National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi finds himself in unfamiliar territory where as the most prominent official from the Mount Kenya region, he is being courted by multiple political factions beginning with Deputy President William Ruto’s United Democratic Alliance (UDA), the Mount Kenya Caucus spearheaded by Narc Kenya Party Leader Martha Karua, Raila Odinga’s Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) and One Kenya Alliance (OKA). He hails from a region which has become a political hotbed, where in the absence of the candidacy of Uhuru Kenyatta, the votes are within anyone who packages their messages and aligns with the right leaders.
Uhuru Kenyatta has made it clear that his preferred successor is ODM Leader Raila Odinga and being a longtime ally and personal friend of the President, the former Siakago MP has been careful to not be seen as the confrontational antagonist, and has aligned himself with neutral political players including Kivutha Kibwana and Mukhisa Kituyi.
Muranga Governor Mwangi wa Iria has been throwing jabs at him, largely because he lacks the tact and sophistication to navigate the roughshod of national politics, and has gone full throttle promoting his relatively-unknown political party.
VIDEO: Muranga Governor Mwangi wa Iria warms up for his presidential bid. pic.twitter.com/qHXHnqaWNQ
— The Kenyan Bulletin (@kenyanbulletin) October 7, 2021
The bone of contention was Justin Muturi’s anointment as the region’s spokesman by the Kikuyu Council of Elders, in a ceremony conducted by none other than Kenyatta’s kin Captain Kungu Muigai. Another faction of the Kikuyu Council which has been meeting with ODM leader Raila Odinga, led by Wachira wa Kiago, has been facing internal wrangles and according to rumours published by the Hustler Nation Intelligence Bureau (HNIB), he will soon be ejected from the position he’s held since 2011.
The stakes are getting increasingly high and after a trip to Mount Kenya region and engaging with voters directly, Raila Odinga is said to gained some traction and accumulated some significant political capital. Previously he was viewed as over-relying on middlemen like former Gatanga MP Peter Kenneth who may have lost touch with grassroot sentiment. Raila is also said to have hedged his fortunes on the flopped Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) which a vast majority of Kenyans have collectively rejected. As Raila Odinga wasted valuable time pursuing an unpopular initiative, William Ruto hit the ground running and consolidated his strongholds while exploring unchartered territory.
Another battle shaping up in the ODM will pit Peter Kenneth against Jimmy Wanjigi, both who hail from the Mount Kenya region, both fabulously wealthy and both eyeing to be Raila Odinga’s running mate in the 2022 General Election. The political dynamics have shifted drastically that traditional Raila allies like Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho will have to settle for charitable appointments in the ODM structure, due to lack of national appeal and political wow-factor to add value to the presidential campaign.
Perhaps Justin Muturi’s weakness is his fierce loyalty towards President Kenyatta, which has seen him downgrade his political activities and recalibrate his parliamentary role, his latest assignment being overseeing debate about the rising fuel and power costs in the country. The last 9 years in the August House have been volatile and the President’s agenda wouldn’t have seen the light of day without a loyal House Speaker. Indeed former House Majority Leader Aden Duale is having his own Damascus moment, lamenting about Uhuru’s betrayal where as he fought political battles on behalf of the President for the better part of his tenure, Uhuru seems to have forgotten and submitted his fate to his new-found ODM friends.
Despite wallowing in identical circumstances, Speaker Justin Muturi has opted to maintain some level of decency and decorum, knowing full well that the nature of politics is such that there are no permanent friends or permanent enemies; just permanent interests. However entertaining that Aden Duale’s “rants” are, they are not a means to the end, and he may just be sounding an alarm on the inevitable demise of his political career, following in the footsteps former mouth-pieces of political strongmen like Joseph JJ Kamotho.
Politics is a game of chess, not checkers and Justin Muturi has read into the game thanks to his vast experience gained over a long career working in both the legal and political realms of the country, and recently released a statement reiterating that he is not at war with President Uhuru Kenyatta.
Within the last couple of days, a new and unforeseen challenge has emerged, where a consortium of international journalists working under the banner of ICIJ, begun making public revelations about the financial affairs of among others, President Uhuru Kenyatta’s family, who uncharacteristically welcomed conversation on the #PandoraLeaks . Mainstream and social media chatter has begun escalating and its still unclear on the amount of information contained in those leaks, but the consortium says that they are in possession of data the size of 2.9 Terrabytes. Its not been established if they have information on other Kenyans offshore account holders or its just The President and his family.
What is clear though is that this matter which has gained prominent coverage on local and international media, is not ending anytime soon and will cause seismic shifts in the political landscape, possibly influencing the outcome of the 2022 General Election.
President Uhuru Kenyatta had made massive investments in his international image through powerful and influential lobbyists like former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who’s also been adversely mentioned in the Pandora Papers as having used a shell company to evade tax while purchasing an upscale London condominium for his wife Cherrie. Thanks to those investments, Kenya secured a seat at the United Nations Security Council and is now the rotational chair.
Now all those gains may have been undone and depending on the extend of damage, The President will have a lot on his plate dealing with this threat to his legacy.