The weekend’s political temperatures shot through the roof, with President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto going bare-knuckle against each other, with the latter promising to investigate his boss’s involvement in Kenya’s economic woes if he is elected President.
The Azimio La Umoja One Kenya coalition intensified its campaigns, spending days in Nyanza and Nairobi over the weekend. Also, Westlands MP hopeful Nelson Havi described unkindly Amani National Congress party leader Musalia Mudavadi.
Here is all you need to know about Kenya’s politics as of July 4.
Keep off my manifesto - DP Ruto to Uhuru
DP Ruto yesterday told off President Kenyatta over his criticism of the Kenya Kwanza alliance manifesto, saying the plan was compiled after consultations with thousands of Kenyans.
The DP said 90,000 Kenyans from all sectors of the economy had contributed to the manifesto and this is why “some people have a problem with the details in our plan”.
Speaking at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC) during the 100th International Cooperative Day on Saturday, President Kenyatta criticised DP Ruto for making promises he would not fulfil.
He told the DP he had the opportunity to serve Kenyans during his tenure in the Jubilee administration and do the same things he is promising but he did not.
But addressing residents of Laare town in Igembe North on the second day of his second campaign tour of Meru County, Dr Ruto asked the President to “stop worrying”, saying he would take the country forward if he wins the August 9 polls.
He said the Big Four agenda was derailed when Mr Kenyatta started working with Mr Odinga.
Mudavadi is very slow, lacks leadership skills, Havi says
Former Law Society of Kenya (LSK) president Nelson Havi has dismissed ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi as “very slow” and lacking leadership, saying this is why he had to abandon Mr Mudavadi’s Amani National Congress for DP Ruto’s United Democratic Alliance (UDA).
Mr Havi, who spoke as he promised to ensure that the two-thirds gender rule is enacted in the first 12 months if he is elected Westlands MP on August 9, said Mr Mudavadi’s lacklustre leadership skills mean that he has to be pushed into action.
The Constitution requires that not more than two-thirds of appointive and elective positions in public bodies should be filled by people of the same gender.
Mr Havi was a member of Mudavadi’s ANC party before he switched to UDA.
The two parties are members of the Kenya Kwanza alliance alongside Ford Kenya and others, supporting DP Ruto’s bid to succeed President Kenyatta.
In an interview with the Nation, Mr Havi described DP Ruto as a vibrant and focused leader who knows what he wants, unlike his “uncle” who he said lacks leadership skills and is out of touch with reality.
Day I nearly slapped Uhuru - DP Ruto
Deputy President William Ruto was once locked in so serious a heated argument with President Kenyatta shortly after the annulment of their 2017 election win that he nearly slapped his boss, a leaked audio recording reveals.
In the recording, whose contents were verified by Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria and President Kenyatta’s cousin, Captain Kung’u Muigai, DP Ruto is heard addressing Kikuyu elders at a meeting held on Friday at his official residence in Karen, Nairobi, following the unprecedented judgment of the Supreme Court.
DP Ruto told the elders that President Kenyatta was so disturbed by the Supreme Court judgment, which ordered a rerun of the presidential election, that he nearly gave up the fight for a second-term. Dr Ruto said Mr Kenyatta only agreed to run again because the DP insisted.
The rerun was boycotted by the opposition Nasa presidential candidate, Mr Odinga.
The DP said he went to State House to meet the President on September 1, 2017 after the Supreme Court had delivered its decision, where he held a tense discussion with him.
“So, ndiyo huyo… Oh, sasa, hii maneno, sijui nini, mimi sitaki, mimi nataki kuenda Ichaweri, sasa mimi sitaki, wacha tuachane na hii kitu” (Here is the President and he says he is not keen on taking part in the repeat elections and that he wants to go to Ichaweri (his home village in Kiambu County), that we should abandon this thing).
“Mimi nikamwangalia, nikamwambia, ‘Wewe’! Ni vile tu nilikua na heshima, ningemchapa kofi. Ati sisi tuache?” (I looked at him and told him, ‘You!’ It’s only that I was being respectful, I would have slapped him. How could we just quit?)
Stop calling me names as you prepare for defeat - Raila to Ruto
Mr Odinga yesterday told DP Ruto to stop calling him names and prepare for a tough political duel in the August 9 elections.
