In Summary
  • Mr Ruto accuses Mr Odinga of engineering political manoeuvres aimed at undermining him and destroying the ruling Jubilee Party.
  • The ODM party leader and his allies have responded with similar vitriol, accusing Mr Ruto of undermining the handshake between President Kenyatta and Mr Odinga.

  • Plainly put, these are two valuable players that the President will need delicate balancing skills to have them both on one side

There are two dilemmas that rattle the human skull: How do you hang on to someone who won't stay? And how do you get rid of someone who won't go?” This dilemma, as famously captured by America’s renowned filmmaker Danny DeVito, may well be President Uhuru Kenyatta’s political agony of the moment.

On the one hand is a loyal Deputy President and on the other a bitter political opponent turned ally — all keen at guaranteeing his last term in office is smooth and successful.

Unfortunately for the President, the rivalry between Deputy President William Ruto and Opposition leader Raila Odinga runs so deep that its recent eruption should not come as a surprise.

MANOEUVRES

Mr Ruto accuses Mr Odinga of engineering political manoeuvres aimed at undermining him and destroying the ruling Jubilee Party. The ODM party leader and his allies have responded with similar vitriol, accusing Mr Ruto of undermining the handshake between President Kenyatta and Mr Odinga.

Plainly put, these are two valuable players that the President will need delicate balancing skills to have them both on one side. Similarly, falling out with either of them just one year into his term is an unattractive option.

Conceding the President would be happier if Mr Ruto and Mr Odinga got along well, Jubilee vice chairman David Murathe nonetheless says the President is more focused on delivering his Big Four Agenda to secure his legacy.

HANDSHAKE

“Contrary to the fears of some, the President has no headache or dilemma whatsoever from or over the two gentlemen. Through the historic handshake, Raila has accorded the President an opportunity to peacefully execute his development agenda and shape his legacy, while Ruto is helping in the day-to-day running of government,” says Mr Murathe, a close ally of the President.

Nonetheless, the allies of Mr Odinga and Mr Ruto have a less rosy outlook. National Assembly Minority Whip Junet Mohamed is categorical that the Deputy President is frustrating the handshake and disrupting Mr Kenyatta’s development agenda.

Last week, the Suna East MP exclusively told Sunday Nation that the Deputy President was behind attempts to block the passage of the President’s memorandum amending the Finance Bill 2018 during a chaotic House sitting last month.

FRUSTRATE

The aim, claimed the ODM MP, was to show that the DP had control of Parliament and frustrate the deal between the President and the opposition leader. Mr Ruto and his allies have since accused Mr Odinga of working to wreck Jubilee.

According to Kericho Senator Aaron Cheruiyot, it is unlikely that the dilemma faced by President will fizzle “as long as Raila continues to hide behind the handshake to cause rifts within our party”. The Jubilee senator says before the Orange party leader surfaced, the ruling party had a clear succession plan.

No amount of negotiations or mediations, says Mr Cheruiyot, will convince some in Jubilee to embrace Mr Odinga, “unless he stops undermining the Deputy President”.

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