On Wednesday, in a seemingly an unexpected move, President Uhuru Kenyatta met Jubilee Party candidate for the upcoming Kibra by-election, McDonald Mariga, at State House, Nairobi.
In his assurance, the Jubilee leader assured Mariga of his full backing in the by-election set for November 7, 2019.
This was contrary to the initial reports that Uhuru was not keen on having a candidate in the constituency, and that he had backed ODM’s Raila Odinga to avoid a political face-off, which could have affected the handshake.
But was Uhuru really genuine in his endorsement? Initially, there were claims that he gave in to pressure from Ruto’s camp for the outfit to have a candidate. The reports, however, remained claims that could not be substantiated.
Soon after Mariga was cleared by IEBC, a local daily quoted several officials in the president’s office who indicated that President Kenyatta would not campaign in Kibra as he was “too busy” with other matters.
With Wednesday’s endorsement, the head of state seemed to have changed tactics. But what really motivated him to endorse Mariga despite all the initial reports stating otherwise?
On Wednesday, the same day he endorsed Mariga’s candidature, Uhuru received a report on Kimwarer and Arror dams project.
After being briefed on the report by the technical committee, he Uhuru ordered the immediate cancellation of the Kimwarer project and a fresh commencement of the Arror Multipurpose Dam.
The committee, led by Principal Secretary for Infrastructure Prof. Paul Maringa, submitted that while both projects were overpriced, the Ksh22 billion Kimwarer dam was “neither technically nor financially viable” and should, therefore, be discontinued.
His decision to cancel the project would have definitely attracted bitter reactions from a section of the Rift Valley leaders.
In a swift move to neutralise the looming tension, some opinion shapers seem to suggest Uhuru endorsed Mariga, who is seen as DP Ruto’s man.