBI report and hence his detractors are of his own making.
Insiders add it is the First Family members who directed State House spokesperson Kanze Dena to dismiss claims that Ruto was locked out of a meeting between the president and Raila at Bomas of Kenya.
Moments after the launch of BBI at Bomas, a video of Ruto standing outside while Uhuru and Raila were holed up in a meeting did rounds on social media and many thought that the writing was on the wall for the DP.
The First Family, according to sources, is concerned that the president’s key advisers are finding it difficult to address meetings in Mount Kenya region and the same is likely to be replicated in Rift Valley.
They fear that Uhuru is likely to be heckled if he takes Raila to Central when they start marketing the Building Bridges Initiative report in Jubilee strongholds.
They fear the ground in Jubilee strongholds is hostile to Uhuru and Raila, fears also communicated to the president by the National Intelligence Service.
Already, some senior government officials close to Uhuru are finding it difficult to address public meetings in their home counties.
Three weeks ago Kibicho openly demonstrated his anger after an event he was attending turned chaotic, taking a dramatic turn.
Kibicho and Matiang’i had led about 30 MPs to a fundraiser in Ndia, which turned chaotic after nominated MP Maina Kamanda refused to acknowledge Ruto as Uhuru’s partner.
Kamanda angered the crowd when he heaped praises on Raila for his union with Uhuru under the BBI while ignoring to mention Ruto. The nominated MP was forced to cut short his speech.
When the heckling intensified, an angry Kibicho lost his cool, took the microphone and demanded for normalcy, telling those “who were not interested in what was being said to leave the venue”.
He also accused them of acting primitive, expressing disappointment that a function he had organised and invited leaders from across the political divide was being turned into a political battlefront.
Similar conduct was displayed by Matiang’i, who told off Ruto’s allies who have been accusing Kibicho of undermining the DP.
He said that whoever is unhappy with what happens in the Office of the President should direct their anger to him and Uhuru, but leave Kibicho out of it.
Insiders further add that the First Family believes Uhuru’s attacks on Ruto are making the deputy president more popular by earning him voters’ sympathy.
The pro-Ruto MPs who Uhuru have been attacking are also becoming heroes in Mount Kenya region due to their defiance while those supporting the president are appearing as villains.
This heroism was evident when Kiharu MP Ndindi Nyoro was arrested. Scores of Kiharu residents staged a demonstration which forced the authorities to abandon plans to charge the MP.
The NIS, according to our sources, has briefed the first family that the likes of Ndindi are gaining the support like that accorded to Kenneth Matiba in the run-up to the 1992 general election.
Hence, there is a likelihood of all Uhuru’s allies losing their seats in the 2022 general election.
Last week the pro-Ruto Tangatanga group scuttled a meeting called by the State House-leaning group under the guise of the Mt Kenya Foundation at Ole Sereni hotel in Nairobi.
Meeting invitations had been sent out to all Mt Kenya MPs by deputy chief whip in the national assembly Cecily Mbarire and senate deputy chief whip Irungu Kang’ata.
It read: “Mheshimiwa, further to our message please note that you are invited for a breakfast meeting of all Mt Kenya MPs and Senators on Thursday 5th December 2019.
“Agenda: Being taken through the BBI report by a team of experts. Please be punctual.”
This drove the MPs mad with some going ballistic hurling insults to Kang’ata and Mbarire for daring treat them like common voters in need of direction.
Upon realising that the meeting would flop, Kang’ata and Mbarire quickly consulted with State House official Njee Muturi and called off the meeting in fear of embarrassment.
“Mheshimiwa, after several consultations, we have decided to cancel the Mt Kenya Breakfast Meeting, scheduled for Thursday 5th December 2019 at the Ole Sereni Hotel from 7.30am. We will continue to engage you further, appreciate all your views and will communicate at a later date. Have a nice evening,” Kang’ata and Mbarire said in another text to senators and MPs.
Uhuru’s latest outburst against the DP was in his home county, Kiambu where, in utter shock the audience listened as Uhuru as he said Kenyans are not fools and politicians should stop dictating to them what they should do with the Building Bridges Report.
“Every time they come, it is just lecturing you on what you should do. You are the ones who know what you will do and I know Kenyan people want peace and unity and that their money is used in a way that benefits mwananchi,” Uhuru said in Kikuyu language which even seemed to cheapen him more as president. It is worth noting that Kenyans have never heard former presidents Daniel Moi and Mwai Kibaki address in vernacular.
His comments came a day 57 legislators from Mt Kenya while meeting at a hotel in Embu said any constitutional amendment in relation to the report should be parliament-led something that Uhuru is against.
According to insiders, the first family is also concerned that Ruto is earning the voters’ sympathy and if he decides to resign he will deal Uhuru a big blow.
