The powerful Kenyatta family is facing a storm. And it is over a sly, shrewd man who campaigned tirelessly for one of them.
A section of members of the First Family are piling pressure on Uhuru Kenyatta to cease reprimanding his deputy William Ruto in public.
Led by First Lady Margaret Kenyatta and the president’s private secretary Jomo Gecaga who is also his blood nephew, they are telling the head of state that his attacks on his deputy are making him unpopular particularly in Mount Kenya region that voted for him to a man in the last polls.
The deputy president currently enjoys overwhelming support in Mount Kenya region. So much so that blasting him can earn you an immediate lynching.
They are also worried that Uhuru has remained mum even as some cabinet secretaries openly castigate Ruto, a move that is painting the government as divided, directionless and, as Ruto would put it himself, rudderless.
The first family, according to sources, wants Uhuru to adopt a neutral stand like that of the First Lady who has been attending events hosted by Ruto’s wife, Rachel and Raila’s wife, Ida.
Margaret won accolades after she attended a function hosted by Rachel where the two women stepped up their dedication to the empowerment of women.
The function, held on November 29, was also attended by Oludolapo Osinbajo, the spouse of Nigerian vice-president Yemi Osinbajo, Gender CS Margaret Kobia and Ruto’s mother Mama Sarah Cheruiyot.
A few days later, Margaret attended another function hosted by Ida.
During Ida’s event, the duo posed with branded T-shirts for the launch of the Beyond Zero 2020 Half Marathon but the move assumed a political angle with some leaders questioning who gave Ida a T-shirt branded 0022.
Insiders aver that Margaret is disturbed that her husband might leave the presidency a dejected man if the tide turns against him particularly in Mount Kenya region.
Already, Uhuru’s mood swings from a pleasant to a petulant fellow are unbecoming of a head of State and portraying him as a man who is not in charge of his affairs.
It is allegedly Mama Maggie who directed State House spokesperson Kanze Dena to dismiss claims that Ruto was locked out of a meeting between the president and Raila at Bomas of Kenya.
Moments after the launch of BBI at Bomas, a video of Ruto standing outside while Uhuru and Raila were holed up in a meeting did rounds on social media and many thought that the writing was on the wall for the DP.
The First Family, according to sources, is concerned that the president’s key advisers are finding it difficult to address meetings in Mount Kenya region and the same is likely to be replicated in Rift Valley.
They fear that Uhuru is likely to be heckled if he takes Raila to Central when they start marketing the Building Bridges Initiative report in Jubilee strongholds.
They fear the ground in Jubilee strongholds is hostile to Uhuru and Raila, fears also communicated to the president by the National Intelligence Service.
Already, some senior government officials close to Uhuru are finding it difficult to address public meetings in their home counties.
Three weeks ago Kibicho openly demonstrated his anger after an event he was attending turned chaotic, taking a dramatic turn.
Kibicho and Matiang’i had led about 30 MPs to a fundraiser in Ndia, which turned chaotic after nominated MP Maina Kamanda refused to acknowledge Ruto as Uhuru’s partner.
Kamanda angered the crowd when he heaped praises on Raila for his union with Uhuru under the BBI while ignoring to mention Ruto. The nominated MP was forced to cut short his speech.
When the heckling intensified, an angry Kibicho lost his cool, took the microphone and demanded for normalcy, telling those “who were not interested in what was being said to leave the venue”.
He also accused them of acting primitive, expressing disappointment that a function he had organised and invited leaders from across the political divide was being turned into a political battlefront.
Pundits aver that the First Family believes Uhuru’s attacks on Ruto are making the deputy president more popular by earning him voters’ sympathy.
The pro-Ruto MPs who Uhuru has been attacking are also becoming heroes in Mount Kenya region due to their defiance while those supporting the president are appearing as villains.
Last week the pro-Ruto Tangatanga group scuttled a meeting called by the State House-leaning group under the guise of the Mt Kenya Foundation at Ole Sereni hotel in Nairobi.
Meeting invitations had been sent out to all Mt Kenya MPs by deputy chief whip in the national assembly Cecily Mbarire and senate deputy chief whip Irungu Kang’ata.
It read: “Mheshimiwa, further to our message please note that you are invited for a breakfast meeting of all Mt Kenya MPs and Senators on Thursday 5th December 2019.
“Agenda: Being taken through the BBI report by a team of experts. Please be punctual.”
Upon realising that the meeting would flop, Kang’ata and Mbarire quickly consulted with State House official Njee Muturi and called off the meeting in fear of embarrassment.
“Mheshimiwa, after several consultations, we have decided to cancel the Mt Kenya Breakfast Meeting, scheduled for Thursday 5th December 2019 at the Ole Sereni Hotel from 7.30am. We will continue to engage you further, appreciate all your views and will communicate at a later date. Have a nice evening,” Kang’ata and Mbarire said in another text to senators and MPs.
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