One of the highlights of the week was a heated argument between former National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale and Orange Democratic Movement party chairman, John Mbadi.
At the heart of the issue was the Handshake. While Duale claimed that it was the Handshake which ruined Jubilee, Mbadi maintained that the Handshake found a president with an already fractured relationship with his deputy.
A newspaper from 15 years ago has now surfaced, and puts the issue to rest. In the Daily Nation article dated June 10th 2006, headlined, “ UHURU-RUTO CONTEST TO GO ON”, Uhuru and Ruto, then still in KANU, are engaged in a fierce supremacy battle. Incidentally, although Uhuru was the KANU leader, this didn’t seem to matter to Ruto.
William Ruto was then KANU Secretary General, and in what will be not only ironic but also pretty incredible, ODM was once again in the middle of their wrangles, but this time, it was the other way around.
The 2005 Constitutional Referendum had just been held the previous year, and ODM had swept to a decisive victory, and was at the height of its popularity. The young Ruto had been dazed by the euphoria and new energy of the Orange Movement, and wanted to rope in KANU against Me. Kenyatta’s wishes. This scenario can easily be termed as, “It was Ruto’s handshake with Raila back then, that was causing problems”.
At the time of the article’s writing, the party was holding a capacity building seminar in Machakos.
Prior to the meeting, Kenyatta had dismissed ODM as an amorphous outfit with no agenda, while Ruto had warned that KANU risked an embarrassing defeat if it went for it alone in the 2007 polls.
As it would later play out, both men would forgo their ambitions for different parties. William Ruto ended up bolting out of KANU and joining Raila Odinga in ODM, while Uhuru dragged KANU into a coalition with PNU, which was in support of Mwai Kibaki’s reelection.