The DP has also avoided retaliation and is now emerging as a victim of the political dynasties out to ensure their continued hold on power.
Last week legislators allied to him made a bold declaration that they would support the BBI, a move that left the president in an awkward position as he is now left to fight his own shadow.
Insiders add that the First Family members are backing a cabinet reshuffle to weed out CSs attacking Ruto and non-performers.
They are convinced the anti-Ruto CSs are not adding any value to Uhuru’s legacy and the sooner they are replaced the better.
This comes as Ruto piles pressure on Uhuru to appoint a substantive National Treasuty cabinet secretary.
The DP is pushing for a Kalenjin to occupy the docket previously held by Henry Rotich, also a Kalenjin. Rotich was relieved of his duties after he was charged with graft.
The acting Finance CS is Ukur Yatani, an ally of Baringo senator Gideon Moi.
But the men calling the shots at the National Treasury are Julius Muia, the principal secretary and Nelson Gaichuhie, chief administrative secretary and a former Subukia MP. Both are key allies of the president.
Joho works on Coast 2022 lineup – Weekly Citizen
Mombasa governor Hassan Joho has renewed his war against Coast elected leaders who are perceived to be supportive of William Ruto’s 2022 Presidential bid. Currently, Kwale Governor Salim Mvurya is under siege from hostile MCAs suspected to be under instructions of Joho through county speaker Sammy Ruwa.
Ruwa has been a longtime Joho sidekick and has also acted as his legal adviser in the past. He has been fronted for governor seat twice but rejected. He is speaker for a second term. Towards the end of Mvurya’s first term, he has been a Ruto man. He has no time for Joho, insisting Kwale is not an extension of Mombasa county. In the last general elections, Joho had vowed to ensure Mvurya was defeated at the ballot. But this was never to be after the Mombasa governor fell out with Chirau Mwakwere who was a sure bet against Mvurya on the then popular ODM ticket.
After Mwakwere bolted out of ODM to Wiper, Joho turned to little known Issa Chipera as party candidate. Chipera literally became minced meat for Mvurya who easily beat him and made a comeback on a Jubilee ticket. Mvurya is grooming his deputy Fatuma Achani to succeed him in the next general election but observers say this is a tall order. Joho on the other hand is reportedly pushing Crop Development PS Hamad Boga for the Kwale seat against Mvurya’s candidate and Mwakwere. Another Ruto man on Joho’s radar is Kaloleni MP Paul Katana. Recently, the legislator was discharged as a member of the parliamentary investment committee in actions said to have the Mombasa governor’s hand.
Ironically, Katana was Joho’s PA when he served as Kisauni MP. But it appears other than fighting Katana for aligning himself with Ruto, he never wanted him to be MP in the first place. In the 2013 general election when Katana first contested and lost to little known Gunga Mwinga, there were allegations that ODM insiders had rigged him out. Currently, Joho is said to be financing the political activities of Mwinga to undermine Katana in the constituency. Katana has said severally that his cooperation with Ruto is because of the handshake between Raila Odinga and President Uhuru Kenyatta. “I’m a loyal member of ODM with full respect to my party leader. I also support the handshake and that is why I have been working with DP Ruto to further development in my constituency,” the legislator was quoted as saying.
He has also said his cooperation with Ruto is not for selfish reasons but for the benefit of his constituents. He says the DP has presided over high profile funds drives towards public projects in his constituency. The MP says some of the people fighting him have never assisted Kaloleni to move forward but wants leaders who can bootlick them.“I’m independent-minded and I work for the interest of my people who elected me and have no time for sycophancy,” Katana says. Mohammed Ali of Nyali constituency and a close ally of the DP is another one whom Joho is scheming against. He is pushing his cousin Said Abdalla aka Saido against the Jicho Pevu.
Jicho Pevu’s recent rising political profile after he filed a motion to impeach transport CS James Macharia over chaos at Mombasa port has alarmed the Joho camp. In spite of the rejection of the motion by Speaker Justin Muturi, Ali has become a hero in Mombasa. Last week, pro-Joho Mombasa MPs led by Mvita’s Abdulswamad Nassir were doing damage control. They toured the port and pleaded with the KPA management to put out a notice affirming that usage of SGR for containers upcountry was optional. This was meant to cool the heat against them after residents began collecting signatures to recall them for failing to support Jicho Pevu motion. Another Joho political foe Aisha Jumwa of Malindi constituency is politically wounded and the Mombasa governor no longer cares what she does or says. The Malindi MP’s self-inflicted woes have dimmed her 2022 Kilifi governor bid.
Fresh political formation in Siaya ahead of 2022 – Weekly Citizen
There are plans afoot to drop Alego Usonga MP Samuel Atandi from a leading role in Senator James Orengo gubernatorial campaign team. Observers point that the surprising decision was reached after it became clear that the controversial legislator was no longer appealing to the majority of voters.
