Well, well, well, the 2022 general elections in Kenya have come and gone, and William Ruto emerged as the winner after a chaotic race. But it seems like being the President is not all roses and sunshine for him, as the opposition is already calling for his resignation. Sure, some of their grievances might be legit, like the skyrocketing inflation and costs, but we all know there’s always more to the story than what meets the eye. So, let’s grab our shovels and start digging, shall we?
Foreign role in Kenya elections
In the 2022 Kenyan general elections, out of the four candidates cleared by the election commission to run for President, the two main contenders were Raila Odinga, the leader of the Azimio la Umoja alliance, which includes both the ruling Jubilee Party and Odinga’s Orange Democratic Party (ODM), and William Ruto, of Kenya Kwanza.
Read More: Calls for Ruto to undo the wrong doings of Kenya’s founding fathers
It is not uncommon for the US to get involved and support its preferred candidate to secure its own interests as any African country heads for polls. This was also the case in Kenya’s elections.
According to a report, and if we are to believe the signs before the general elections in Kenya, it is evident that the United States threw its weight behind Raila Odinga in the 2022 general elections.
The report suggests that Raila enjoyed close relations not only with the US ambassador Kyle McCarter but also with top officials at the State Department in Washington. The decision by Washington to back Odinga in the Kenyan Presidential elections was possibly guided by the fact that Kenya’s relationship with the US thrived during the coalition government led by Mwai Kibaki and Raila. The famous “handshake deal” between rivals Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga was brokered by the US to achieve this objective.
Read More: Kenyan President exposes the hypocrisy of the West at the UNGA
As part of the power deal brokered by the US, Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta and opposition leader Raila Odinga promised to “unite the country” and put an end to their long-standing enmity.
Some Kenyans believed that the meeting was merely a superficial show of unity ahead of a visit to Nairobi by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. However, independent analyst Aly Khan Satchu in Nairobi said that the US should not be discounted and that it had “successfully engineered” this rapprochement.
Read More: Kenya chases US out of Rwanda and renders M23 terrorists orphan
It is speculated that the then-American ambassador Robert Godec may have had a role to play in Kenyatta and Odinga striking a power deal ahead of the 2022 elections. The Building Bridges Initiative, which aimed to address ethnic imbalances and bring a broader government outfit, was agreed upon. Under this initiative, Kenyatta and Odinga agreed on a program of constitutional reform that would facilitate power-sharing.
The report suggests that Odinga was using the Building Bridges Initiative, together with Kenyatta, to bring on board key political figures in Kenya as Ruto was being isolated in the push for a referendum that was likely to cost his presidential bid. All of this was done to prevent Ruto from rising to power in the elections, as it was feared that China would enjoy significant influence in Nairobi if Ruto were to become president. However, later on, the Building Bridges Initiative was declared “unconstitutional” by Kenya’s Supreme Court.
China-US tug of war in Kenya elections
Raila is also reported to have contacted several American think tanks to lobby for him among different American stakeholders. The Belt and Road Initiative has ushered in a new phase in China’s global repositioning and a fundamental shift in its geopolitics. China is known to have invested heavily in the African continent under this initiative.
However, China’s decision not to fund the extension of the standard gauge railway line from Naivasha to Kisumu during a visit to China by Uhuru and Raila is said to be part of the quiet political undercurrents that were going to define the 2022 politics. It is said that China is deeply aware of Raila’s US connections.
Raila’s supporters insist that something “strange” happened, and it was possible that Ruto’s influence was behind the decision that ensured the deal did not go through. As per Ruto’s supporters, extending the SGR from Naivasha to Kisumu was a political nightmare, as such development was going to bolster Raila’s political fortunes while diminishing his.
Read More: Ruto emboldens an independent identity in US-China’s geopolitical chess game
We have previously explained in detail why the West dislikes the current President of Kenya, William Ruto. Ruto, since becoming the President of the country, has played a significant role in strengthening Kenya’s position in the African continent and has emboldened its foreign policy for Africa and beyond with a vision for a stronger East Africa in which Kenya plays a central role.
Thus, the desperation to keep Ruto from ascending the ladder of power is understandable.
However, one year after the elections, Kenya is once again witnessing violent protests as the opposition demands the resignation of William Ruto. The opposition has called for protests against Ruto, claiming that he was not validly elected in the 2022 elections, and they also blame Ruto’s administration for the rising cost of living.
Moreover, opposition leader Raila Odinga has insisted that protests will proceed as planned, and demonstrators will march to State House, the official residence of the president. Additionally, Kenya’s deputy president, Rigathi Gachagua, has said that the country lost about 2 billion Kenyan shillings ($15 million) due to the protests. Despite the deputy president’s plea to call off the protests, Kenya’s opposition leader Raila Odinga remains resolute in his nationwide campaign.
Read More: Europe hates William Ruto because he is not up for sale
Considering the scenario, there is a possibility that the West, through Raila Odinga, is trying to overthrow Ruto and establish a puppet leader who will dance to the tunes of the West. Ruto has made it clear that he is not for sale, and he won’t bow to Western diktats no matter what. Moving forward, the current situation in Kenya has turned into a political chess game, where the next move could determine Ruto’s fate and the future of his African mission. Let’s hope they don’t checkmate the economy in the process.
Leave a Reply