Raila and Kibaki seen here chatting heartily in the VIP tent at the Speaker's garden tea after the official state opening of parliament.
It is now emerging that unfortunate utterances attributed to Head of Civil Service Francis Muthaura are seriously threatening the very survival of the recently signed peace agreement between President Kibaki and ODM Captain Raila Odinga. Although the principals have not commented publicly on the controversial Muthaura statement, many insiders are clearly upset by the comments. As of Tuesday morning, Kofi Annan is said to have spent some time on phone talking to ODM Vice Captain and lead negotiator Musalia Mudavadi in what could have been an attempt to quel any statements that may derail the peace deal that took Annan more than a month to achieve. It is unclear if Kofi spoke to anyone on the PNU side.
On the same day Annan was talking to Musalia, ODM spokesman Salim Lone is quoted in the Financial Times as saying: "The whole world, from President [George W.] Bush downwards, was engaged in trying to strike a power-sharing deal. If that power-sharing deal made Odinga number three, we'd have never accepted it."
In other words; if the 'government' maintains its position and supports Muthaura's statement that the Vice President ranks above the ODM Captain, then folks, we are back to square one.
Another intriguing point that tells Kenyans that Muthaura is a puppet of the athuri group is the allegation that PNU is not obligated to share state appointments with ODM on a 50/50 basis. The question is: Why would the president be obligated to consult the PM in the sacking/hiring of ministers including the VP if the PM is not only No. 3 but also himself an appointee of the president?
Even before Prime Minister designate Raila Odinga has been sworn in, the drastic change in his relationship with the president appears to have ruffled sensitive feathers who have made it their business for as long as we can remember to ensure that Raila does not come anywhere near power in Kenya.
Perhaps more significantly, some elements in government are already showing symptoms of Railaphobia for reason this blogger attributes to the electric excitement Raila elicits wherever he goes. Whats must be a headache for them is that Raila appears to already have hit a silent but very effective campaign trail in what is slowly unfolding to be a no-holds-barred Kibaki succession battle. It leaves many a politician green with envy that any function that Raila attends, even if it is just a church service or even a funeral, immediately transforms into a political campaign rally. Martha Karua attempted to do the same in her Gichugu constituency bus park last weekend with mixed results. What she fails to understand is that, although Raila does not have PPS or VPPS assigned to him, he has for the last 10 years captured the psyche of the entire Kenyan nation. For instance, whenever Raila’s image appears on TV screens in a noisy joint, a hushed silence automatically falls over the premises.
Not to be left behind rather than for commercial interests, mainstream media in Kenya and the region have now attached permanent staff to Raila’s entourage that follows him wherever he goes. Wow!
Fellow pentagon member Najib Balala could not have captured it more aptly. He said that whenever Raila enters a room or appears to the public even before he says a word, people go crazy.
This sort of image, rightly or wrongly, will be impossible for the likes of Muthaura to subdue whether the PMs office is 5th or 10th in the pecking order. After all they say, power comes from the people (as opposed to secret swearing-in ceremonies).