The Deputy President appears totally isolated, with a team led by Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i taking full charge.
Rift in the Presidency, fuelled by rivalry with Gideon, plays out as DP denied viewing body at funeral home.
With President Kenyatta’s absence in the United States, as clearly stated in the Constitution in Article 147, Dr Ruto, who is assumed to be in charge, should have been the one coordinating issues surrounding Mr Moi’s death.
However, this is not the case following the Presidential proclamation of Mzee Moi’s death.
“When the President is absent or is temporarily incapacitated, and during any other period that the President decides, the Deputy President shall act as the President,” says Article 147 of the Constitution.
The rift in the Presidency is apparently clear with President Uhuru Kenyatta and senior State officials on one side and Deputy President William Ruto on the other in the planning of the State funeral of former President Daniel arap Moi.
The DP appears totally isolated, with a team led by Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i taking full charge.
On Tuesday, when the DP called the press to read the government’s condolences to the family and friends of the late President Moi, he stood alone.
The DP, had initially planned to go straight to the Lee Funeral Home after leaving his house in Karen, but changed his mind and headed to his Harambee House Annex office.
At that time, Interior CS Matiang’i, Chief of Defence Forces Gen Samson Mwathethe, Inspector-General of Police Hillary Mutyambai, Interior PS Karanja Kibicho and other service commanders were already at Lee Funeral Home coordinating things with the family.
After the press conference, the Deputy President was hurriedly driven to Lee Funeral Home. Among the politicians who accompanied the DP were Senate Majority Leader Kipchumba Murkomen, Baringo Governor John Kiptis and his predecessor Benjamin Cheboi, MPs Sudi, Caleb Kositany and Lizah Chelule and former State House comptroller Franklin Bett were.
As the DP was arriving at Lee, the security service commanders, together with Dr Matiangi and Moi family members, left the funeral home and drove in the opposite direction.
Kapseret MP Oscar Sudi is said to have asked the management to allow the DP to view the body since he was to proceed to Kakamega where a tragic incident claimed the lives of 14 pupils on Monday evening.
The morgue management told the DP and his entourage that they had to be patient for at least one-and-a-half hours for the body to be ready for viewing.
But the politicians felt they were being sidelined with the political feud between Baringo Senator Gideon Moi and Dr Ruto playing out. The agitated lot pressed on, but did not get access.
When it became apparent that Dr Ruto and his team they would not be allowed to view the body, the DP ordered everyone out and requested to be left alone with the morgue management. Dr Ruto’s attempts have a private session with the attendant did not yield fruit either. Dr Ruto left the mortuary and flew to Kakamega.
What transpired on Tuesday exposed the widening rift between President Kenyatta and his deputy. The whole drama was made even more worse by the fact that Dr Ruto and the Baringo Senator, who are both fighting for political supremacy in the Rift Valley, do not see eye to eye.
This is not the first time the Deputy President has been prevented from meeting Mr Mo,i when he was ailing and later when Jonathan Moi died.
In May 2018, Dr Ruto waited for two hours on the tarmac after landing in Kabarak hoping to meet Mr Moi, only to be told he had a doctor’s appointment.
In April last year, the DP opted to go to Jonathan’s Kabimoi home to offer his condolences instead of going to Kabarak to condole with Mr Moi like other leaders.
Parallel to DP Ruto’s earlier press conference on the government’s condolences, a meeting was convened and chaired by Dr Matiang’i that was attended by Gen Mwathethe, Defence CS Monica Juma, Mr Mutyambai, Mr Kibicho, all heads of security agencies as well as service commanders.
- “A State funeral committee chaired by the Head of Public Service as directed by President Kenyatta will issue a comprehensive statement in the course of the day,” announced Dr Matiang’i of the outcome of the meeting.