Why Uhuru locked out Ruto allies from key Sagana meeting
Eric Wainana, George Kebaso and Mercy Mwai
The fallout between President Uhuru Kenyatta and a section of Mount Kenya leaders seems to have hit a new low after the Head of State decided to bar some politicians from his scheduled meeting at Sagana State Lodge in Nyeri county.
Mostly allied to Deputy President William Ruto, the leaders protested State House’s decision not to invite them to the two-day Sagana Three meeting which is likely to discuss the Building Bridges Initiative, among other issues.
By convening the key meeting without his detractors, it is probably a signal that the President has resolved to forge ahead with his agenda by working with like-minded leaders in the region.
He is expected to use the talks to consolidate his strategy to restore his grip on his political base as he enters the homestretch of his presidency.
There was a strong indication that key decisions could be announced with State House expected to address a press conference this morning ahead of the talks that kick off today.
“We expect the President to explain the BBI and its bearing on his legacy and how it affects the region.
He will also explain the dangers of the Hustler versus Dynasty narrative,” said Nyeri Town MP Ngunjiri Wambugu.
The MP, a strong Uhuru supporter, said the decision to lock out Tanga Tanga MPs from the meeting was informed by the fact that they had already made their mind to oppose BBI on which the President has staked his legacy.
“The President stopped walking around with people who don’t support his agenda. He resolved to work alone a long time ago. Even his deputy absconded duty,” said Wambugu.
Another politician, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said President Kenyatta was “very upset” with how MPs from his backyard have been attacking him.
Kieni MP Kanini Kega said the meeting will come up with strategies to implement the President’s agenda.
“We cannot be with Tanga Tanga in the same meeting. They are talking about 2022 politics and we are not interested in that and that’s why they have not been invited,” he said.
Reached for comment about the meeting’s agenda, State House spokesperson Kanze Dena said: “We are going to give a brief on the President tour and his itinerary.”
She could not be drawn to discuss details. The Sagana meeting takes place even as some of the President’s key allies signalled that the Head of State may crack the whip to instil discipline among leaders in the ruling Jubilee Party.
Letter to President
Senate Majority Leader Irungu Kang’ata was among alleged signatories of a letter addressed to the President and which appeared to have been prompted by the decision to leave Tanga Tanga MPs out of the meeting.
“Having not been invited to this meeting, and although we were denied an opportunity to speak at the last meeting, coupled with your inaccessibility to us, has necessitated that we respectfully address a number of issues to you through this open letter,” said the controversial letter who authenticity was disputed by some of the alleged signatories.
Yesterday, Jubilee vice-chairman David Murathe revealed that officials are working behind scenes to impeach Ruto “as a matter of priority” over claims of insubordination.
“William Ruto will be impeached for gross insubordination and being disrespectful of the Presidency.
Take that to the bank. Parliament will prioritise the impeachment of the DP as its first business of the year.
The plan for his impeachment has been on the cards for some time now. We are doing numbers and we are satisfied that what we have is enough for us to impeach him,” Murathe said yesterday during an interview with Kameme TV.
The former Gatanga MP asked the President to tame Ruto and his supporters, accusing the DP of radicalising young people using his hustler narrative, which, he warned, was a ticking time bomb.
Murathe said the President’s team would “easily” raise the requisite numbers to send Ruto home.
He argued that if Jubilee Party alone with 126 members was able to remove Garissa Township MP Aden Duale as National Assembly Majority Leader, impeaching Ruto will be much easier with the support of ODM, Wiper, Ford Kenya and Kanu lawmakers.
“He has been on record saying he does not believe that corruption can stop one from becoming president.
You cannot be the Deputy President of this country and go on record saying being corrupt cannot stop from you becoming president,” he said.
Further, the Jubilee official disclosed that a second purge against Ruto’s allies was in the offing and it will target politicians supporting the activities of the United Democratic Alliance (UDA).
In particular, he figured nominated senators Isaac Mwaura and Millicent Omanga.
The latter will be facing disciplinary measures for a second time after surviving a plan to sack last year for skipping a Parliamentary Group meeting convened by Uhuru at State House.
Also being targeted is Mary Senata who is also accused of championing activities of UDA, which is associated with the DP.
“The Jubilee constitution is very clear that if you propagate or promote the interests of another party, you are deemed to have left the party.
We must deal with this issue and we will give our recommendations to have them kicked out of the party.
Anyone who is nominated, the likes of Omanga, Mwaura and Mary Seneta who are supporting another party, those ones will be kicked out of the party,” he said.
Amani National Congress leader Musalia Mudavadi and Siaya Senator James Orengo have backed efforts to impeach Ruto.
Criticising the President
Mudavadi argues that it was “immoral and hypocritical” for Ruto to enjoy perks of the position he occupies and still continue criticising the President who he deputises, accusing him of poor leadership.
Yesterday, Murathe echoed ODM leader Raila’s remarks that the Mount Kenya electorate owes him a political debt, saying that his family had for long supported leaders from the region to ascend to the presidency.
“Raila’s debt should be prioritised because it dates back to 1961 when Jaramogi Oginga Odinga rejected the position of Prime Minister at the height of independence in favour of founding President Mzee Jomo Kenyatta, Raila’s cooperation with Kenneth Matiba and his famous 2002-declaration support of retired President Mwai Kibaki,” said Murathe.