Uhuru's headache in 2022 succession politics

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We are at that political season when all eyes are on the next General Election. The homestretch in Kenya's succession politics is usually littered with betrayals, defections, formations of alliances, alignments and realignment.

Thus, it was not surprising when President Uhuru Kenyatta deliberately or accidentally opened a Pandora box on whom he might be considering to throw his weight behind in so far as game plan 2022 is concerned.

However, what might have been perplexing is that Deputy President may not be on his plan as he will finalizing the tail end of his Uhuruto term in office.

As bosom buddies, Uhuru and Ruto crisscrossed this nation in a grueling campaign in 2013 and 2017 donning uniform attires. While selling their bid, requesting Kenyans to entrust them with the responsibility to drive Kenya to a double digit economy, their symbiotic partnership also promised that after Uhuru finishing his two terms tenure, Ruto was going to carry on with the job left for the next 10 years. The nation was treated to a working relationship full of respect and friendship - lovebirds turning up in red ties and White T-shirt for state occasions - in their first term.

Therefore, Ruto is not being utopian to imagine that the dynamic duo should be reading from the same script as succession politics is hitting fever pitch.

But things have changed. Thanks to the handshake.

Raila entering on Jubilee's political scene has had far-reaching consequences. The handshake which was uniting Kenyans greeted the ruling party with disunity and invited a schism between Uhuru and Ruto allies in the rise of Tanga Tanga and Kieleweke skirmishes.

So that you have Uhuru acolytes focused on creating a legacy for the outgoing President on one side, and a belligerent combative Ruto enthusiasts driven by his presidential ambitions in 2022.

However, the ripple effects of this gamechanger handshake did also find its way into the opposition in so far as succession politics is concerned. It appears that everyone in the annihilated NASA is struggling to gain Uhuru's attention.

And the President has been flirting back

ANC party leader Musalia Mudavadi knew he had it all his teeth on the cake when at the burial ceremony of his departed mother the son of Jomo thought aloud that maybe it was time to break the Kikuyu Kalenjin duopoly by booking the house on the hill for a figure outside that region. Perhaps, he could be forgiven for taking this as a direct endorsement to his candidature because after all, that was the message voiced by every politician that gotten opportunity to address the mourners.

Months later, the message was a bit different from the head of state when he attended the Madaraka Day Celebration in Kisumu.

To a jubilant crowd, H.E thanked the former Prime Minister for "embracing national pain" over his "personal gain" - agreeing to a cooperation with the President without making any "voracious demand" from him. He wouldn't stop there.

"And whatever the future holds, I look forward to working with him for the people of Kenya," declared Uhuru.

Not forgetting that he treated former Vice President Stephen Kalonzo and Senator Moses Wetangula, on bereavement with the dangling carrots of supporting their candidature, it was clear that Uhuru was succeeding in sending confusion signals on who exactly he intends to rally behind as his heir.

But if his new position to support whomever the NASA principals agree to be worth the salt is to be taken seriously then the Deputy President will have to eat his own tomatoes. He will not be the first one to be shortchanged as it is now official that betrayal and lies are still the currency of Kenyan politics.

by MICHAEL AREGA AND EUGYNE OCHIENG.


Author

Eugyne Ochieng