What happened to Uhuru-Ruto 2022 leadership deal?
The political debate over whether there exists a debt payable to DP William Ruto in 2022 has opened up wounds of historically broken pre-election deals.
How do political candidates ensure that such deals are honoured by their allies after the election?
Political MoUs often deemed a gentleman’s agreement, date back to Kenya’s independence era and are meant to pave the way for the ascension to power.
Today, the undercurrents and sometimes outright verbal wars, are revolved around who will be the country’s fifth President.
DP Ruto seemed all set to take over at the helm after an apparently solid deal with President Uhuru Kenyatta six years ago.
However, in a surprise statement during a recent TV interview, DP Ruto revealed that there has never been a grand Jubilee 20-year power plan.
“Nobody owes me any debt,” he said.
In the absence of an actual signed MOU, the coalition agreement that merged their parties in 2012, had been expected to be the basis of a succession plan for Mr. Ruto and leaders affiliated to him.
“Many of the things we want to imply are clear so we knew that Uhuru would support Ruto. Perhaps at the time, Uhuru did not know the terrain was going to be as rough and is determined by the dynamics of politics,” Herman Manyora, a political analyst, told Citizen TV.
The same was replicated within the NASA camp when the co-principals came together under the Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD).
They signed an MoU for Raila Odinga to vie for the presidency in 2013 and if successful, his co-principal Kalonzo Musyoka would take over in 2017.
“Even in a contract there is always the element of trust; if you can say that about a contractual agreement, what can say about politics?” Manyora posed.
Back in 2012, another MoU that never saw the light of day, was between President Kenyatta and Musalia Mudavadi. Mr. Kenyatta had allegedly signed off his presidential candidature to Mudavadi, a deal that never came to be.
Before that, in 2002, Mr. Odinga signed a pre-election pact with former Head of State Mwai Kibaki which later saw him endorse him under the slogan ‘Kibaki Tosha’.
When the Kibaki-Raila deal swept them to power in 2003, few knew there was a secret MoU that had set out how positions of power would be shared out between their two parties.
In the deal under the National Rainbow Coalition, they agreed to create the position of Prime Minister after the December 2002 General Election.
However, failure to implement the MoU’s clauses caused the altercations between the coalition partners Odinga and Kibaki resulting in a bitter feud.
“Even if it was a written MoU in 2002 and they realized it could work against them…politicians often go against their word,” Mr. Manyora added.
From founding President Mzee Jomo Kenyatta to Jaramogi Oginga Odinga and Daniel arap Moi, pre-election pacts seem to always fall apart soon after elections.
Are President Kenyatta and his deputy following in the footsteps of their predecessors? Only time will tell.