Expectations and likelihoods are high that former President Uhuru Kenyatta may soon switch allegiance from former Prime Minister Raila Odinga to his successor William Ruto after he agreed to continue chairing missions across the Eastern Africa region.
Political analysts say that President William Ruto placed Uhuru at crossroads by offering him the opportunity to serve as Kenya’s international diplomat, owing to his global stature as a peace champion.
With such a role at hand, the former President who also chairs the opposition’s Azimio La Umoja council will have a hard time criticizing the government and may likely opt to relinquish the Azimio Council coalition and focus on the peace roles in his retirement.
Retired President Uhuru endured a barrage of both veiled and open attacks from Ruto and his deputy, Rigathi Gachagua at Kasarani Stadium on Tuesday, September 13, and remained humble when Ruto announced that he, Uhuru, had agreed to continue spearheading peace initiatives in the region.
“I have asked my elder brother, President Uhuru Kenyatta, who has done commendable engagements with those regions and he has graciously agreed to continue chairing those discussions on behalf of the people of Kenya,” Ruto offered.
Uhuru replied by gesturing to Ruto with a peace sign and was captured saying asante (thank you).
Political analysts believe that by offering Uhuru the special envoy role, Ruto pushed Uhuru into a corner to a point where he would not freely engage with the opposition.
Many have observed that it’s like Ruto has put a rope around Ruto’s neck and as an Azimio leader, he will find it difficult to attack Ruto’s government or engage in a political duel with his successor.
As a peace envoy, Uhuru will also travel to represent the country aboard and will continue interacting with international leaders, heads of state, and presidents, bringing them together and fostering peace and he will not readily throw all of his successes away to engage in internal affairs in the country.
Uhuru Blamed For Azimio’s Loss
After the Supreme Court’s upholding of Ruto’s victory, Uhuru met with Azimio la Umoja leaders and reiterated his support for Raila Odinga who had lost his fifth stab at the presidency. He confirmed that he would hand over power smiling as dictated by Constitution but his president will remain to be Baba, Raila Odinga.
Despite that, however, Uhuru still endures sharp criticism from a section of Azimio leaders who accused him of setting Raila for failure. Embakasi East MP Babu Owino claimed that Uhuru and Ruto orchestrated Raila’s downfall, with the former president infiltrating the opposition to weaken it.
“Thank you Uhuru Kenyatta for keeping your word to Ruto. Your body language tells it was a long con. We will still reach where we are going,” Babu, a close ally of Raila lamented.
“Because of Uhuru’s incessant and ill-advised utterances, Raila and Martha Karua struggled to shake off the projects tag. Far from being state projects, Raila and Martha’s reformist credentials needed no emphasis. Unfortunately, Uhuru was the chairman of Azimio, a position that I stated publicly that he should resign from,” activist Boniface Mwangi who campaigned for the opposition added.
With such blames heaped upon him, and with his global roles and legacy as a retired Head of State, it is likely that Uhuru will mend fences with his successor William Ruto and abandon the Azimio camp.