NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 26 – Senate Speaker Kenneth Lusaka and Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya were Friday denied access to retired President Daniel arap Moi, despite having secured an appointment through his son Gideon who is also the Senator for Baringo.
Lusaka and Oparanya who is the Chairman of the Council of Governors were accompanied by Susan Kihika (Nakuru), Fatuma Dullo (Isiolo), and James Orengo (Siaya).
They became the latest victims of a ring-fence erected around the former president by his 55-year-old son Gideon who is embroiled in a bitter political supremacy with Deputy President William Ruto in what is linked to the 2022 succession politics. Both have indicated they will be vying to succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta who is serving his second and final term.
Two of the senators told Capital FM News that on arrival at Moi’s Kabarak residence, they were informed that they could only see Moi, who lost his son Jonathan Toroitich, last Saturday, after 11.30 am.
“The Speaker had secured an appointment through Gideon and he informed Gideon that he was on his way with us and the Council of Governors Chairman,” one of the senators said, “but when we arrived, we were received by Gideon who informed us that we cannot meet the former president until after 11.30am. We found it very strange.”
On Wednesday, Ruto flew to Kabi Moi, the home of the late Jonathan in Baringo where he consoled his widow and children but did not go to the former president’s home some 50 kilometers away.
The decision to deny the leaders access was linked to bad blood between Gideon, and Ruto, 52, the former keen to checkmate Ruto’s influence in the Rift Valley region.
Instructively, four of the five politicians – Lusaka, Oparanya, Kihika, and Dullo – are seen as close allies of Ruto who is considered as a front-runner for the 2022 presidential election.
On May 4 last year, Gideon orchestrated a similar blockade, when Ruto visited Moi’s Kabarak home, six weeks after returning from a brief medical trip in Israel.
The DP’s delegation was told the retired president was not available for a meeting as he was undergoing a routine physiotherapy session.
“Deputy President William Ruto today visited the former president. Ruto and his team were welcomed and had lunch at Mzee’s Kabarak home. Unfortunately, this coincided with the time Mzee Moi was undergoing routine physical exercise with his doctors. Mzee Moi agreed to meet him at a convenient time another day in the very near future,” Moi’s press office said at the time.
Leaders who accompanied Ruto at the time included Energy Cabinet Secretary Charles Keter and Ainabkoi lawmaker William Chepkut.
The DP office has since avoided setting appointments with Moi’s office.
On Wednesday, Ruto opted to visit the late Jonathan’s widow and children at their Kabi Moi home in Baringo as other leaders trooped to Moi’s Kabarak home to convey their condolences.
“Jonathan was role-model to many, committed to bettering the lives of others. We are at a loss as a country for his passing on,” the DP said eulogizing him as “sociable, affable and loving”.
Ruto was accompanied by Baringo Governor Stanley Kiptis, MPs Moses Lessonet (Eldama Ravine), Caleb Kositany (Soy) and Rigathi Gachagua (Mathira).
Since Jonathan’s death, Gideon has received a number of politicians at his father’s Kabarak home including President Uhuru Kenyatta.
Former Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka has also been hosted at Kabarak alongside former Nairobi gubernatorial candidate Peter Kenneth.
Gideon has often clashed with lawmakers allied to Ruto who have dismissed him as nonstarter and a spoiler.
Senate Majority Leader Kipchumba Murkomen and Kapsaret lawmaker Oscar Sudi have on several occasions faulted Gideon for being disrespectful to Ruto.
Rivalry between the two camps permeated Thursday’s Wajir West parliamentary by-election which is seen as a contest between Ruto and Gideon after an Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) candidate pulled out of the race leaving the governing Jubilee Party and Gideon’s KANU to square it out.
Jubilee’s Ahmed Kolosh carried the day garnering 11,053 votes against KANU’s Ibrahim Sheikh who managed 6,532 votes.
DP Ruto commended Kolosh for recapturing the seat he previously held on an ODM ticket saying: “The victory is testament to the confidence your constituents have on your ability and our party. Godspeed as you embark on service delivery and quality representation.”
National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale described the victory as a clear statement of Jubilee’s dominance in the northeastern region.
“Today is a happy day from the on-goings in the Wajir West by-elections; tonight the Jubilee family will have a new MP. From the region where I come we had two ODM MPs, one we have taken and the only remaining MP by name in Wajir North so the whole of North Eastern is now red except one and it not because of the handshake, the ODM candidate disowned you. The people of Wajir West said we want Jubilee, we want Uhuru Kenyatta, we are tired of rhetoric,” he said.
The mini-poll triggered by the nullification of then ODM lawmaker Mohamed Kolosh’s victory following a successful election petition by the KANU candidate.
ODM had picked Mohammed Elmi as its nominee for the seat following Kolosh’s defection but the Orange Party’s nominee withdrew from the race two weeks to the election citing intervention by community elders.
Former Wajir West legislator Aden Kaynan who accompanied Elmi when he announced his withdrawal from the race at Ruto’s State residence in Karen dismissed as untrue claims that ODM had withdrawn its candidate after reaching a consensus with the ruling party.