In Summary
  • Once a fierce critic of ODM leader Raila Odinga, the Jubilee secretary-general is now one of his close associates, courtesy of the March 2018 handshake between the Mr Odinga and President Uhuru Kenyatta.
  • To his supporters, the handshake has given him a lifeline, an opportunity to reinvent himself, which has seen him become a bosom friend of the ODM leader and one of his key generals in ensuring that the ideals of the handshake remain intact.

Like the proverbial phoenix, Mr Raphael Tuju has risen from the ashes to become an influencer in Nyanza politics. Gone are the days when he was heckled at rallies, or when Rarieda constituents gave his development projects a wide berth. He is now a darling — the comeback kid.

HARSH CRITICISM

Once a fierce critic of ODM leader Raila Odinga, the Jubilee secretary-general is now one of his close associates, courtesy of the March 2018 handshake between the Mr Odinga and President Uhuru Kenyatta.

To his supporters, the handshake has given him a lifeline, an opportunity to reinvent himself, which has seen him become a bosom friend of the ODM leader and one of his key generals in ensuring that the ideals of the handshake remain intact.

But this has also come at a cost, because the CS has made new enemies and is facing a tough balancing act to serve his party and further his ambitions without hiccups.

Already, his association with the Opposition has ruffled feathers in the Orange party and attracted harsh criticism from Jubilee leaders associated with Deputy President William Ruto.

Political analyst Herman Manyora says those uncomfortable with Mr Tuju in ODM were expressing their fears that he could be eyeing a position in Nyanza but those in Jubilee feel he has been too hard on the DP, who has expressed an interest in the presidency in 2022.

However, he notes that Mr Tuju has the blessings of both Mr Odinga and the President, and is simply a “spanner boy of the handshake”.

“Tuju is doing what the President would want to do but can’t do openly. His position on matters of national interest as the Jubilee secretary-general cannot be wished away,” said Prof Manyora.

FRESH ONSLAUGHT

He went on: “Tuju is not speaking as his own person. He is simply a spanner boy for the handshake. A grade one spanner boy with the toolbox to ensure the handshake vehicle moves undeterred.”

Mr Tuju, who has continued to receive a barrage of criticism from DP Ruto’s Tangatanga camp, is also facing a fresh onslaught by some ODM leaders, who feel his involvement in the inner circles of the party is detrimental to their survival.

His comeback appears to have unsettled all parties across the political divide.

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