A divided presidency fuelling national crisis

It is now quite clear that there is a sharp split in the top national leadership, with President William Ruto not reading from the same script with Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua. This could not have come at a worse time, as the government, which is hardly two years old, grapples with a youth revolt.

The past few days have been devastating, with what started as peaceful protests turning into deadly confrontations between the police and Generation Z demonstrators. Scores of lives have been lost, with hundreds injured and property destroyed. Urgent measures are required to stop the country’s descent into chaos and mayhem.

The DP says some people in Kenya Kwanza don’t respect him and the position he holds as the President’s principal assistant. This is the strongest indication that the two are drifting further apart.

A sharply divided administration cannot withstand the rising onslaught against the government. Even after President Ruto backed down on the controversial Finance Bill, 2024, the leaderless young activists have issued more demands.

The President is seeking discussions with the GenZ, but has already agreed to drastic cuts on public spending, as the heavy taxes the government was eyeing will not be forthcoming.

He is now fighting on two fronts, including this internal feud with DP Gachagua. However, their apparent differences on various issues will leave the administration sharply divided and denied the common response the leadership desires at this time. Interestingly, the DP says he will engage the GenZ in discussing the issues they have raised, but not within the mechanism being set up by his own boss.

Also, while DP Gachagua has accused National Intelligence Services (NIS) Director-General Noordin Haji of failing the President by not briefing him in time on the sharp opposition to the Finance Bill, the top sleuth directly reports to the Head of State.

But most important now is the need to seek ways and means to defuse the national tension and restore normality by addressing the concerns of the youthful groups and other Kenyans unhappy about the way their country is being managed.