Is Raila being thrown under the bus?
7 months ago, 24 Maý 00:16
Article 131 of the Constitution on Authority of the President is a mild read that carries a bag of nuisance that the holder of the office ignores at their peril. Staying within the remits of this article, executing power bestowed on the President in Article 132, and presiding over a political party can be tricky. In fact, the little article ensures that a President does not hold a private view, at least not publicly.
He is a symbol of national unity, is required to promote national unity and respect for the diversity of Kenya’s people and communities. Article 131 (e) protects human rights, fundamental freedoms and the rule of law. Basically a President is a hostage of the Constitution and cannot publicly voice partiality.
To avoid this albatross, a President works through government officialdom to get personal inclinations baptised as policy. In fact, a rudimentary interpretation of Article 131 ( 2 )(e) is that while protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms and the rule of law, a President suspends personal claim to these; his own rights and freedoms are subsumed under the collective.
It was therefore tactless for President Uhuru Kenyatta to have jumped the gun and bluntly stated he does not support changes to the Constitution by committing against a referendum. He took sides against possible good advice to remain above the fray as a symbol of national unity. Worse still, he did it derisively, stating he has “no time to run around telling people to change the Constitution”. The suggestion being that this is the job of ‘Bridge’ partner Raila Odinga.
The Big Four’s success does not lie in throwing money everywhere but on public goodwill, support and participation already sold on reform symbolised by the referendum. Denouncing the need for reform was bad judgement, -against public expectations. He’s lost a big chunk of Big Four support with that casual remark.
But it is the collateral damage it condemns the ‘Bridge’ venture to that will have lasting impact. Uhuru has thrown Raila under the bus (certainly under the bridge to the crocodiles) by portraying him as a masquerade on matters not agreed on. The fate of Raila’s recent passionate defence of the project, even in London, did not faze Uhuru. What could have changed Uhuru’s mind about the ‘Bridge’ adventure?
The escapade was a charade to lure Raila into bestowing legitimacy on Uhuru, then callously dump him. Such conspiracy is not strange for the ‘amazing duo’. Many politicians and business people are licking wounds of disowned pacts out of chance encounters with the duo since 2012.
Yet some say Uhuru may have succumbed to rear-guard threats to disengage by Deputy President William Ruto’s unrelenting foot soldiers. If this true, then the grapevine is right — Ruto anticipated betrayal and took control of the Jubilee behemoth in last year’s election. He decided who would run and who would not, even in Mt Kenya. And, just when he was about to be written off, his insurgence to strip the President of a grassroots mechanism has been ...
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