President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto at State House, Nairobi during Madaraka Day celebrations on June 1, 2020.
President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto at State House, Nairobi during Madaraka Day celebrations on June 1, 2020.
Image: PSCU
By Reporter

Allies of Deputy President William Ruto are seeking to scuttle President Uhuru Kenyatta’s administrative agenda as the messy falling out within the ruling party gets merciless.

The Star has established the Ruto axis will file a court petition to stop the Building Bridges Initiative process. If successful, it will deal a blow to the President and ODM leader Raila Odinga’s push to amend the Constitution and change the governance structure.

The details emerged on Tuesday when one of Ruto’s foot soldiers  Kandara MP Alice Wahome  moved to court to block Nairobi Metropolitan Services boss Major General Mohamed Badi from attending Cabinet meetings.

Wahome hails from Uhuru’s Central backyard and her petition signals the defiance the head of state faces in his own home turf.

The country’s top two leaders seem to be engaged in many proxy wars as Nyeri Town MP Ngunjiri Wambugu  Uhuru’s lieutenant  also wrote to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations to probe Ruto and his allies for alleged incitement.

In another sign of the widening fissures in Jubilee, the DP missed a critical State House meeting chaired by the President to rally the Senate leadership to support the new revenue sharing formula.

The State House meeting was attended by Raila, seen to be the new force behind the President.

The Ruto wing is said to be at an advanced stage of filing a petition to stop the BBI process, which is expected to culminate in a referendum before 2022 general elections.

Sources tell the Star that Ruto fears if he is defeated in a referendum too close to the election, then the result will give momentum to his rivals who will ride on the plebiscite to win the 2022 polls.

“We expected the petition to be filed today (Tuesday). I am sure it will come through as soon as everything has been finalised,” a source who requested anonymity told the Star.

This will not be the first time an attempt will be made to disband the BBI.

A similar petition was lodged unsuccessfully with the High Court by former presidential candidate Akuru Aukot of the Thirdway Alliance.

Aukot had argued the initiative was unconstitutional and a waste of taxpayers’ money.

High Court judge John Mativo ruled, however, that President Kenyatta exercised executive powers that cannot be questioned by the court.

Ruto has publicly indicated he might rally his troops to oppose any amendments to the Constitution.

“I don’t know what is being amended…to the best of my knowledge, this whole push is by leaders, not by the people. People at this moment are concerned about jobs, about their livelihoods,” Ruto said late last month.

Wahome, one of Ruto’s closest allies, moved to court on Tuesday to block NMS boss Badi from attending Cabinet meetings, saying including him in the Cabinet was unconstitutional.

Wahome wants Badi barred from attending any meetings, terming him a “stranger”.

“To the extent there is now established an arm of government in contravention of the Constitution, the government is now established in a manner other than as provided by the Constitution. The same offends Article 3 (2) and is void,” Wahome’s suit papers read.

But Igembe North MP Maoka Maore told the Star that Badi has not been appointed to the Cabinet. 

“The general has not been appointed Cabinet Secretary. He’s been incorporated into Cabinet proceedings by the President. The fury against the move is not inspired by patriotism. It’s mischief amongst a section of the Jubilee Party that relishes the anarchy and chaos that has characterised City Hall,” the Majority Deputy Whip said.

Further, the President’s men have asked the Directorate of Criminal Investigations to investigate Ruto for alleged incitement.

In what seem to be tit-for-tat political games, Wambugu wrote to the DCI, asking officers to investigate Ruto over supposedly provocative phrases he has used in rallies.

The MP cited the phrases “watu fulani” and “watu wengine”, which he said were being used during political rallies by several key politicians, among them Ruto.

He also listed MPs Oscar Sudi (Kapseret) and Johana Ng’eno (Emurua Dikirr). 

Wambugu explained that Kenya has a history in which phrases and terms – completely harmless under  normal circumstances – end up being used as rallying calls to cause political conflict among various communities.

“A good example is ‘madoadoa’ or ‘kwekwe’ that were used liberally as political phraseology between 2000 and 2007, only to become rallying calls for pre-and post-election violence in the 2007 general elections,” he said.

In the letter to the DCI, Wambugu said the new phrases are assumed to refer to particular Kenyan political families. “Please note that the phrases ‘watu fulani’ and ‘watu wengine’ are politically ambiguous,” he said.

He added that there is fear these phrases could easily refer to certain ethnic communities.

“This means we must view these phrases as dangerous as the ‘madoadoa’ and ‘kwekwe’. I therefore request your office to investigate whether these phrases are meant to incite some sections of the Kenyan society against others.”

Bahati MP Kimani Ngunjiri told the Star that Wambugu is not acting on his own but has the President on his back, pushing him.

“There is a popular Kikuyu saying that states that when you see a tortoise on the table, it has been put by somebody,” Ngunjiri said on the phone.

Belgut MP Nelson Koech, a close ally of DP Ruto, dismissed Wambugu as a meddler who should not be confused to be speaking for the President.

“He is just a busybody capitalising on the differences by big wigs to postulate his useless opinions in the hope that they will be interpreted as the stand of the President. The President doesn’t even recognise his existence; he has never mentioned him even on a single occasion,” Koech told the Star.

“I have gone through his letter, a wordy document that raises nothing worth any attention. Does he want a clarification from DCI on whether ‘watu fulani’ is a criminal term or what exactly does he want? Because if that is the case, everybody in Kenya will be jailed because like today I have used that term severally while even giving instructions to my houseboy.”

Wambugu called for appropriate charges to be preferred against anyone who has used these phrases in political rallies if they are found to incite.

“This will ensure we protect Kenyans from immediate and future political inter-community conflict,” he added.

Speaking in Kitengela, Kajiado county, over the weekend, a bolder Ruto said his quest for the top seat is unstoppable and that he was ready and waiting for the ‘deep state and ‘system’.

The Deputy President said he was aware of a plot by the ‘deep state’ and ‘system’ to shatter his ambitions.

He pledged to continue to donate money to churches despite the criticism his actions attracted.