President Ruto’s Power Consolidation

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President William Samoei Ruto, 55, is the leader of the Kenya Kwanza (Kenya First) coalition’s United Democratic Alliance party. Raila Odinga, 77, of the Azimio la Umoja (Unity Declaration) coalition, was Ruto’s primary opponent during the recent presidential election.


Ruto is Kenya’s first sitting deputy president to succeed the incumbent after competitive elections and the country’s first candidate to win the presidency on the first try. The declaration of the results was temporarily halted amid chaotic scenes by supporters of the losing candidate who claimed irregularities. The circumstance became even more complicated when four commissioners broke ranks, held their press conference, and denounced the results as “opaque.”Ruto defeated the aspirations of his boss and incumbent, Uhuru Kenyatta, a former ally who chose to back his former archrival and longtime opposition leader Raila Odinga.


The country’s political landscape is seeing premature 2027 alignments, with leading coalitions plotting against one another. President William Ruto and Raila Odinga, his main rival in the 2022 presidential election, are leaving nothing to chance. President Ruto, for example, has launched an aggressive campaign to consolidate his Kenya Kwanza alliance by raiding Raila’s Azimio machine. Ruto already got the backing of more than a dozen MPs from Raila’s Azimio coalition and two governors.


Analysts believe the President is consolidating his power before 2027 to prepare for a Raila rematch. The President is additionally at the centre of a political storm rocking the Jubilee party, where a faction allied to him is fighting for control of the association. Raila has condemned the latest maneuvers, claiming that Ruto is pursuing monolithic tendencies to return the country to the dark days of single-party rule.


All elected Jubilee MPs—at least 30—and former lawmakers have sworn allegiance to the President and pledged to work with the Kenya Kwanza government. The Head of the state is also touring the country for what has been billed as prayer and thanksgiving services, as part of the consolidation efforts, according to analysts. Raila, for his part, has launched an aggressive campaign to keep his Azimio la Umoja intact in the face of Ruto’s raids. Ongoing Opposing Rallies in KenyaThe veteran opposition leader has embarked on country-wide rallies dubbed “people’s barazas,” railing against the government over rising living costs.


The opposing party has also reproved the government of asphyxiating multi-partyism in the country, putting President Ruto under intense scrutiny. With President Ruto and Raila on the campaign trail, the country is on pins and needles just months after a contentious presidential election. Just hardly six months after Kenyans voted, party politics has crept back into the news, threatening to raise political temperatures. Even as Ruto has been meeting with political players at State House, Raila has convened at most minuscule two ODM party meetings to strategize and quell the internal rebellion.


A group of MPs has launched a rebellion within the party, calling for radical changes within the ODM hierarchy amid many unresolved issues and pent-up rage. The Standing point of the Republic of Kenya? The 14-day deadline set by Azimio Leader Raila Odinga for the government to address specific issues, including the restoration of food subsidies and tax cuts, has already expired. Another issue that Odinga has been vocal about is the high cost of living, and he wants the government to provide concrete solutions on how it will address it.


Odinga had threatened to lead nationwide protests if the government did not meet their demands within the specified time frame.  Here are some of the demands; Odinga demanded that the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) servers be opened. He asked that the ongoing recruitment of new electoral body members be halted.


The opposition leader has maintained that the IEBC stole his presidential victory in the August 2022 elections. However, in a swift retort, President Ruto slammed Odinga’s claim, emphasizing that elections were over and that what is left now is governance. The Opposition leader Raila Odinga has insisted on carrying out planned mass action protests despite government warnings that they are illegal. The protest is intended to draw attention to other issues in Kenya, such as corruption, electoral reform, and economic development. With high tensions, it is unclear how the situation will play out. Though President Ruto is in power and carefully consolidating his grasp on power it is yet to be seen what his consolidation would be and if he can stay on beyond a tenure in the Keyan Presidential seat.

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