Mr Odinga, who said he was confident of winning the presidency, accused Dr Ruto of using derogatory language against him during his campaigns.
“Bring it on. I will defeat you (Ruto),” said Mr Odinga at a campaign rally at Agoro Sare High School in Homa Bay County on Sunday.
“He keeps calling me mganga (witchdoctor) and jamaa wa vitendawili (the old man who loves telling riddles). What he needs to know is that the country is ripe for change," Mr Odinga said.
The Orange Democratic Movement leader asked voters in his Nyanza backyard to turn up in large numbers and vote for him on August 9 to ensure he wins the presidency and appealed to voters in Migori, Homa Bay, Kisumu and Siaya counties to vote as a block to boost his chances of being elected Kenya’s fifth President.
He asked Nyanza voters to stop the “gini wasekao” (we have won) attitude, saying this could lead to voter apathy and deny him the opportunity to garner crucial votes.
I will investigate Uhuru once Kenya Kwanza wins elections
DP Ruto has vowed to form a judicial team to investigate the actions and policies of President Kenyatta if he wins in August, sparking sharp reactions from Jubilee.
Mr Ruto is also gearing up to reverse a number of Mr Kenyatta’s policies if elected, even indicating that they will not fear going after the President once he leaves office.
In the Kenya Kwanza manifesto launched on Thursday night, Mr Ruto said if the coalition wins, he would form an inquiry into state capture and a tribunal on enforced disappearances and violation of human rights. Both could potentially mean going after the President and how he ran the government. He also vowed to create eight tribunals, task forces and review panels to reverse Mr Kenyatta’s policies.
Under the ‘Ending State Capture’ sub-topic, Mr Ruto promises to establish “within 30 days, a quasi-judicial public inquiry to establish the extent of cronyism and state capture in the nation and make recommendations”.
In response, during his speech at the National Ushirika Day celebrations, President Kenyatta accused DP Ruto of a plan to take the country back to the old days following his proposal that he would allow an inquiry into the conduct and policies of the Jubilee administration.
Mr Kenyatta said the suggestions were retrogressive, accusing his deputy of constantly attacking a government that he is part of.
“And that is why I get worried when I hear people just talking randomly. They had been given a job, but instead, they have decided to move around politicking. They keep promising things, yet they had the opportunity to perform. Why did they not perform then?” he said.
Azimio leaders slam DP Ruto for vowing to probe Uhuru
Several Azimio leaders have Coalition criticised DP Ruto for threatening to probe President Kenyatta if he is elected.
The DP had said he would set up a commission of inquiry to investigate “state capture”.
Addressing a rally in Chuka town, DP Ruto said he was not against his boss, adding that he was not competing against him.
“We have no problem with Uhuru Kenyatta. We respect him and nobody will interfere with his retirement. But I’m asking the President, with due respect, to allow me to face Mr Odinga because I am not competing with him. Uhuru Kenyatta, please, give me space I compete with Mr Odinga.”
Led by Narc Kenya’s Martha Karua, Azimio leaders, castigated the DP for threatening to investigate Mr Kenyatta. Speaking in Ol Kalou, Nyandarua County, they vowed to protect the President, adding that it is the DP who needs to be investigated.
The debate was triggered by Nyandarua Governor Francis Kimemia, who demanded that the DP apologise, adding that the statement was in bad taste and intended to spoil the reputation of the Head of State.
“We have had elections and presidential successions in this country but have never witnessed disrespect shown to the President by the DP; he is the one we are going to investigate when Azimio takes over,” said Mr Kimemia.
In Siaya, ODM lawmakers, led by Junet Mohamed, said Dr Ruto’s plans were a recipe for chaos. Nominated legislator Maina Kamanda said Mr Ruto was insulting President Kenyatta and the people of Mt Kenya.
Raila reconciles Wanga and Mbadi, asks them to work together
Mr Odinga yesterday reconciled Homa Bay Woman Representative Gladys Wanga and ODM national chairman John Mbadi in a bid to solidify his support in the county.
Mr Odinga decided to bring the two legislators together after a bitter contest for the Homa Bay ODM governor’s ticket. Some of Mr Mbadi's supporters jumped ship to support former Nairobi governor Evans Kidero, who is vying for the seat as an independent candidate.
