Inside Politics

Inside State House meeting: Ruto wanted to propel v******e, strike power deal with Raila but Uhuru pulled a fast on him

Sunday, March 27th, 2022 16:36 | By
President Uhuru Kenyatta (left) and ODM leader Raila Odinga shake hands on the steps of Harambee House, Nairobi on March 9, 2018. PHOTO/Courtesy

Deputy President William Ruto had, immediately after the 2017 elections, planned to strike a power deal with Raila Odinga, with a view to executing an impeachment against his boss President Uhuru Kenyatta, in order to ascend to power.

However, Uhuru pulled a fast one on his deputy by reaching a deal with Raila first through the Handshake that happened about five months after the repeated presidential vote, and which saw Uhuru rely on Opposition leaders for support after the DP assembled a cabal of a section of Jubilee leaders to fight him.

The president, in a meeting with cultural elders and political leaders from the Gikuyu community at State House, said while his deputy projected a friendly face in the public, behind the scenes, Ruto was scheming how to cause a premature end of his presidency through an ouster.

This led to the acrimonious fallout between the two, who when they came to power in 2013, displayed camaraderie that was never witnessed before in the country between a president and his principal assistant.

Uhuru said the fallout between him and his deputy whom in 2013, he had pledged to support in this year's elections, was because of a raw hunger for power, to an extent that he wanted to inherit him even before the term was over, and was keen on sabotaging him for political expediency.

Ruto, according to Uhuru, who was making the shocking revelations about the fallout for the first time, was keen on reuniting with Raila, not for peace and unity in the country which was heading to the dogs due to the disputed polls, but to exploit the Opposition's support to feed his insatiable hunger for power.

The plot, according to the sources who attended the meeting, was for the DP to widen the enmity gap between Uhuru and Raila which started in 2007 by fueling the protests that had killed several people and destroyed properties, and use it to win the heart of the former premier in his bid to topple Uhuru through parliament.

The opposition which had accused Uhuru of rigging their victory was staging weekly protests in Nairobi and other major towns where they had support, and their MPs had launched a serious onslaught against the government, promising not to allow government agenda to sail in parliament.

"The president said he kept telling Ruto they needed to do something to end the political violence that was escalating. But the DP was not interested. In fact, he kept telling Uhuru to sustain a hard-line position against the opposition, including arresting and prosecuting Raila because of swearing himself in. This is despite the fact that people were dying and properties were being destroyed," an elder who attended the meeting told People Daily Digital.

The meeting was attended by over 3000 people, drawn from members of the Kikuyu Council of Elders, Kiama Kia Ma, male governors, senators, MPs and aspirants from his central Kenya backyard who are supportive of him.

The elder added: "The president said he later realized his deputy wanted the violence to escalate so that he could use it as a bait to negotiate with Raila by painting Uhuru as an atrocious leader and a failure, then use the opposition support to impeach him but he forestalled it by reaching out to Raila for the Handshake which brought peace."

Wachira Kiago, the chairman of Kikuyu Council of Elders, and who was among those who attended the meeting said while the revelations by Uhuru are shocking, to most of them, they didn't come as a surprise, saying it was clear that from the onset, the DP has been keen on outshining and belittling Uhuru.

"As elders, we could see how things were going on. How the president was being undermined and vilified by his deputy and his supporters. He is an elder and we were happy that we heard it from his mouth about what led to the fallout," Wachira said.

Raila, the president told the attendees, had his initial demands, which included the opposition getting a share of government, which Uhuru rejected, a move that nearly scuttled his plans.

However, the Orange Democratic Movement leader later agreed to ‘put Kenya first’ but agreeing to cross-ranks with the president without the unreasonable demands which has seen Uhuru eventually endorse him as his preferred successor.

This was the second time Uhuru is accusing Ruto of planning to use the 2017 post-election violence to advance his political ambitions at the expense of the country's peace and stability.

During the Sagana Three meeting last month, where he pitched a strong case for Raila's candidature, Uhuru signaled that his breakup with his principal assistant was partly contributed by his greed for power at the expense of people’s lives and peace of the country during the 2017 post-election violence, and his lying to the public that he was not part of the March 9, 2018 handshake.

While he was keen on ending the violence that claimed several lives and that saw businesses destroyed during the protests by the National Super Alliance leaders who were claiming their victory had been stolen through handshake , Uhuru claimed, Ruto was pushing him to take a hardline position that would have led to more deaths and destruction “because they had the government”.

“How could I stay put? If I did, am I the one who is suffering or the one in Mathare? Someone was telling me to stay put because we have the government. No one would have raided my house, the ones who were advising me, no one would have raided their homes but the ones who elected me, who is guarding them?” he said.

The president, in a move to suggest that the plot by his deputy to weaken him politically started even before the 2017 elections, said he allowed his deputy to oversee Jubilee Party primaries, but he interfered to ensure that his (Ruto) loyalists won while people who would have stood him up in favour of the region's interests were shortchanged.

During the State House meeting, Uhuru explained to the elders and leaders why he had decided to back Raila, and the danger of his deputy ascending to power.

According to Kiago, they agreed to help the president explain to people why he has been persuading them to reject his deputy's candidature in favour of Raila.

"We agreed that we will use our positions to help Uhuru talk to the people in our region, particularly the young people and explain to them why he wants things to go the way he says (voting Raila)," he added.

According to Wachira, the president is keen on peace and unity of the country, adding that besides tasking them to talk to his community, they will reach out to other communities in the country to ensure Mt Kenya region is in harmony with the rest of the country.

Kieni MP Kanini Kega said that Uhuru told them in the State House meeting that he tried to persuade his deputy to accept to negotiate with the opposition to end the post-election violence, which mostly affected the Kikuyu community living and doing business in Nairobi, Kisumu and Mombasa but he refused for political reasons.

"Uhuru told us that in 2017, the country was going through a very difficult moment because there was no peace. There was violence in Nairobi, Kisumu and Mombasa and the president was concerned about the trend. He tried to make people think about peace but there was someone (Ruto) who refused because his people were not suffering," the MP said.

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