It has been common in Kenya’s history for leaders in their last terms to face rebellion
The President seems increasingly isolated as politicians from his Central backyard withdraw their support in favour of DP Ruto.
- Also standing in the way of Mr Kenyatta’s legacy are the many unfulfilled promises, especially in the fight against graft.
As Kenyans took to social media over the weekend to speculate over the whereabouts of a “missing” President Uhuru Kenyatta, State House spokesperson Kanze Dena said all was well and that the Head of State has been in the office and working.
"It's not right to say he has never been in public,” Ms Dena said in response to the comments.
Besides his absence from the public since he returned from China two weeks ago, the President has a full in-tray of unfulfilled promises 18 months into his presidency.
Politically, President Kenyatta looks isolated from the very politicians, mainly from Mt Kenya, who formed the bedrock of his electoral machine.
Keiyo South MP Daniel Rono says President Kenyatta’s powers have been curtailed tremendously by the handshake between him and opposition leader Raila Odinga.
“It seems Uhuru donated some of his powers to Raila. The presidency has been weakened but they are trying to fulfil their pledges,” said Mr Rono
Besides a floundering war on corruption, President Kenyatta is racing against time to fulfil his Big Four Agenda blueprint. He has less than 50 months remaining to do so and secure his legacy before the August 2022 general elections.
Big Four action plan details how the government plans to improve food security, affordable housing, universal healthcare and manufacturing and requires the goodwill of the House and Members of Parliament. President Kenyatta must, therefore, play his cards right.
With clear divisions emerging within the Jubilee Party, President Kenyatta has been lucky to have the Opposition MPs behind him following the March 9, 2018 “handshake” that ended the political acrimony between the two while, paradoxically, dividing Jubilee.
Although he has said he supports the handshake, Deputy President William Ruto has consistently been critical of Mr Odinga and also defied President Kenyatta’s call for a halt to political campaigns for the sake of development and unity.
While Mr Ruto’s team would hardly admit that his activities —church fund-drives , meet-the-people tours and hosting of delegations at his official residence — amount to political campaigning, they have all its hallmarks.
Another headache for the President is the loss of support from Mt Kenya leaders and their constituents to Mr Ruto, who has focused on building loyalty and followers in the region. The DP has been priming himself to take over from President Kenyatta in 2022 and has been relying on most of the elected leaders in the populous region to back his presidency. State House insiders say that the last thing Mr Kenyatta wants is to be a lame-duck President.
With only nominated MP Maina Kamanda and Nyeri Town MP Ngunjiri Wambugu on his side, the political register for President Kenyatta in Mt Kenya region is full of individuals who lost in the last general elections and who blame Mr Ruto for their loss.
Mr Kenyatta had made dramatic strides on the war on corruption until his State of the Nation address, which appeared to have slowed the progress, shortly after several of his cabinet secretaries had recorded statements.
While it was thought that Mr Kenyatta would use the goodwill to reshuffle and put order in the government, his failure to make hard decisions came as a surprise.