ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi has warned that President Uhuru Kenyatta’s discord with his deputy William Ruto could trigger a split among the country’s security forces.
The head of state and his principal assistant have bitterly fallen out, causing a war in government as Uhuru is determined to block Ruto’s ascension to power in 2022.
In a no-holds-barred interview on Wednesday with the Star, Musalia said the falling out between the President and his deputy who is the second in command portends danger for Kenya.
The former vice president said the division could also spill over to the civil service and cripple service delivery. Musalia also served as Finance Minister.
It was the first time Musalia spoke publicly on the deteriorating ties between the country’s top two leaders.
The ANC boss said while Kenyans are not privy to the origins of the sharp differences, the strife is both unprecedented and offers an eye-opener for 2022 presidential candidates.
“All I can tell you is it is unprecedented that there can be such division that affects service delivery. It creates a split in the Cabinet, it creates a split in the civil service. And it can be extended to security agencies, which can be very dangerous for this country, and any country,” Musalia said.
Musalia was skeptical of any efforts to reconcile the two, including the proposed church-driven mediation, declaring the Jubilee marriage is irretrievably dead.
“Right now, I don’t know if anything can be done, because we have seen through the media that religious leaders are trying to intervene. I don’t know whether they have been able to get the boat on time, but my take is that the boat has sailed,” the presidential aspirant said.
Catholic bishops last week offered to mediate reconciliation talks to reunite the President with his deputy. Ruto swiftly welcomed the gesture but it was rebuffed by Uhuru’s allies.
Musalia served as vice president under the old Constitution as an appointee of the President. He urged presidential candidates to be wary of whom they pick as their running mates.
“It is a lesson we learn that you must make sure of a thorough check on the person you want to deputise you. If you are not careful, we could have a recurrence of the current situation that can harm the growth of the country and affect the economy,” he said.
He went on, “As far as I am concerned, it is not healthy for the country and we need to reflect so that in 2022 we can correct the situation.”
Musalia criticised the DP’s style of politics, insisting it is necessary for Ruto to respect the President, instead of “angrily chest-thumping and undermining Uhuru”.
Referring to Jubilee’s first term in office, Musalia said there was a strong notion in DP Ruto’s camp that the presidency was shared equally between the two men.
“…. But going into the second term, we are seeing a situation where that notion may have been overstretched…at the end of the day, there is the boss and basic rules are that you must respect your boss,” Musalia said.
The ANC boss criticised the DP’s temperament, saying the country should reject leaders who exhibit unbridled anger and open emotions.
“I have been saying the most dangerous thing is to have an angry leader in office. If you have an angry leader, he is likely to administer in anger and that can easily be dangerous,” Musalia said.
While the DP’s enthusiasts perceive him as a humble politician who has risen from a chicken vendor to become the country’s second in command, his critics view him as a vindictive politician.
The ANC boss denied President Kenyatta was pushing opposition leaders to unite to defeat Ruto next year, saying that has never been part of their agenda in State House meetings.
“The President did talk to us but at no point did he tell us to follow a certain arrangement. People want to generate rumours out of our conversations,” he said.
In a swipe at his opposition colleagues, the former VP warned that some politicians were out to invoke the President’s name to create a narrative that they had been asked to back a certain candidate
“More importantly, I also emphasise that we should also respect the President. You cannot make the President a source of rumours and innuendos. We should respect that office,” he said.
The President has held at least three meetings with opposition chiefs including ODM boss Raila, Musalia, Kanu chairman Gideon Moi, Wiper boss Kalonzo Musyoka and Ford Kenya leader Moses Wetang’ula.
Musalia said the One Kenya Alliance that includes, Kalonzo, Wetang’ula and Moi will stick together till the end. He said they will pick the presidential candidate next year to avoid repeating the same “tragedy” that befell Nasa.
“Once bitten, twice shy. We want to make sure that when we are closing a coalition agreement, it is done properly and there is more consensus, and we are doing it in a situation where everybody would be committed to honour what we are signing,” he said.
He went on, “Because we have seen a lot of mistrust in other arrangements we have to do everything to minimise such a kind of a scenario.”
Speculation was rife that Uhuru had cornered the bigwigs to back Raila’s presidential candidature amid revelations that the President could have settled on the ODM boss as his successor.
The DP has claimed the President is crafting a 2022 succession deal with their 2013 and 2017 rivals. He has said that since the handshake with Raila, the Jubilee projects and programmes stalled.
Ruto has said his hustler nation movement will revolutionise the economy and offer jobs to the millions of Kenyans whom he has called hustlers. That plan had been envisioned by Jubilee but was crippled by the handshake, the Deputy President says.
The President’s relationship with Ruto started to deteriorate after Jubilee’s victory in the 2017 General Election. It began to do decline after the President’s handshake with Raila, then the Opposition boss.
The relationship hit an all-time low last year, after the President launched a ruthless purge of Ruto’s allies in government, Parliament and the ruling party. Ruto was totally sidelined.