Opaqueness and deceit in Azimio led some to jump ship

William Ruto and Alfred Mutua

Deputy President William Ruto shakes hands with Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua after signing a memorandum of understanding between Maendeleo Chap Chap and Kenya Kwanza Alliance on May 9, 2022. Looking on are other Kenya Kwanza principals Moses Wetang’ula (left) and Musalia Mudavadi.

Photo credit: DPPS

Conmanship among the political class is as old – if not older – as independent Kenya and is largely to blame for the instability that rears its ugly head at election time.

It is also responsible for the suspicion, divisions and lack of cohesion among various communities in the country. No doubt competition, and especially electoral competition, is bound to raise political temperatures, but the failure to keep pledges very often tips the balance.

The greatest story of the week was the claim by some political parties in Azimio that they had not been given copies of the coalition party’s agreement that had been deposited with the Office of the Registrar of Political Parties. Essentially, they could not vouch for the document because it was not made available to them even after they asked for it for weeks.

Two scenarios thus stand out: Either the political parties signed blank cheques which were later filled without reference to them, or what they agreed on was changed by nefarious forces clearly out to shortchange them.

This state of affairs is so serious that the Political Parties Disputes Tribunal granted Kilifi Governor Amason Kingi’s Pamoja African Alliance (PAA) an order staying the gazette notice on the party’s membership of Azimio.

In the same vein, Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua has, too, cried foul, saying the party he leads, Maendeleo Chap Chap, has been denied a copy of the Azimio agreement. The two outgoing governors have since joined Kenya Kwanza, the alliance that Deputy President William Ruto leads.

In Kenya Kwanza, the two political parties not only have copies of the agreement deposited with the Registrar, but they also negotiated each on its own, gave their input and are satisfied with the whole process and outcome. The negotiations were open and transparent, and the final document a product of a democratic exercise.

Political deceit is not new. The latest in a string of deceptions is the Jubilee one. Despite the President making a pledge, out of free will, to support Dr Ruto, he has orchestrated a political onslaught never seen in Kenya against a sitting Number Two. If you listen to the President, you wonder whether he is talking of the same man who was his partner in the past two elections and a repeat presidential poll to boot.

This is not just about preventing the Deputy President from ascending to the highest office in the land. The way things are shaping up, it is like the DP should not even have dreamt of aspiring to join the presidential race.

It is as if Dr Ruto was born to chaperone ‘more deserving’ others to the top and then take his place at the bottom, waiting for a chance to help push another more deserving heir to the top.

But it must be pointed out that the President has an inalienable right not to support whomsoever and to back whoever he desires. But that is where it ends. The rest must be left to the will of the people. It is, therefore, unnecessary, and indeed unpleasant, to create a national ruckus simply because Dr Ruto is soaring high ahead of the August election.

Barely two years after independence in 1963, President Jomo Kenyatta unleashed a similar battle against Vice-President Oginga Odinga. The allegations against him were outlandish and near laughable. One allegation was that weapons were ostensibly ‘discovered’ at the basement of the VP’s office, and that he was planning a take-over of government with the help of the Communist bloc.

Do these sound familiar?

Other vice-presidents – Daniel Moi, Mwai Kibaki, Josphat Karanja and George Saitoti – faced humiliation and obstacles in the execution of their duties and political careers. Some fell by the wayside, while others overcame and towered over their persecutors. Mr Raila Odinga and Mr Kalonzo Musyoka, too, have stories to tell of political deals gone awry. It appears the seed of political deception was sown in colonial Kenya. The imperialists killed African leaders when they resisted blatant theft of property or blatant injustice. The colonialists would feign the need to sue for peace and then they would strike.

The case of Koitalel Samoei of the Nandi is a good example. He had led the Nandi war against the British in the early years of the 20th century, the major point of difference being intrusion of the British into their land.

With Koitalel and his warriors clearly having an upper hand, colonial thug Richard Meinertzhagen invited him to negotiate a truce.

But the meeting was never to be. When Meinertzhagen arrived at the venue of the meeting with his delegation, Koitalel stretched his hand to greet him but the latter shot him at point black range, killing him instantly. A good intention was repaid with death.

Today, the leaders abandoning Azimio over opaqueness and deceit have reason to be afraid. The history of those who came before them is instructive enough.

The writer is in the William Ruto presidential campaign [email protected]

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