President William Ruto’s first few months in office have been marked by the return of his predecessor, Uhuru Kenyatta. The former president has described the new regime as lacking direction and lacking substance.
Uhuru’s comeback has created a stir in the country, particularly after he publicly addressed his former deputy, reigniting their long-standing animosity.
As Ruto and his supporters continue to attack Uhuru’s legacy, alleging that he was involved in funding anti-government group Azimio La Umoja, the former president has hit back, a move that experts say could shape the nation’s politics in the coming months.
According to political analyst Dunstan Omari, the Kenya Kwanza government has launched a smear campaign aimed at tarnishing the reputation of President (Retd) Uhuru Kenyatta and his family.
In a recent interview, Omari warned President Ruto to be cautious when dealing with Azimio La Umoja leaders, Uhuru and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga, as they control significant systems and structures in both local and foreign politics.
“The late President Mwai Kibaki made sure he wouldn’t provoke Moi when he took office, and Uhuru promised he wouldn’t interfere with Kibaki’s life. Now, we have a new regime that wants to take Uhuru to court. What will be the outcome?” Omari wondered.
Omari also warned Ruto not to underestimate the international influence of Uhuru and Raila. Uhuru is a special peace envoy to Ethiopia and the Democratic Republic of Congo, and serves as Chair of the African Leaders Malaria Alliance and the Committee of African Heads of State and Government on Climate Change. Meanwhile, Raila is the African Union’s High Representative of Infrastructure and Development.
“Uhuru and Raila, globally, control 80% of the networks,” said Omari, adding that Ruto’s power is largely limited to his local constituency, unlike Uhuru and Raila, who have major international accolades.
Political analyst Ahmed Hashi criticized the Kenya Kwanza government for losing focus and getting dragged into a war of words with the opposition. “The government has better things to do than talk about Uhuru Kenyatta,” Hashi said in a recent interview.
He also advised Ruto to avoid politicizing taxation, as such a move could harm his government. Last week, Nyandarua Senator John Methu requested an audit into all Kenyatta family business deals. “Taxes should be used for spending where it’s needed, not for lining the pockets of a few individuals,” Hashi explained.
Prof Peter Kagwanja weighed in on the topic, saying that taxation is a delicate issue that could easily escalate into chaos. “What we are witnessing now is the dynasty vs hustler struggle, with the weaponization of taxes being used to target the big guys,” he noted.
However, Dr Hassan Khannenje took a different stance and called on President Ruto to target those who evade or avoid paying taxes. “There’s a long-standing practice of people in power not paying taxes. If we close these loopholes, we could potentially triple our current tax collections,” he said.
Despite the opinions of analysts, Ruto may be encouraged by the fact that his opponent Raila Odinga has claimed that foreign powers rejected his bid in favor of the President. Raila says that the foreigners were wary of his policies, which they felt would have ended their control and domination of markets. Ruto has been actively seeking support from both the West and the East.