What is motivating President Uhuru Kenyatta to mount a robust defense of his newfound friend, ally and “brother”, Raila Odinga, all the time, even when criticism against the latter appears to be founded on facts?
Even more interesting is the fact that Mr Odinga has millions upon millions of overzealous supporters ready to defend him, come rain, come sunshine, without demanding any monetary compensation whatsoever?
On Thursday, Mr Kenyatta mounted an attack that appeared to target his deputy William Ruto, and in defense of Mr Odinga. He told off people he did not name, who he said were accusing the ODM party leader of creating tension in Jubilee.
Mr Ruto has been making public suspicions he has of ODM leader Raila Odinga. And in the past several weeks, the DP has been claiming that Raila’s intentions of befriending President Kenyatta is to break up Jubilee.
The DP has been going through Raila’s record of leaving parties in ruins, from Ford-Kenya, through Kanu to Narc. He says that Raila could be bent of wrecking Jubilee.
On his part, Mr Odinga has denied the accusation, saying that he has no interest in the affairs of Jubilee. He was joined by legions of party supporters of all ranks in defending that stand.
Then the President entered the fray, criticizing people he did not name, over accusations against Raila. He seemed to be at pains to convince all that none of his discussions with Raila touched on party politics.
But in this instance Ruto is supported by facts on both Raila’s track record and the utterances of the allies of both the President and Raila.
On the President’s side, David Murathe has said numerous times that Uhuru could team up with Raila in 2022.
James Orengo, a close associate of Odinga even went into a few details of the plan, of having a joint candidate or candidature of the two.
The problem for Uhuru and Raila could be that certain key constituencies within their camps have not embraced the plan.
There are indications that not everyone is dancing with joy because the two are working together. For Raila, his elder brother and confidant Oburu Odinga has asked him to pull out. He retracted that position a few days later, at least in public. But was the cat out of the bag already?
What comes out thus, does not seem to be need for public support for Raila by Uhuru, but a president desperate to keep a newfound ally who could be reluctant to remain in his camp.
In that pursuit, allies like Ruto will be undermined in private and humiliated in public, and obvious facts will be denied.
However, history has demonstrated that keeping Raila happy is impossible.