The media have been awash with claims of rift between President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto over new Cabinet composition. The duo denied the reports. This is not the first time there have been reports that the two leaders are not reading from the same script. It all started after they won the 2013 presidential election. The Opposition tried to weaken the ruling Jubilee in vain.
Some forces even tried to use politicians allied to Uhuru and Ruto, playing the 2022 elections. But whenever allegations of rifts were made, Uhuru and Ruto would come out to re-assure Kenyans of their unity. “We know our political competitors would want us to part ways but we will not create any room for them,” the DP once assured. For now, Uhuru’s team is working on helping him leave a strong legacy. This cannot be done without a strong Cabinet that will help implement his “Big Four” agenda. It cannot be done the focus solely on 2022 succession politics.
There are those who feel that Uhuru should only appoint individuals who have been loyal, and who were influential in his re-election bid. Their argument is understandable, but they forget one thing—Ruto’s success in 2022 State House race will depend on how well the Jubilee administration delivers in the next five years. Therefore, the first assignment of those who wish the DP well should be to build on Uhuru’s legacy. Reports that Baringo Senator Gideon Moi and his two allies are eying Cabinet slots is said to trouble Ruto’s team. But Ruto and Moi do not even compare by any standards, hence no reason for concern. Speculations on the alleged rift between Uhuru and Ruto were fuelled by the latter’s absence at State House, Nairobi, when the President unveiled part of his Cabinet. This was in contrast to a similar function in 2013 when they stood side by side.
Ruto has since dismissed reports of a rift and asked those peddling the rumours to stop engaging in baseless and useless debates. The DP made it clear that the Constitution bestows the prerogative to appoint the Cabinet solely on the President. It is erroneous for the media to read too much into Ruto’s absence at State House for the occasion.
My attention was drawn by Nyeri Town MP Wambugu Ngunjiri’s post on his Facebook page. He stated that, in 2022, his vote will go to the leader who was committed to ensuring Uhuru’s legacy was secured. His statement was interpreted to mean that Central Kenya would not automatically back Ruto’s bid in 2022. I disagree with those attacking Ngunjiri. He was right. It is obvious Uhuru will be succeeded by a leader who will prove he can work for Kenyans.
Joseph Ndonga contributed to this article: The writer is a political analyst and blogger