A day after showing a united front on Sunday, now the Tanga tanga legislators have spent the better part of the day holed up in a meeting at Castle Gardens to find ways of mitigating the Echesa crisis which has tarnished Deputy President Ruto’s image.
The legislators led by Gatundu MP Moses Kuria, Kandara MP Alice Wahome, Kigumo’s Ndindi Nyoro, among others, are expected to address the media shortly.
Most probably they will defend DP Ruto on his involvement in the scandal in which his office was used by the scammers led by former Sports CS Rashid Echesa.
More to follow….
Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko was ejected from the main dais at Kabarak as the funeral ceremony for the late President Daniel arap Moi was underway.
Security officers barred him from entering where other leaders were seated.
Nairobi Governor at Kabarak Photo/Courtesy
Dressed in a black suit and gold-coloured spectacles, Sonko was seen standing on the sidelines for several minutes.
An unidentified man wearing a blue tag then approached him and seemed to be explaining why he would not be allowed in.
Unlike Tuesday when Sonko was allowed to sit at the podium with other leaders at Nyayo Stadium, Wednesday was a different scene altogether.
It was not immediately clear why the officers prevented him from sitting among the leaders.
It never ceases to amaze me, the complexities involved in Kenya’s politics.
Never mind the reality that politics in Kenya is completely intertwined with everyday life, but the deeply rooted belief system where certain individuals acquire almost godlike reverence from their supporters, baffles me. And when the reaction is hate, it is a total hatred that can spark off a civil war, if not carefully managed by brink men masterminds who litter either side of the political divide.
But what intrigues me most about politics in Kenya is the behind the scenes wars fought from one election cycle to the next.
There are almost always two forces behind these wars: sustaining corruption networks and selecting a winning candidate for the next election.
In Kenya, like most nations around the world, diversionary tactics are used to distract the collective national attention from a serious issue.
Right now there is a serious effort mounted by President Kenyatta to develop the regions while combating historic corruption. Many casual observers say that this campaign against corruption is widening a rift between the President and his Deputy, William Ruto, who has been adversely mentioned in several newspapers and tabloids as a corruption czar.
However, this ongoing push by Kenyatta is likely to see many of the old guard involved in corruption exposed or out in the cold by the time the next elections come around. So they have begun election-mongering early and by doing so, united themselves against the President on just about every issue.
A few years ago, the expression ‘kutanga tanga’ was introduced to political speak by President Kenyatta.
It was a coded reference to DP William Ruto who was at the time touring the country in a campaign mood. The word itself means to aimlessly wander about and it displayed perfectly that while the President was focusing on development (he was issuing title deeds to disenfranchised local residents at the time), other politicians were focusing on the wrong agenda for the time since the next election is 4 years off.
Legislators affiliated to Tangatanga faction of Jubilee Photo/Courtesy
So what do the Tanga tanga politicians really want?
The first aim is to discredit President Kenyatta in his own Mt. Kenya backyard. It is no secret in Kenya that the region overwhelmingly supports the President and any open opposition to him could be politically suicidal for anyone in the region. The main thrust of this plan is to blame the President for the apparent lack of development in the region. Like any other pedestrian observer, I was shocked to be told that the area is barely developed. But yesterday afternoon, I sat with a friend of mine, Wairuri wa Mwaniki, who shed some light on this propaganda.
Ever since Kenyatta took office, Mt. Kenya region has received over Ksh. 174 Billion earmarked for development projects. These include roads, dams, irrigation, electricity connection, hospitals and schools. The region is more developed than Western Kenya and the North Eastern region combined. Kiambu County alone has more kilometers of tarmacked roads (1,385) than the entirety of Kakamega, Bungoma and Vihiga combined (700 for all Western Kenya Counties). There are 1,145 primary schools in Kiambu to 289 primary schools in the entire North Eastern region. There are more hospitals in Central Kenya than you can find in the Rift Valley region.
Deputy President William Ruto and former Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu during Waititu’s daughter’s wedding in Kiambu in July 2019 Photo/Courtesy
So it is not that the region is not developed. Central Kenya is so grossly over-developed compared to the rest of Kenya that an examination of the facts and figures makes you appreciate the conscious effort made by President Kenyatta to fast-track development of the rest of the country.
This is just a symptom of a silent war. This war is being waged not in the Kenyan Parliament where it can be muted easily by fact, but in Tanga tanga territory; public rallies, funerals and fund raisers. The speakers at these events are familiar faces including Moses Kuria and Kimani Ngunjiri. They will almost always be in the company of DP William Ruto and the bossom topic will be, the 2022 election (the distraction) and the launch of a mundane project which will scarcely be remembered by the press in a week’s time.
A cursory glance of the headlines reveals that these MPs have launched 68 ‘development projects’ in 2018, all of which have vanished into thin air at the time of writing this.
