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Kenya’s Ruto Engages in Cold War with Kenyatta as Trend Sweeps Africa
Kenya’s Ruto Engages in Cold War with Kenyatta as Trend Sweeps Africa
| June 11, 2024

Kenyan President William Ruto is congratulated by former president Uhuru Kenyatta during the official swearing in ceremony in September 2022, in Nairobi, Kenya. Photo: Reuters

Kenya’s President, William Ruto, finds himself entangled in a cold war with his predecessor, Uhuru Kenyatta, a trend that is becoming increasingly prevalent in the African continent.

The dispute revolves around the retirement benefits owed to the former head of state, which has sparked tensions reminiscent of similar scenarios unfolding in other African nations, including Zambia, Botswana, Angola, and South Africa.

Kenyatta’s public airing of grievances on Monday regarding obstruction from his former deputy prompted Ruto to engage in a telephone conversation with Kenyatta on Tuesday morning to address the longstanding dispute.

State House Spokesperson, Hussein Mohamed, confirmed the discussion, stating, “This morning, President William Ruto had a conversation with his predecessor in office, the 4th President, President Uhuru Kenyatta, regarding concerns about facilitating the functioning of the retired President’s office.”

Mohamed further announced Ruto’s initiative to form a team, led by Felix Koskei, Head of Public Service, tasked with promptly addressing all raised issues, including the location of Kenyatta’s office and staffing concerns.

The move by Ruto to address the matter came barely a day after Kenyatta questioned the whereabouts of over Sh1 billion allocated to his office in the previous and current financial year.

In Botswana, former president Ian Khama fled under the cover of darkness into neighboring South Africa, indicative of a loss of innocence in Gaborone’s seemingly stable politics.

Tensions between Khama and his successor, Mokgweetsi Masisi, have escalated dramatically, raising concerns about tribal unrest and destabilizing the country’s once-thriving economy.

Khama’s exile followed a series of hostile actions against him dating back to 2018, including reduced security personnel, unwarranted searches at his residence, and allegations of corruption and embezzlement.

Similarly, in Zambia, former President Edgar Lungu accuses President Hakainde Hichilema and the Zambia Police Inspector General of plotting his unjustified arrest and detention. Lungu’s controversial remarks about a potential government change before the 2026 elections have stirred political tensions and raised concerns about democracy and human rights violations.

His statement has been met with condemnation, and local media report that the police are taking Lungu’s statement seriously and investigating.

Lungu’s allegations of house arrest and police harassment have raised further concerns about democracy and human rights in Zambia.

His Patriotic Front Party has accused the state of silencing opponents and called for the release of Lungu and detained party members.

Meanwhile, former First Lady Esther Lungu faces corruption allegations involving theft of motor vehicles and title deeds, which she denies.

Human rights organizations have called for restraint and urged the government to respect Lungu’s rights, including freedom of expression.

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