Botched Jubilee Party primaries ahead of 2017 elections, theft of campaign funds, underhand dealings and premature 2022 presidential campaigns are some of the causes of the bad blood between Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto.
Highly placed sources revealed that the president got fed up with his deputy after billions of shillings donated for the presidential campaigns in 2017 by China, Sudan and Uganda, among other friendly countries, went missing.
Consequently, Uhuru was forced to raid the Kenyatta family coffers to finance the campaign after millions of shillings from state bodies such as Kenya Pipeline and Kenya Power and friends of Jubilee vanished into thin air.
The Kenyatta family to date has never forgiven Ruto whom they blame for the financial mess at the Jubilee party. The DP was personally in charge with his allies sidelining Uhuru camp.
Uhuru had tasked Ruto to lead the campaign secretariat after the party’s chaotic primaries which were cancelled and a repeat ordered.
The DP, according to sources, once at the helm at the secretariat sidelined Jubilee secretary general Raphael Tuju in making financial decisions where all supplies were his cronies.
Tuju has of late become the DP’s biggest headache in the succession matrix.
Even after the polls, the tussle between Ruto and Tuju continued largely fuelled by their aspirations to control the Jubilee political machine ahead of 2022.
Tuju is a close confidant of the president and his network runs the show at Jubilee headquarters which Ruto has unsuccessfully fought to control.
Tuju who is also a cabinet secretary without portfolio has been executing Uhuru’s directives, pointing to the widening rift between the president and his deputy.
According to insiders, Uhuru believes Ruto stage managed his Sugoi home raid a few days to the repeat presidential poll to divert attention from the theft of the campaign funds.
During the raid a GSU officer was shot and his gun taken away by the attackers who have never been brought to book. The incident happened a few minutes after the deputy president had left for Kitale.
The DP is the second most guarded government official in the country after Uhuru and their homes are usually under 24-hour watch by the elite Recce Squad of the GSU.
Second, Uhuru believes that Ruto planted his cronies during the Jubilee party primaries in a clever scheme to make him a lameduck president soon after the polls.
The president’s position on this matter was revealed by former Jubilee party vice chairman David Murathe when he claimed Ruto manipulated the nomination process so as to plant his allies in Mt Kenya region as well as his Rift Valley backyard. The move is said to have even backfired in his own Turbo constituency Uasin Gishu where his favoured Jubilee candidate Kevin Okwara was defeated by an independent Janet Sitienei. Also in Uasin Gishu Ainabkoi, William Chepkut won as an independent. Ruto wanted a one Samuel Chepkonga on Jubilee to be area MP. Insiders say Uhuru was bitter the two seats had been earmarked for Jubilee to control parliament by virtue of being Ruto home turf. But what annoyed Uhuru most was that in Thika Town the president’s own Kiambu county, Ruto was against Patrick Wainaina on Jubilee ticket preferring Alice Ng’ang’a. Wainaina run as an independent and won. Uhuru could not believe that in his own Kiambu, Jubilee had been defeated yet Thika residents voted for him overwhelmingly as president. He blamed Ruto for sabotage.
Already, more Jubilee politicians who lost in the primaries have come out to claim the process was a fraud since it was manipulated to push out certain individuals.
Among those who claim they were elbowed out are former Kiambu governor William Kabogo, former Mukurweini MP Kabando wa Kabando, former Nakuru governor Kinuthia Mbugua, nominated MP Maina Kamanda, former Othaya MP Mary Wambui and city gubernatorial aspirant Peter Kenneth.
Indeed, when Uhuru hosted Mount Kenya Jubilee Party losers at State House after party nominations, they expressed their bitterness with the process arguing the DP rigged them out to ensure his 2022 line-up was in place.
But speaking in Kikuyu, Uhuru told them he was aware they were rigged out but urged them to remain in the party, saying they still needed Ruto to deliver the Kalenjin votes and “after that Ruto would know who Uhuru is”.
That explains why Uhuru, during the campaigns, to hoodwink Kalenjin voters said, he will back the DP in 2022. Silently, he knew all along that he would not honour this pledge once he won the reelection.
Third, Uhuru got bitter with Ruto when, after the polls, he started pushing for former Bungoma governor Kenneth Lusaka to be appointed house speaker to replace Justin Muturi.
The DP wanted Lusaka in parliament to consolidate his following among the block Bukusu community. Ruto wanted Muturi moved to senate.
By lobbying for Muturi’s removal, Uhuru, according to sources, felt that his number two was stabbing him in the back. Muturi is Uhuru’s drinking buddy and a few years earlier Ruto had boasted to Kalenjins that he was the one running the government since the president was ever enjoying his drinks.
The will of the president eventually prevailed as Muturi retained the house speaker’s position with Lusaka assuming the senate role.
Insiders add that Ruto wanted to use Lusaka and majority leader Adan Duale to remove Uhuru from the top position using parliament which majority of Jubilee MPs are allied to him.