There were earlier reports of an inside analysis conducted within Siaya senator campaign inner circle that hinted the disadvantages of trusting the MP with a major role yet he was also facing stiff opposition from notable politicians in the region. The development debate comes hot on the heels of a video that went viral showing the evidently intoxicated legislator dancing suggestively during a house party attended by women, as his Gem counterpart Elisha Odhiambo cheered. Weekly Citizen has established that political formations are already regrouping in Siaya ahead of 2022 general election and a section of political leaders including top ODM party officials from Alego Usonga are not happy with Atandi’s quick move to front Senator Orengo for the county’s governorship.
Area governor Cornell Rasanga has confronted the lawmaker on a number of occasions describing his early campaigns in support of Orengo as a lack of respect for his office. The protest by the governor sparked off an anti-Atandi wave as he was immediately joined by a host of formidable politicians from Alego Usonga in castigating the MP accused of overstepping his political mandate. The local ODM party leadership led by Alego Usonga branch chairman John Orwenjo, and secretary Paul Jura reaffirmed that the party had crowned Rasanga as their bona fide patron and it was, therefore, his duty to offer political direction on matters regarding his successor. The Orengo-led group which also brings together Gem MP Elisha Odhiambo and his Rarieda counterpart Otiende Amollo has been roundly accused of leading early full-scale political activities at the expense of development.
MCAs chairman Sylvester Madialo warned Atandi to stop creating confusion among voters, adding he should hold his horse and wait for the party whistle to be blown or prepare to equally lose his seat at the ballot. The leaders including Township MCA Obiero Otare, Vincent Odawa (North Alego), Judy Okumu (West Alego), Joseph Mboha (South East Alego), and Winnie Otieno (nominated) have loudly questioned how Atandi would deliver for Orengo when he is standing on a politically shaky ground. It is claimed that the Siaya senator blocked Atandi from using his chopper to escape from a crowd that turned rowdy during a food distribution to flood victims in his constituency. It is reported that trouble started after the MP barred Usonga ward MCA Madialo from addressing his voters after the food distribution. People with disabilities who had attended the event reportedly bayed for his blood after he gave them a paltry sh100 prompting Orengo to deny the lawmaker a chopper ride in fear that associating with him would jeopardize his 2022 governorship bid.
Rogue Kisumu NGO’s money minting gimmicks – Weekly Citizen
Various stakeholders and residents of Kisumu county have called upon Nyanza regional police commander Noah Mwivanda and his DCI counterpart Daniel Kipsoi, to investigate the activities of the chairman of an NGO called Magnum Environment Network Michael Nyaguti. The NGO, it is claimed, is a briefcase one with no donor funding surviving fully on extortion and threats. By last week, a victim was planning to institute private criminal charges against the NGO.
They are accusing Nyaguti of extortion and blackmail of people under the guise of encroaching on water catchment areas and flouting environmental laws failure of which he always resorts to going to courts as an interested party of the said social vice. One of the victims narrated that sometimes back, he was developing rental houses near Lake Victoria and had been given all the required documents from the county, Nema, and all relevant authorities to commence his work only for Nyaguti to appear menacing at the site with a group of people he called officials of Magnum Environment Network accompanied by some people who looked like police officers who demanded that I show them documents in regard to what I was doing. Most developers ranging from real estate to hospitable industries are saying that they are really undergoing rough times in the hands of the said Nyaguti who on most occasions is accompanied by some rogue police officers who intimidate and threaten their respective targets with arrests. The said Nyaguti had sometimes back attempted to extort Sh5 million each from former governors Evans Kidero and Jack Ranguma, together with a senior leading civil servant under the guise that they had bought land which should have been part of Lake Victoria.
When the trio was adamant that they would not give him any money, he sued them saying they had encroached on wetlands. The same Nyaguti also sued the Kisumu county government and Nyanza Golf Club which he accused of reclaiming the wetland at the mouth of River Kisat without convening a public participatory forum, as part extortion antics but his bid has fallen on deaf ears. He had also sued Kenya Ports Authority, Kisumu after the parastatal had ordered beach management units out of its land after collecting thousands of shillings from the said victims. Recently together with other activists, they stormed Western offices of Kenya Wildlife Service demanding that they investigate a ring of cartels believed to be working in cahoots with officers to defraud victims of wildlife attacks of their compensation. After his request was rejected, he called a meeting in Kisumu with some of the victims who had not been paid and tried to convince them to give him the power of attorney so that he could press them for their payment. Efforts to get Nyaguti’s comments were fruitless while a senior KWS officer said that they have a clear policy on how KWS compensates. “KWS has no agreement with anyone to peruse payments,” he said.