The projects of course are a smoke screen. It is common knowledge that William Ruto will be a tough sell to Central Kenya but it is also calculated that by securing him as a president, those who will have aided his rise will be allowed special favors in the new administration.
More often than not, these new favors are linked to protecting corruption empires which have been under the spot light, thanks to President Kenyatta’s war on corruption.
Kenyans are not the political ignoramuses of a decade ago where anything said by a local mheshimiwa was gospel truth. A majority of Kenyans actually know that the push for local development comes from local leadership and the devolved government system.
The real ‘washenzi’ are the leaders who politick without a development track record and are like a guardian, protecting the corrupt.
While an unoccupied minority screams on social media, it would be a good time to keep your eyes on the bigger picture. Kenyan drug dealers have fingered the judiciary as complicit in the drug trade in Africa; mega-corruption cases are working their way through the court system (and threaten to take down some well-connected politicians, some of whom are Tanga tanga members). One Governor has already been impeached and two others are in the out-tray.
Conspiracy is taking shape to cripple investigations carried out by the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions on these Governors’ cases.
Legislators allied to Ruto’s Tanga tanga faction are hell bent to protect the corrupt lawmakers with threats to impeach the President, a task which is equivalent to an exercise in futility.
The swamp must be drained
The question on whether Mt. Kenya region will drum up support for DP William Ruto’s 2022 candidature now hangs in the balance after the Kikuyu Council of Elders called off the deal with the Kalenjin Community.
The council declared total support for the handshake between President Uhuru Kenyatta and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga saying it has brought tangible benefits and peace to millions of Kenyans, as well as, reduced ethnic tensions.
The Council’s national chairman, Wachira Kiago, stated that there is no debt to be paid as anyone can lead the country.
Wachira stated that the issue of Ruto’s candidature had destabilised the community through the division of leaders either allied to Tanga tanga or Kieleweke squad.
“We have no deal with Ruto or the Kalenjin Community or his lieutenants. The issue of 2022 must be closed. If we talk of a political debt, everyone can claim it from us (Kikuyu). Kalonzo, Raila, Mudavadi among others, have supported us before and they don’t claim. Why is it that the DP is claiming?” Wachira posed.
The Kalenjin community had earlier asked the Kikuyu elders to clarify their stance and not disown them.
Deputy President William Ruto addresses a meeting with Kikuyu leaders from the Rift Valley in Sugoi, Uasin Gishu County on December 19, 2019.
Wachira claims that Bahati MP Kimani Ngunjiri, a close ally of the DP, has been pushing the agenda of paying the debt. Recently, the MP allegedly took about 4,000 members of Kiama Kiama to Ruto’s residence and chatted on how to broker Ruto’s entry into the Mt. Kenya region.
MP Kimani Ngunjiri (Chairman of Kikuyu Community in Rift Valley) and his vice-chair, Joseph Wainaina, are accused of running away with Ksh8 million to reimburse transport costs for the over 4,000 Kikuyu leaders who attended the meeting about fostering peace.
However, several leaders alleged that less than Ksh1 million was shared and the organizers disappeared with the rest. An attempt to reach the MP were futile as he neither picked our calls nor replied to messages by the time of publishing the story.
The anti-Ruto sentiment in the Mt. Kenya region has gained momentum since Uhuru shook hands and signed a unity pact with Odinga on March 9.
Wachira states that the truce is credited with returning calm to the country as the Kikuyu community in Nyanza and other regions are living a peaceful life.
The handshake has received lukewarm support from Ruto’s inner circle with MPs allied to the DP, among them Kimani Ichung’wa (Kikuyu), Kimani Ngunjiri (Bahati), Ndindi Nyoro (Kiharu), Rigathi Gachagwa (Mathira) and Alice Wahome (Kandara), claiming that it has complicated Ruto’s political arithmetic.
Wachira Kiago has, therefore, warned Central Kenya politicians against disrespecting Uhuru and dividing the community while pushing for their interests.
He added that the Head of State should come out and visit the people, noting that this would help to heal and give hope to those who seem forsaken.
“We are planning to summon MPs who are causing tension in the community. Also, we have reached out to the President and we are looking forward to meeting him to discuss how we can end the stalemate, but he must be respected,” he notes.
Former Kiambu Governor William Kabogo has also called on the leaders to stick together and spread peace.
Bahati MP Kimani Ngunjiri led a kikuyu delegation to Sugoi
“Let’s focus on the big agenda of the community rather than individual interest. This is the time to work for the community but not 2022,” Kabogo said.
He noted the Central region is filled with hatred and bitterness towards one another, and most of the time, this is being used to insult each other online instead of unifying the community.
