Cash Stalemate Raises Tension over Kenyatta and Odinga Handshake

The tensions between Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy, William Ruto seem to be reaching a crescendo and becoming increasingly palpable even during public events as the duo appeared on stage with ODM leader Raila Odinga.

Uhuru Kenyatta

It is now a shaky handshake over the grueling silence by the two leaders the president Uhuru Kenyatta and the opposition leader Raila Amolo Odinga. This was after an open defiance by the senators from both the Jubilee and ODM party.

In the recent open senate vote over cash revenue allocation in counties, there was an open defiance against the President and his confidante Raila Odinga. The Senators from the opposition side ODM said the revenue sharing formula did not favor their strongholds. This has brought about tension over the handshake which brought about the BBI (Building bridges Initiative).

BBI came about after the handshake between the president and the opposition party leader Raila Odinga to quell violence in Kenya after the 2013 elections which had divided Kenya into two. There were those supporting the jubilee siding with the president and those supporting National super allegiance (NASA) siding with the opposition another side.

The BBI was tasked over making inquiries and relevant specific recommendations over areas that need healing, improvement and prospects to create a solid unified Kenya. This was by a hybrid system of governance to enable the Prime Minister and the President share there powers. The MPs are also allowed to be part of the Senate.

Will this initiative be threatened by the ongoing blame game of back and forth favouritism on counties?

The senator’s votes were 25 against 22 counties which sums up to the 47 counties on the cash revenue allocation formula.Some senators citing the collapse of the BBI.

“It’s true we shall not support BBI if this formula doesn’t pass. My Nasa brothers should learn the art of humility and waiting patiently for the larger cause instead of focusing on small gains,” Kang’ata was quoted on Monday as saying.

Kang’ata’s move to even go further to insinuate that Raila – not Uhuru – is the ‘owner’ of BBI, exposed the growing mutual suspicions that have rocked the two camps.

“They always come very near the prize, then a small  thing torpedoes everything. BBI is their baby, let them choose BBI or the formula,” the Murang’a senator added.

This increased and led to so many sighted tensions over the two allegiances each protecting there very own.

It raised fears in the Raila brigade, Siaya Senator James Orengo on Tuesday declared President Kenyatta was the cause of the Senate revenue formula standoff.

 He went on, “We would not have been here if he was more accessible. I’m telling you without being afraid. I’m not saying it for me, I’m saying it for the country.”

On Thursday, it emerged President Kenyatta’s failure to make changes to his Cabinet could be part of the bigger issue that has triggered disquiet even in his own camp.

Earlier this year, the President is said to have asked for names from key opposition leaders of those they wanted included in his Cabinet as he plotted an expanded Executive to unite the country.

For months, the President who fell out with his Deputy William Ruto, hasn’t appeared keen to overhaul the Cabinet, triggering a groundswell of suspicion that he could have abandoned the idea.

However, Igembe North MP Maoka Maore said the handshake and BBI remain the priority but hit out at people around the President.

Tuesday’s debate was characterized by high-level political drama and despite lobbying by Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga, the senators defied them to make a huge political statement. Senate Minority Whip Mutula Kilonzo Jnr. said President Kenyatta should be glad that they voted against the formula because it would have divided Kenyans.

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Phyllis Ombikhwa

Phyllis is a writer, web developer, and events planner currently living in Nairobi, Kenya. Her interests range from technology to rugby. She is also interested in feminism and community development.

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