Talk is, a plot to impeach Uhuru had been hatched to make Ruto assume presidency in the remaining years and easily win 2022 as an incumbent. It seems Uhuru bought the idea and decided to reach out to ODM leader Raila Odinga using the handshake to enable him control legislature. By then, Ruto camp were of the opinion no vice president had managed to succeed and win presidency since introduction of multiparty politics.
Ruto, according to sources, also vehemently opposed the nomination of Maina Kamanda but the president flexed his muscles to have his way. Kamanda is among leaders in Kieleweke which is pulling all stops to ensure the DP does not ascend to the presidency in 2022.
Fourth, the president and his deputy had a major fallout prior to the naming of the cabinet. Uhuru sidelined him but worked with powerful principal secretary Karanja Kibicho, CS Joseph Mucheru and head of NIS Philip Kameru in
cabinet composition. Uhuru’s brother Muhoho Kenyatta represented the Kenyatta family on cabinet formation. Muhoho was instrumental in naming the now untouchable Cecily Kariuki in the crucial Health ministry.
Transport, Housing and Infrastructure key component in Uhuru’s so-called Big Four Agenda just like Health, was given James Macharia. To further humiliate Ruto, the Agriculture portfolio which falls under Big Four was handed to Mwangi Kiunjuri. Many had expected a Kalenjin or Luhya to land the Agriculture docket but it never happened. For now, all the big four agendas are controlled by Kikuyus.
Fear was that Ruto allies would loot the projects funds as they had done during his first term they were in charge of Agriculture and Health.
It is to be recalled that twice Ruto skipped a State House function where Uhuru was to unveil the cabinet.
The DP was conspicuously absent when the president named more numbers to his cabinet with more veteran cabinet secretaries being retained.
While naming the first batch of cabinet, Ruto missed out from State House with sources intimating that he was unhappy, a claim he later on dismissed.
Ruto had opposed both lists raising eyebrows.
Those who survived in the second batch included Raychelle Omamo (Defence), Amina Mohammed (Education, later transferred to Sports), Aden Mohammed (Industrialisation), Eugene Wamalwa (Devolution) and Kariuki (Health).
Ruto’s allies dropped from the cabinet included Felix Koskei, Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries and Phyllis Kandie, Commerce, Tourism and East Africa Region while Energy portfolio, then held by Charles Keter, was split into two: Mining and Petroleum.
Fifth, as early as 2015 Uhuru learnt that Ruto was not only running a parallel government but was also shopping for strategists to drive his presidential campaigns once Jubilee won a second term with little regard for the president’s legacy projects.
Ruto men referred as spies were unceremoniously removed from State House and replaced by DP’s political foes led by comptroller of State House Kinuthia Mbugua. Of late Ruto, has to book an appointment to visit a State House unlike before.
Fear is that he may find Raila or Gideon Moi at State House. It must remembered recent government appointments have been fovouring Raila, Gideon and to an extent Kalonzo Musyoka allies.
Indeed, immediately they were sworn in, Ruto hired four Americans as campaign strategists. The four, who perished in the Turkana chopper crash, were veteran political consultants who had begun laying out an elaborate campaign gameplan for Ruto ahead of 2022.
The four Americans were Brandon Hower Stapper, David Mark Baker, Kyle John Forti and Anders Jesiah Burke.
The president was annoyed with Ruto for embarking on premature campaigns at the expense of his Big Four Agenda which will supposedly define his legacy.
Sixth, Uhuru got annoyed with his number two when he started putting breaks on the war against corruption.
The DP, through his allies, has been shouting on top of rooftops that the war on corruption is aimed at scuttling his 2022 presidential bid, a move that has greatly annoyed the president.
He has also been pouring cold water on his crossing ranks with Raila through the famous March 9 2018 handshake.
Many a time, the president has appeared to take his deputy head-on over his relationship with the ODM leader, triggering an awkward situation.
For instance in an event also attended by Raila, Uhuru dismissed claims that the former prime minister is out to destroy the ruling Jubilee party following their March 9 2018 political truce.
Then we have the Gideon factor. It is said Uhuru is more comfortable with Gideon presidency than Ruto. In fact, the push to have a referendum that is being pushed by Raila with Uhuru support is said to be the brainchild of Gideon. The Baringo senator does not have time for Ruto.
The DP has always said the referendum bid is aimed at creating political positions for dynasties.
Raila, Gideon and even Kalonzo opine if we go to 2022 election with the current constitution, Ruto is likely to carry the day. It is on this basis, a new setup where a winner does not take it all has been sold to Uhuru.
The positions of prime minister and two deputies together with those of president with two deputies to tame Ruto are to be created.
That Uhuru can sit wine and dine with Ruto enemies as the deputy president is being isolated and his allies targeted by state machineries has seen how bad is the blood between Uhuru and Ruto. It is on these grounds, Ruto has now decided to engage in confrontational politics going by the manner he engaged Kibicho at JKIA during Uhuru return visit from Rwanda.