He regrets that Mt. Kenya area was the only part of the country that was left in a campaign mode after the disputed 2017 general elections.
“All other communities are silent and probably concentrating on development, but in Mt. Kenya region, we are busy fighting one another. Let’s all come together and serve our people, let’s make use of our numbers,” he urged.
Controversial artiste and former Chairman of defunct Jubilee reloaded lobby group, Kamande Kioi, also urged politicians in the region to stop rhetoric politics.
The de facto Kikuyu Council of Elders in Nyahururu for annual prayers Photo/Courtesy
Kamande states that the community will negotiate with all presidential candidates and support whoever will give them the best deal when the right time comes.
“We as Kikuyu elders, we are calling for unity, and those propagating divisive politics should stop it. Continued 2022 politics will harm the economy as well as spurring conflict. Leaders should be preaching peace and unity to the population,” an agitated Kamande said.
He adds that Kieleweke and Tanga tanga groups from the region should now be busy talking about roads that need repairing, coffee [sector] that needs to be fixed, the tea sector that should be managed and the dairy industry and horticulture which have been mismanaged.
“Ruto should not talk of another 10 years, the pact with Uhuru will expire 2022 and should, therefore, prepare to exit with the Uhuru administration or else he campaigns without tagging Kikuyu community,” he states.
He further stated that the campaigns have hindered smooth service delivery to the citizens, negatively impacting the national development agenda.
The deputy president has on several occasions made it clear that no individual or community owes anyone, including him, any political debt.
However, to achieve his dream, the DP must overcome the herculean task of consolidating the votes and backing of two regions that would all but catapult him to the presidency.
Kiharu Member of Parliament Ndindi Nyoro has hit out at his tormentors reminding them that their time to suffer will come, specifically when DP William Ruto becomes the next president.
Those close to DP Ruto describe him as ruthless, unforgiving, and aggressive. He takes no hostages! It is also clear from the massacre he meted out to the Kikuyus living in Rift valley in 2008. However, this could be one of the reasons why he might never make it to the top most seat in this country.
Nyoro was among politicians affiliated to Tanga tanga who were teargassed on Friday at Kilimani Police Station, where they had gone to demand for the release of Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria following a court order.
Nyoro noted that others had suffered before him and others will still suffer after him.
“Haina noma. Others have had their turn. It’s our turn. Even our tormentors will have their turn when we ascend to power na dunia itaendelea tu,” he posted on Facebook.
Kuria was arrested for allegedly beating up a woman last month.
However, according to Kikuyu MP Kimani Ichung’wa and Nyoro, Kuria’s woes are as a result of his support for Deputy President William Ruto.
They accused Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i and his Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho of targeting political leaders perceived to be working closely with the DP.
Having been legally sworn in as the Deputy President of the Republic of Kenya, inarguably, William Ruto is the President’s principal assistant.
In the absence of President Uhuru, the DP takes over the mantle of leadership, whether of the country or functions.
However, the recent happenings at some events have painted a different picture from a conventional one.
In December 2019, President Uhuru sent Murang’a Woman Representative Sabina Chege with a cash donation at an event that was attended by Deputy William Ruto.
DP Ruto is received by Nyeri Governor Mutahi Kahiga and Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua PHOTO/COURTESY
Besides, on Tuesday Kieni MP Kanini Kega presented the President’s donation and message at a burial ceremony of the mother to Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua despite the DP being present.
Despite the two leaders claiming that the President had sent them, the DP has on both instances delivered the President’s message and sometimes even donations.
These developments attracted the attention of the Nyeri Town MP Ngunjiri Wambugu who claimed that the President was in all appearances not sending the DP to represent him at some functions.
The MP took to social media to question the possibility of the DP using the President’s absence at some functions to paint him negative.
“Could the DP – maybe – be giving part of his own money and saying it is from the President – and then making sure the portion he says is from the President is less – so as to try and show Mt. Kenya people that he cares for them more than the President does?” posed Wambugu.
Random photos from Rigathi Gachagua’s mother burial in Mathira, Nyeri county.
According to Wambugu, the two instances were a clear indicator that the DP could be running a different agenda.
However, according to MPs allied to DP Ruto, the move by the two MPs to claim that they represent the President at functions where the DP is present is a clear show of disrespect.
Kandara MP Alice Wahome on Tuesday slammed Kieni’s Kanini Kega for claiming to represent the President yet the DP was present and his principal assistant.
According to Wahome, the presence of the DP was a clear message that he was the one to deliver anything on behalf of the Head of State.
When the DP addressed mourners at Gachagua’s mother’s funeral, he tactically responded to Kega’s message by urging everyone to stick to his role, perhaps insinuating that it was his role to deliver the President’s condolences, if any.
Is there a rift between the two? And if so, has Ruto been lying that the President sent him at some functions?