Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta has put on a brave front in the aftermath of the Pandora Papers, which revealed his family' s use of offshore accounts, claiming that only those with unexplained wealth should be concerned about the leaked records.
When the president returns from his recent trip to Barbados, he has promised to clear the air on the report linking the Kenyatta family- including his mother and two siblings- to 13 offshore accounts.
The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) produced the Pandora Papers, which demonstrate that the accounts were opened between 1999 and 2003, before Kenyatta became president.
In the 2002 election, the descendant of Kenya' s first president, Jomo Kenyatta, ran unsuccessfully as the ruling party Kanu' s candidate. In the race to succeed the country' s longest- serving president, Daniel arap Moi, he was defeated by Mwai Kibaki.
During the early years of the Kibaki administration, there was a push to recover public cash allegedly diverted to tax havens by Moi- era corruption gangs, with the government engaging the UK consultant Kroll & Associates to track down the plunder.
However, the Pandora Papers may have harmed his anti- corruption efforts, which have already included him calling for lifestyle audits for public officials and unleashing investigation and prosecution authorities on anyone tied to graft issues.
In March 2015, the president suspended five Cabinet ministers whose names appeared in an Ethics and Anti- Corruption Commission report (EACC).
More lately, he has pushed to include anti- corruption efforts in his succession plan, addressing a gathering in Nairobi in February this year that he does not want to " leave the country to criminals" when he leaves next year.
He has hinted at endorsing former Prime Minister Raila Odinga as his favored successor, dismissing Deputy President William Ruto.
Dr. Ruto has already had to defend himself in court against corruption claims, including one involving a public forestland grab and another involving the eviction of an internally displaced individual from his 100- acre farm following the 2007/08 post- election unrest.
The Deputy President has frequently claimed that graft allegations against him are part of a political plot to tarnish his reputation and prevent him from succeeding President Kenyatta next year.
In his campaign rallies, he rarely mentions corruption, choosing populist language about his goal to raise the country' s people out of poverty.
Notably, Dr. Ruto has failed to publicly comment on the Pandora Papers, leaving it to his political allies to criticize his boss.
Mr Odinga has made corruption a significant plank of his campaign platform in the previous three presidential elections, and it is expected to be a key pillar of his 2022 manifesto.
However, because to his collaboration with President Kenyatta, the Pandora Papers are proving to be a difficult topic for the former prime minister.
Mr Odinga said in a radio interview on Wednesday that while he doesn' t have offshore accounts, he doesn' t think it' s bad for politicians to do so as long as they can explain their riches.
As the clock approaches the General Election next year, President Uhuru Kenyatta' s words and actions, as well as those of his allies, hint to a desire for a Raila Odinga presidency.
Raila' s support ratings all point to Uhuru' s favored pick, informed by the desire to drive for unity and bury the historic Kenyatta/Odinga rivalry that has tormented Kenyan politics for five decades.
Allies of the president have frequently stated that Uhuru is eager to ensure that the spirit of the handshake remains on, and that this can only happen with a Raila presidency.
For example, Jubilee vice- chairman David Murathe launched the Raila- presidency campaign in 2018, claiming that Kenya needs a Mandela moment, referring to the one- term transition government established up by South African President Nelson Mandela before retiring.
Raila' s president, according to Cotu secretary general Francis Atwoli, cannot be wished away because he controls half of the registered voters.
" The truth is that Raila has ardent supporters who will not change their thoughts or allegiance. " " Despite the fact that Raila has not registered his candidacy, he has a head start and will overcome everyone once he enters the ring, " stated Atwoli.
He stated that some leaders regard themselves as being ahead just because they are the only ones in the field right now, but that things will change with time.
However, Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi stated that he is unsure whether Uhuru supports a Raila presidency because he has not stated his position on the matter.
Senator Mutula Kilonzo Jnr of Makueni said it is in Uhuru' s best interests not to appear to endorse or express interest in any candidate.
As the outgoing president, the senator believes Uhuru should serve as a neutral arbitrator focused on a peaceful election.
" The government' s rhetoric will backfire. " " It is sad that when Murathe stated that the country should prepare for a Raila president, Uhuru summoned a meeting in order to force the leaders to back the ODM leader, " Mutula Junior remarked.
And, according to Lugari MP Ayub Savula, who is also the ANC deputy leader, their party leader Musalia Mudavadi was urged to endorse a Raila candidacy, but he refused.
Following a squabble with his deputy, Uhuru intimated to mourners at Mululu grounds during Hannah Mudavadi' s funeral that the country had been led by two communities since independence and that it was time for another. Political analysts interpreted this to signify that he was distancing himself from Ruto and indicating that he might support a new candidate.
President Kenyatta hosted opposition leaders at State House in Mombasa on Tuesday, putting the spotlight on his push to pass over to Raila next year.
Insiders said Uhuru met with Raila, Kalonzo Musyoka (Wiper), Mudavadi (ANC), Senators Gideon Moi and Moses Wetang' ula, and Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya, and persuaded them to endorse Raila for a single term presidency.
The necessity to contain Ruto' s political ascension is one of the reasons Raila' s candidacy is appealing, considering that prior private and public surveys showed the DP leading by points.
Ruto has often stated that he is prepared to fight any of his opponents and has even invited them to get together so that they can face him.
The DP has also upped his travels across the nation, hosting officials from Nyanza in Naivasha on Tuesday to discuss their region' s economic fortunes. Ruto has consistently stated that some senior government officials are plotting to undermine his presidential ambitions in 2022.
Uhuru is believed to have urged the Mombasa audience that they needed to unify in order to defeat Ruto in the August 9th, 2022 elections.
The State House meeting came three weeks after the state mobilized six governors and tens of MPs from Murang' a County' s Mt Kenya, with five of the county rulers endorsing Raila.
Kiambu Governor James Nyoro, Ndiritu Muriithi (Laikipia), Anne Waiguru (Kirinyaga), and the host Mwangi wa Iria all stated at the Murang' a gathering at SK Macharia' s home that it was time for the region to back Raila.
The mobilization and endorsement were signs of Uhuru' s political blessings.
Muriithi stated that the Raila era had arrived and that the Mt Kenya region should not be left behind.
Prior to meeting with the other opposition leaders, Uhuru met with Raila twice in Mombasa, where their discussions lasted several hours and were attended by National Assembly Majority Leader Amos Kimunya.
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