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Uhuru’s most probable successors and their chances to become president

President Uhuru Kenyatta’s presidency is navigating through its last stretch and sooner rather than later Kenyans will vote to elect his successor.

Kenyatta has in the past said he will have a say on who will succeed him.

But history has taught us – all the way from the reign of Mzee Jomo Kenyatta to Daniel arap Moi and Mwai Kibaki – that succession politics is anything but straight forward.

So who are the front runners to succeed President Kenyatta?

1. Raila Odinga – He is yet to announce his candidature. But if he does, it will be the fourth time he is attempting to rule this country. He came in fourth in 1997 in his first attempt, and then three times in succession (2007, 2013 and 2017) he has barely fallen short.

However, his newly-found bromance with President Kenyatta could play in his favour. His biggest challenge, though, will be to convince a constituency that has backed his ambition for two decades – without success – that he will get it right this time round.

2. William Ruto – He has served as Kenyatta’s deputy for the last seven years and is considered a front runner. He is seeking to become the first person in Kenya’s history to be elected on his first attempt. He has been accused of running ‘silent’ campaigns in form of church fundraisers and initiating ‘development projects’.

3. Musalia Mudavadi – Has severally been touted as the perfect ‘compromise’ candidate and is said to enjoy a particularly rosy relationship with President Kenyatta and Odinga. He contested once, in 2013 and faired dismally.

But unlike Ruto and Odinga, he is not considered a charismatic orator and will thus require huge support in that department. He would also require huge support in terms of finances and machinery to pull this off.

4. Fred Mataing’i – If President Kenyatta has been silently ‘grooming’ someone to succeed him, then it has to be Matiang’i. He was recently elevated to Chief Minister and chairs Cabinet meetings. He is also in charge of the most lucrative and sensitive docket of the Interior Ministry.

The tough talking Cabinet Secretary seems to have the favour of his boss over the other Cabinet Secretaries. That said, he has never been a politician and it will require President Kenyatta to literally hold his hand and take him round the country asking for votes on his behalf for the chap to stand a chance.

5. Uhuru Kenyatta – There has been talk that the Head of State could ‘succeed’ himself by advocating for a change of the constitution as has happened before in Uganda and Russia. He says he isn’t interested but he is human, and is allowed to change his mind.

6. The ‘others’ – Here is where we have the likes of former Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka, Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho, Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Opranya, Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru, Baringo Senator Gideon Moi and former presidential aspirant Abdouba Dida.