In election, it’s everyone for himself, God for us all
Kenyans are witnessing rising political temperatures as the race to succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta gathers momentum, ahead of the 2022 General Election.
The major fallout between the President and Deputy President William Ruto has left the Jubilee Party fractured.
Ruto and his allies have effectively disembarked to join the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) party.
So intense is the friction in the Executive that the President last week dared his deputy to resign, if he is not happy with the way the country is being governed.
In a show of defiance, the DP has vowed to stay put, widening the rift. It is now evident that Parliament is going to be the next theatre for the intricate political battles engulfing the nation.
Observers aver that the differences were nurtured by the March 9, 2018 “Handshake” between Uhuru and ODM leader Raila Odinga, to the chagrin of the DP and allies.
Another twist to the equation came when the President said during the burial of ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi’s mother in January this year, that it was perhaps time for someone from another tribe to ascend to the country’s top leadership.
He was alluding to the fact that Kenya has since independence been led by members of two communities, the Kikuyu and the Kalenjin, pointing out the ethnic factor that remains a sticking point in national politics.
In making this statement, he appeared to be negating Ruto’s opportunity to succeed him, given that they had run on a joint ticket buoyed by the overwhelming support from their two communities that propelled them to the presidency.
While members of the other major ethnic communities lauded this pronouncement, Ruto and his allies did not take it kindly. Instead the DP stepped up his quest for the presidency. He has used position to establish a strong network and a massive campaign machinery.
He continues to make forays into vote-rich Mt Kenya region, and churches, preaching his “hustler” narrative and propagating an untested “bottoms up economic approach” to attract ordinary Kenyans, particularly jobless youth.
He is perennially hosting large delegations from different parts of the country at his official Karen residence and only the ban on public gatherings due to the Covid-19 pandemic has prevented his frequent “meet the people tours”.
However, it is his aggressive posture and dogged determination to ascend to State House, that continues to raise eyebrows.
He has gone even further to dismiss his rivals in denigrating terms, referring to them as “tribal kingpins” while saying God and hustlers are on his side.
He charges that his opponents are ganging up against him and dismisses the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI), recently thrown out in the Court of Appeal due to constitutional and legal shortcomings.
The DP claims that BBI was designed for the sharing of positions.
What he conveniently fails to say, is that going by the support from his close allies and the voting patterns in previous elections, Ruto also belongs to this category.
Contrary to his perception of the BBI, the initiative, save for its constitutional flaws, provided hope for national cohesion and strengthening of devolution.
Not even the pockets of UDA wins in by-elections and the hustler narrative can fully persuade the wider electorate, that the DP’s intentions are purely meant for the noble service of the people and national aspirations.
In his disdainful characterisation of his adversaries, it could be wise to remember that in elections, it is everyone for himself and God for us all.