Sources say that the Ruto/Raila relationship is shaping up well and that the president can easily accommodate him during the burial ceremony. It is said that president Ruto had last week reached out to Raila Odinga to call off demonstrations following the high-level international visitors who were in the country. It was on such consideration that Raila called off last Thursday’s demonstrations on request from Ruto
By The Weekly Vision
Political fireworks are expected at the burial of the widow of freedom fighter Dedan Kimathi’s Widow Mukami Kimathi. This follows a declaration by Azimio la Umoja-One Kenya coalition party leader Raila Odinga that he will attend the burial. While speaking at Lee Funeral Home, Mr Odinga claimed he had been close to Mukami, and he would have to bid farewell to the freedom fighter. The announcement made Deputy President Rigathi Gachagwa announce that Kenyans of all walks of life are welcome.
However, the big question now is how the Kenya Kwanza administration will handle Raila Odinga in terms of protocol at the funeral. President William Ruto is expected to attend the ceremony slated for 14th May 2023 and this will be the first time the two politicians will be in each other’s presence since the run-up to the last general elections. It is on records that Mr Odinga had on many occasions repeated that he cannot shake DP Gachagua’s hands; Kenyans are waiting to see if he will make good his threat.
Kenyans are now also waiting for the moment when Raila Odinga and William Ruto will shake hands and even hug during the ceremony. Sources however say that the Ruto/Raila relationship is shaping up and President Ruto will easily accommodate him during the burial ceremony. It is being said that Ruto had last week reached out to Raila to call off demonstrations following the high-level international visitors who were in the country. It was on such consideration that Raila called off last Thursday’s demonstrations on request from Ruto.
There is not a secret that the relationship between Raila and Ruto is not sour, keen observers might have noticed that politicians from Rift Valley have finally toned down in attacking Raila Odinga, leaving the dirty job to their Mount Kenya counterparts. Two scenarios are expected to play out during the ceremony. One, Kenya Kwanza can use the opportunity to humiliate and frustrate Raila Odinga by denying him the opportunity to address mourners. Analysts however say this could backfire as Raila Odinga enjoys some considerable support from the region and his supporters may not take it lying down.
Scenario two is to use the opportunity to send an olive branch to Raila Odinga as the bipartisan talks continue. Ruto is an astute politician and knows how to play his cards well. He might give Raila Odinga the respect as a statesman to the chagrin of his loyalists from the Mount Kenya region that has very little respect for him. Ruto can even go out of his way to disappoint his deputy by breaking protocol to invite Raila Odinga before he makes his speech. However, Ruto can also unleash his lieutenants to attack Raila in his presence with a view of exposing him as a violent leader who does not have Kenya and the economy at heart.
Analysts say the Mukami ceremony could make or break the bipartisan talks depending on how the Kenya Kwanza uses the occasion. Another multi-million dollar question is whether Raila will acknowledge Ruto in his salutation as the president.
Raila is also a very canny politician and could choose to arrive at the funeral after Gachagua and Ruto’s arrivals and head straight to his chair assuming it will be reserved. At the speech time, Raila could easily salute the Kimathi family, church and all protocols observed. Avoiding the mention of Ruto and Gachagua, could build up tension resulting in booing, cheering and heckling. All said and done, those who have been following political events as they unfold will agree that the Mukami burial ceremony will produce political fireworks.