Ms Wanga and Mr Mbadi were considered front-runners in the race to succeed Governor Cyprian Awiti.
But a consensus meeting chaired by Mr Odinga settled on the woman rep as the ODM flagbearer in the race.
Mr Mbadi was promised a state appointment if Azimio forms the next government.
Mr Odinga, who was in Homa Bay on Sunday for a series of rallies, used the opportunity to reconcile the two leaders and have Mr Mbadi’s supporters back Ms Wanga.
Mr Mbadi, who coordinates Azimio campaigns in Nyanza, had indicated that he would not campaign for ODM candidates at the grassroots.
Mr Odinga asked the two leaders to work together, saying he had settled on Ms Wanga as the ODM flag-bearer for the interest of women.
He added that there would be another opportunity for Mr Mbadi to contest and win the Homa Bay governor’s seat.
DP Ruto blames Uhuru, Raila for high cost of living
President Kenyatta and Mr Odinga are to blame for the economic challenges facing the country, DP Ruto said on Saturday and blamed the Kenyatta administration for the high cost of living.
Speaking in Tharaka Nithi County, Dr Ruto and his brigade said Mr Kenyatta had betrayed them by welcoming Mr Odinga into the government.
DP Ruto said in the first term of the Kenyatta administration, the country witnessed great development milestones, including electricity connections and tarmacking of thousands of kilometres of roads.
He said they could account for the first term of the Jubilee administration and accused Mr Odinga of interfering with the government.
Addressing a rally in Marimanti, Prof Kithure Kindiki said Mr Kenyatta had betrayed DP Ruto and his supporters and that he had a clear plan on how he would mistreat them even when they were campaigning for his second term.
Prof Kindiki said when Mr Kenyatta was looking for votes for his second term, he promised that if he won, he would retain his friends and allies in government.
“But when we elected Uhuru for the second term, he betrayed us. We came to discover that he had already decided he was going to betray all his lieutenants during his second term,” he said.
Nyamira locals stunned as Azimio leaders land in seven choppers during campaigns
It was a show of might as Mr Odinga, his running mate, Ms Karua and Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i landed in Nyamira for several rallies in seven choppers.
Thousands of Nyamira residents donned in orange and white caps, representing the Azimio colours, came out to receive them.
Residents were held at bay as the choppers landed, with a huge cloud of dust covering them even as they fought to move closer to the aircraft, giving the police a hard time controlling the excited crowd.
Mr Odinga and Ms Karua rubbished the Kenya Kwanza manifesto, saying Dr Ruto and his allies did not say how they plan to fight corruption, noting that a country cannot develop with massive graft eating into its economy.
“We have now come for the third liberation and this time round I want you to stand with me to fight the common enemies, illiteracy, disease and poverty in our county. Let us all rise up and do away with leaders who are giving false promises,” Mr Odinga said.
Ms Karua condemned the Gusii stadium chaos, when she was teargassed last Thursday, forcing her to abruptly end her speech.
"I cannot be scared by such small smoke. I came here today to tell you that we will defeat them. I came here to tell you that our government will take care of women’s needs as well as youths, men, the elderly and persons living with disability," Ms Karua said.
Whoever wants to fight Matiang’i, should first start with me - Raila
Mr Odinga has defended Dr Matiang’i from attacks by Mr Ruto, with the Azimio presidential hopeful saying the Cabinet secretary will be a key cog in his government if Azimio wins the August elections.
This was during campaigns in Nyamira last Friday where Mr Odinga and his running mate, Ms Karua, hosted by Dr Matiang’i and other Nyamira leaders, described the CS as a brave warrior who has worked hard for the country and assured Gusii residents that he will be in Azimio's government.
They said Dr Matiang’i had become a punching bag for Kenya Kwanza leaders.
"I have come here at home with your son Dr Matiang’i. He is the person who is fought most by the other team. He is hated so much. Whoever wants to fight my son, Matiang’i, should first start with me. Matiang’i is with me and after the August 9 election, he will be with me in government," said the Azimio leader.
“I will defend your son. Together, we will complete the development projects we have promised. If you fight him, you are fighting me," added Mr Odinga.