Two Kenyan MPs blocked from attending presidential function
NAIROBI, Kenya - Two MPs were on Tuesday blocked from attending President Uhuru Kenyatta's function, with analysts warning imminent fallout within the ruling Jubilee party.
For over two years now, the president's party has endured turbulence, with two factions emerging in the process, local media reports.
Of the factions, one supports Deputy President William Ruto's presidential bid in 2022 while another one believes in the president's pact with opposition leader Raila Odinga.
Mr. Odinga, a veteran politician, reconciled with Uhuru in March 2018, a process that rattled Dr. Ruto, a key pillar in Jubilee administration.
State House officials blocked the two
Senator Susan Kihika of Nakuru and Nakuru Town East MP David Gikaria were denied access to Uhuru's function, further causing anxiety within Jubilee.
Both Kihika and Gikaria support Dr. Ruto's bid. State House has not issued a statement over the fiasco, which could degenerate into heated politics.
Kihika said, "We were informed that orders from above are that we cannot be allowed entry because we belong to an Unwanted Faction!"
While she did not elaborate more about the "Unwanted Faction", it's however evident that State House officials have been antagonistic to Ruto's team.
The senator further mocked the president saying "meanwhile we are building bridges and uniting the nation"
Mr. Kenyatta was delivering Land Title Deeds to squatters in Nakuru, a region which is considered as a bedrock for his deputy.
Gikaria, another critic of the president, said "Let people know we have been blocked from attending the function. We don't know why yet."
Two others almost denied entry
Gilgil MP Martha Wangari, who has been neutral on the national politics, had earlier been denied access until county commissioner Erastus Mbui came to her rescue.
On arrival at the gate, Wangari disclosed that he was with Subukia MP Kinuthia Gachobe who too had been denied access and retreated to his vehicle.
Although some MPs have taken a stand on supporting Uhuru and Ruto, some have remained neutral, fearing to defy either of the leaders.
More often than not, politicians have openly shown their allegiance in public, exposing deep divisions in Mr. Kenyatta's government.
Deep divisions between Uhuru and Ruto
While Dr. Ruto has not openly reprimanded the president in public, he has often shown signs of disgruntlement.
For instance, he accuses Mr. Odinga of "creating divisions within Jubilee to derail the government's Big Four agenda and causing chaos."
Although he has confronted Odinga, Mr. Kenyatta, on the other hand, has often hailed the former Prime Minister of being a statesman.
Dr. Ruto, a charismatic politician, was blocked from occupying DP residence in Mombasa with workers claiming that it was "order from above".
Interestingly, he had stocked the house with his personal belongings only to be thrown out by the government he serves, Sunday Nation said.
Ruto's ally sacked from the cabinet
To further expose cracks within government, President Uhuru on Tuesday sacked powerful Agriculture minister Mwangi Kiunjuri, a close ally of Ruto.
Kiunjuri, a former MP, has been instrumental in advocating for Dr. Ruto's bid at the president's backyard, often reprimanding the DP's critics.
He said: "I am going nowhere. Doors shall be open. Do not cry for me because I did my best and there is time for everything."
Politicians allied to the DP Ruto have already read malice in the minister's dismissal although he said that "I expected it, I saw it coming."
Kihika's previous encounters
For Ms. Kihika, Tuesday's predicaments are a replica of what she underwent last August at State House in Nakuru when Uhuru visited.
A viral that made rounds on social media captured presidential guards trying to eject her from the function as they bitterly exchanged.
However, State House later disowned the altercation, arguing that "it was a little misunderstanding between the legislator and officials".
Mr. Kenyatta and Dr. Ruto have often spoken from different scripts in public, further confirming their sour relationship which has diminished substantially.