In Summary
  • MPs in the Tangatanga group have already stated they will not support a referendum and instead want the money used on development projects.
  • A quiet political moment would not only have allowed President Kenyatta to achieve his Big Four Agenda but would have allowed him to manage the transition.

With a shaky political base and time running out on his presidency, President Uhuru Kenyatta is not sitting pretty.

His mood swings from anger to laughter, and he is easily irritated by criticism levelled against him.

Lately, he looks livid, and acknowledges as much, walking like a man with a huge political and social burden in a highly-indebted economy.

The president’s poise, sangfroid nature and his gentleness of yesteryear when among the ordinary people is slowly fading as the bulk of Jubilee Party MPs, who hitherto supported him, switch loyalty to Deputy President William Ruto.

That the president is outrightly facing a rebellion is now clear. On Tuesday, in an angry outburst in his mother-tongue, he promised a fightback.

Today, more than 100 Jubilee MPs will be meeting in the Rift Valley to rally together and to take on the president who had hoped for a quieter final term after trading horses with ODM leader Raila Odinga, his former political rival.

REFERENDUM

Mr Kenyatta and Mr Odinga’s Building Bridges Initiative, which resulted from the ‘handshake’ that ended their rivalry, has been the cause of political tension between the easily-identified Dr Ruto camp and others who gravitate around Mr Kenyatta or Mr Odinga.

The BBI had been marketed as the manifesto of the future that would heal an ailing nation.

But on Wednesday, and much to the chagrin of the proponents, a meeting organised by top government officials where MPs were to be taken through the BBI report by experts, was called off after Mt Kenya region MPs declined to attend.

This boycott came against a backdrop of a schedule released by MPs on where they would tour to discuss the BBI report.

President Kenyatta has now promised to return to the region, come January, to face his detractors: “They think I am a fool … that I know nothing.”

Despite the President having asked Kenyans to read the BBI report and make informed decisions, MPs in the Tangatanga group have already stated they will not support a referendum and instead want the money used on development projects.

BAD LEADERSHIP

While the President is yet to indicate whether he supports a referendum, and the BBI report has not called for any, the Wednesday outburst in Mang’u, Kiambu County, was an indicator that the future of Uhuru’s presidency is largely pegged on the success of this report.

Coincidentally, Mr Kenyatta is also not finding favour from Kenyans online, with people coming out to complain about his leadership style.

In the last few months alone, he has used strong language to remind all and sundry that he is in control despite his visits to the region being few and far between.

The relationship between the President and a majority of MPs from Mt Kenya region appears to be irrevocably broken.

LETHAL STING

Those who spoke on condition of anonymity said it is virtually impossible to reach the president and the few times he calls some of them, it’s always a top-down conversation.

But why they do not want to take him on directly and openly — without seeking anonymity — is another indicator that President Kenyatta could still provide a lethal sting in Mt Kenya and shape its politics.

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