Flamboyant lawyer Donald Kipkorir splashed a thinly veiled online threat to President Uhuru Kenyatta and his political hirelings at State House with one message: Don’t mess with us!
In it, he simply sought to remind the President that even though they were friends, the political flirting with retired President Daniel arap Moi and his son, Gideon, was not going to be tolerated—if the end result was to neuter the political muscle of the Deputy President William Ruto.
‘The Don’ was not happy that there appeared to be some kind of sanctioned coordinated “overt and covert efforts” meant to undermine the Deputy President. The lawyer, a very close ally of the Deputy President, said that while there was “some turbulence” in what he called “the Kalenjin Nation”, “there is no power vacuum”.
“Not now. Let those who want to support you without behaving like the spoiled Herod Princess who asked for the head of John the Baptist in a platter,” he wrote.
That was a direct jibe at Gideon, whom another ally of the Deputy President, Kipchumba Murkomen, the Senator for Elgeyo Marakwet County, has called a “political scavenger”.
This is the extent to which the DP’s camp is taking the underground moves by the people in power who are out to ensure that Ruto’s chances of succeeding President Uhuru in 2022 fail even before they hatch.
To understand the deftness of these political operators, you have to understand they have never welcomed Ruto as a co-president. They always insist he is a deputy, who has to depend on delegation, to do any official business. But Ruto, whose United Republican Party (URP) wing owns half of the seats in Cabinet and Parliament, sees himself as co-president.
Here’s the politics:
When Anne Waiguru was a powerful minister, she wielded so much power, as the boss in charge of the devolution billions that there was a parliamentary attempt, traced to the DP’s office, to kick her out.
That attempt failed, and instead Ruto’s Cabinet allies, and Ruto’s Chief of Staff were sent home. That did not stop the DP.
However, thanks to the wanton corruption and theft of public funds, Waiguru buckled under public pressure.
With their pawn in the cold, the powerful political operators then ensured Waiguru ‘sang’, implicating Murkomen, and Ruto’s private secretary, Farouk Kibet, in the scandal.
She flashed the evidence, and the matter is now stuck at the Public Accounts Committee, amid claims that there is increased pressure – and bribes — on the MPs to knock the names off the report.
That done, they triggered their Plan B, which was to groom Peter Kenneth, the former MP for Gatanga who lost in his 2013 presidential attempt, for a seat as Nairobi governor. Ruto’s close friend Eugene Wamalwa, who is the Minister for Water and Irrigation, was eyeing the seat.
But with the entry of Kenneth, his relative unpopularity and a whiff of trouble at the Galana-Kulalu irrigation scheme, he read the signs and gave up.
Now, Kenneth is soaring at least within Jubilee circles that some of the popular aspirants have ganged up against him, but he insists, it is the people who will decide. But even before the Kenneth wave died down, the political operators decided to foment trouble in the Rift Valley by trying to diminish, at least to the rest of the country, what is seen as the tight political stranglehold of the Deputy President on what is referred to as the Kalenjin Nation.
They preyed on the disaffection by Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto and Gideon Moi, the Baringo Senator – the same way they had done during the Kericho senatorial by-elections, where the DP faced humiliation during the campaigns, and even looked like his candidate was going to lose. Had the DP not camped there, and pleaded many times – at times apologising—to the voters, the subterranean arithmetic to oust him would have succeeded.
But he stayed the course, his candidate won. Then he blundered.
After the DP herded all his MPs into the Jubilee Party, save for the powerful Bomet Governor, who is referred to as the ‘King of the South Rift’ and Gideon Moi, whose Kanu party calls the shots in some parts of the region, the DP did not know that he had been cornered. The operators are openly flirting with Gideon, and managed to get him face-time with the President, and later a declaration that Kanu was backing Jubilee.
It is an arrangement that the DP never wanted. His argument was that, there has to be one party. In fact, when a few months ago in Kirinyaga, he gave Martha Karua the microphone and called her “a good woman” and asked her to join Jubilee. The operators, who back Waiguru, saw that as an endorsement for Martha, but Martha, a veteran politician, stuck to her Narc Kenya Party. She’ll need it to bargain later.
The DP is wondering, why Gideon is being given a special pass, to back Jubilee, hobnob with the President and still stay in Kanu.