By David Kimani
Kenya is a country where politics reign supreme. Politicians have more say than individuals in other sectors of the economy. And to do business profitably in this part of the world, one must have strong links to the powers that be. This article looks at the top ten most powerful men in Kenya.
Deputy President William Ruto
Love him or hate him, DP William Ruto is the most powerful man in the country right now. His brand of politics has endeared him to the majority of Kenyans who relate to his ‘Hustle Nation’ clarion call. He has managed to divide the country between dynasties and the majority ‘hustlers’ whose survival is what you would call hand to mouth. His win in the Msambweni by-election emboldened Ruto and put the president and ODM top leadership on notice.
ODM Leader Raila Odinga
The handshake was thought to be a masterstroke until it badly backfired on former prime minister Raila Odinga. From one of the most powerful individual in the country, Raila has been reduced to a political joke and with the 2022 general elections on the corner it is yet to be seen if he will reinvent himself. Joining President Uhuru Kenyatta after the heated 2017 presidential election, the ODM leader wanted to endear himself to Mt. Kenya electorate and alienate the DP. This had the opposite effect and Raila finds himself trying hard to sell the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI). The ODM leader still remains a formidable force and has time and again shown his ability to reinvent himself.
President Uhuru Kenyatta
He remains powerful by virtue of the office he holds. Beyond that he is seen as a lame duck president whose influence has considerably dwindled thanks to the handshake with Raila Odinga and his perceived hostility towards his deputy William Ruto. Uhuru cannot be wholly ruled out as he was able to elbow out acerbic ex-Nairobi Governor Mike Mbuvi Sonko from office and make changes in the senate and parliament.
Interior CS Dr Fred Matiang’i
Interior cabinet secretary Fred Matiang’i is passionate about his duties-if not a bit overzealous. He has been touted as a worthy replacement of outgoing president Uhuru Kenyatta. He enjoys unfettered access to the president and has on numerous occasions played the Jubilee administration hatchet man. He remains a powerful figure in the current administration but the litmus test will best be gauged post 2022 general elections.
It is former Jubilee Vice-Chair David Murathe who told the world that all was not well between Uhuru Kenyatta and the next in command William Ruto. Although his position at the moment is not clearly known, Murathe wields considerable clout and is known to be close to President Uhuru. The no-holds barred political broker has been provided with security by the state.
Although he will not make headlines, Uhuru Kenyatta relies heavily on his brother when making decisions that shape the political scene in the country. Muhoho was pivotal in securing the ‘Handshake’ between his brother and Raila Odinga.
The Interior Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho has been accused numerously for using his powers to frustrate those aligned to DP Ruto’s tangatanga brigade. He is a powerful and has been described by leading media houses as the most powerful state in Kenya today.
‘Felix Odiwour’ Jalango
Away from politicians-and state appointees-Felix Odiwour ‘Jalango’ is arguably one of the most powerful-if not influential-entertainers in Kenya. Everything he touches easily sprouts. His YouTube channel has amassed thousands of subscribers and his blog is one of the most read.
Ex-Nairobi Governor Mike Mbuvi Sonko
His theatrics cost him a political seat and a level of invincibility he enjoyed. Even with that setback, it will be imprudent to write off the former Nairobi county boss. The DP has embraced knowing that he is a mobiliser and has the financial might.
Lawyer Ndegwa Njiru
He is currently the most bankable lawyer in Kenya. Ndegwa Njiru brilliance during the petition of Embu Governor Martin Wambora and representation of MCAs during the impeachment of Governor Anne Waiguru and his Nairobi counterpart earned him a place among the best lawyers.
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