2 times Uhuru almost sacrificed his presidential ambition

President Kenyatta has twice demostrated that he was ready to walk away from the most powerful office in the land in the presence of Ruto

President Uhuru Kenyatta during a past military function [Photo credits: Kenya Pixels]

The emergence of an audio recording capturing Deputy President William Ruto narrating how he got into an argument with President Uhuru Kenyatta has elicited debate about their journey to the top leadership.

While confirming the incident, Ruto said that President Kenyatta was ready to walk away from the presidency after the Supreme Court nullified the presidential election of August 8, 2017.

So, ndiyo huyo… Oh, sasa, hii maneno, sijui nini, mimi sitaki, mimi nataki kuenda Ichaweri, sasa mimi sitaki, wacha tuachane na hii kitu. Mimi nikamwangalia, nikamwambia ‘wewe’! Ni vile tu nilikua na heshima, ningemchapa kofi. Ati sisi tuache?

"(There he was, saying that he is not keen on taking part in the repeat elections and that he wants to go to Ichaweri, that we should abandon this thing. I just looked at him and only said ‘you!’ It is only that I respected him, otherwise I would have slapped him. How could we just quit?),” Ruto recalled.

This becomes the second time Uhuru has been quoted expressing readiness to walk away from the highest office in the land.

When President Kenyatta and DP Ruto first teamed up in 2013, the two were facing charges of crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Court.

Many of their friends and rivals alike tried to convince the duo that none of the two was a viable candidate for the 2013 General Election.

There was also chatter in power circles about Kenyans not being ready for yet another President from the Mount Kenya region - and notably yet another Kenyatta.

With the cases weighing heavy on the duo, former Finance Minister Musalia Mudavadi was floated as a potential replacement for Kenyatta.

On the night of December 4, 2012, a one-page agreement was signed at Musalia’s home saying that Uhuru would forgo his presidential bid and would back Mudavadi for the presidency.

Ruto was driving the car and Uhuru was occupying the co-drivers seat. Najib Balala and Chirau Mwakwere were seated at the back.

I welcomed them all because we love visitors. We discussed and agreed on everything, signed and shook hands. My wife then prepared tea, maandazi and samosas which they feasted on. Two weeks later they jumped the gun and even started referring to me as madimoni (the devil), Mudavadi recalled the visit during a past interview.

The document would later leak to the public resulting in an uproar from political factions that supported Kenyatta, triggering a turn of events that led to the reneging of the agreement.

Uhuru was tormented and in a dilemma, He had given his word to Mudavadi that he would let him run. Now he was facing pressure to run. But when he heard about the leak regarding the agreement, and the subsequent press conference by Mudavadi in which he revealed about the agreement, Uhuru was furious,” a confidential source told The Standard in a past interview.

Uhuru had told his party delegates (TNA) that he had made the decision to back out of the presidential race after being coerced by some powerful forces whom he only referred to as ‘the devil’.

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