Before the handshake between President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga happened on March 9, 2018, Jubilee administration had very fierce defenders who verbally lynched anyone who dared to criticise its leadership.
They hunted and haunted critics like a pack of wolves. They defended anything and fought tooth and nail to have all pro-government policies adopted regardless of the legal implications they posed.
They would tell whoever dared to bell the cat that the “constitution is very clear”.
Today, most of these politicians are languishing in the affliction of political betrayal and have careened into an abysm of political desperation characterised by unhinged rants.
The boons and banes of Kenya’s political dynamics that sweep away even the mighty have meted terror upon them.
Their relationship with the president took a nosedive as soon as the handshake happened. They were kicked out from influential House and committee leadership positions in what was dubbed the Jubilee purge.
Here are some of these leaders.
The former Senate majority leader was the Jubilee government’s mouthpiece. He defended Uhuru’s administration in the House, in rallies, in court and on TV interviews.
The Elgeyo Marakwet senator never feared controversy and criticism. When the police unleashed terror on opposition leaders, the youthful lawmaker defended and justified their actions.
One of the sentiments he made that haunted him until recently when he apologised was when he said exiled lawyer, and author Miguna Miguna deserved to be evicted for the sake of the country’s peace.
He also fiercely defended the controversial electoral law reforms that were introduced a few months to the 2017 General Elections, proposals that opposition leaders termed as punitive, manipulative and ill-timed. They fought so hard to resist but lost the vote.
He would later be consumed by the vicissitudes of power when he was kicked out as the majority leader and replaced by Senator Samuel Poghosio.
Known for his charisma and boldness when defending what he believes in, the Garissa Town MP was an ardent defender and supporter of the Jubilee administration.
A rabble-rouser in the making, Duale locked horns with opposition’s best brains on the floor of the House and always ensured the government carried the day on any debate.
When the controversial security law bill was introduced in parliament, which among other things intended to gag the freedom of the media, Duale passionately defended it – even when the mood of the country was that it wasn’t a good proposal.
Like Murkomen, his time to pay the price came, and he was dumped and left high and dry.
The former Kiambu county boss was the first governor to be successfully impeached by the Senate.
After trouncing William Kabogo, Waititu, alias Babayao, became the voice of Jubilee in Kiambu county.
However, the rains starting beating him the moment he aligned himself with Ruto’s Tanga Tanga camp.
He was impeached and charged with corruption and abuse of office. Today, Babayao is the cold and is working on rebuilding and restoring his rapport with the president.
The former Nairobi governor was a close ally of the president and a great champion of Jubilee agenda.
He basked in the glory of power and privilege in 2017 when he dethroned Evans Kidero as the city boss.
Sonko was one of the chief campaigners of Jubilee not just in Nairobi but across the country. He recently admitted to colluding with some senior government officers to buy, burn cars and blame it on opposition leaders.
However, his relationship with the president took a nosedive when he started exposing Jubilee secrets and brushing shoulders with senior state officers.
Other than being impeached as governor, numerous court cases were opened against him, including one that linked him to terrorism activities.
Other damning charges that were levelled against him included corruption, robbery with violence and money laundering. He paid the ultimate political price.
The outspoken Nakuru senator served as Jubilee’s Chief Whip in the Senate alongside Murkomen (majority leader).
Like her aforementioned counterparts, she fell out of favour with the president and was consequently dewhipped from her position.
She has found solace in Deputy President William Ruto’s hustler camp and often decries police brutality and intimidation.
The Murang’a senator replaced Susan Kihika as the majority whip in the Senate. As a loyal supporter of Uhuru’s administration, Kang’ata presided over the removal of Senator Kindiki Kithure (Tharaka Nithi) as the Deputy Speaker of the Senate.
During debates, Kang’ata often threatened to push for suspension or expulsion of Jubilee senators who dared to oppose a position taken by the government.
At least six nominated senators who expelled by Jubilee Party during his tenure as the chief whip.
His biggest undoing was when he wrote a letter to the president warning that BBI was unpopular in Mt Kenya and would be rejected at the referendum.
He was swiftly dewhipped and has become one of the vocal government critics operating under Ruto’s Tanga Tanga squad.
The vocal Gatundu South MP was one of Uhuru’s number one defenders. He never shied away from uttering unbridled and unfettered sentiments when responding to critics of the government.
He regularly engaged opposition politicians in online and roadside chest-thumping bust-ups that exposed him as a war-monger and tribalist.
When his time to face the purge came, Kuria was removed from the National Assembly’s Roads and Public Works Committee, where he served as vice-chair.
The Kiharu lawmaker once hit the headlines when he asked the president to be a benevolent dictator.
At the time the opposition was relentlessly pressing the government to the edge, the youthful economist was overcome with emotions and vouched for the use of force in dealing with protesters and disruptors of peace.
Today, he is one of the leaders decrying and cursing the government for meting out terror on critics.
The Mathira lawmaker was one of the closest and long term allies of the president. He once served as Uhuru’s personal aide in the run-up to the 2002 General Election and have struck several business deals together.
Gachagua ably defended Jubilee agenda on the floor of the House until the axe fell on him. Today, he is one of Tanga Tanga MPs decrying state intimidation and harassment.
In October 2020, his bank accounts were frozen over suspected money laundering transactions. He was accused of engaging in shoddy business deals that saw him receive KSh 12 billion irregularly.
He denied the allegations and accused the government of a political witch hunt.
The Tharaka Nithi Senator was not just a Jubilee defender but also one of the top-notch lawyers who represented Uhuru at the Hague during the hearing of his crimes against humanity case.
The Law professor was serving as the Senate Deputy Speaker but was unceremoniously removed when his time came.
Vocal and articulate, Mwaura, a nominated senator, stood out as one of Jubilee’s fierce defenders of the Jubilee administration inside and outside parliament.
He fell out with the party leadership when he joined Ruto’s team and accused the president’s family of ‘overstaying’ in leadership.
The party expelled him, and his seat was declared vacant; he is currently fighting for survival in court.
Omanga contested for the woman rep seat in Nairobi county but lost in the Jubilee party primaries.
She was later nominated to the Senate and started dancing to the ruling outfit’s tune.
Like Mwaura, Omanga veered off along the way and joined Tanga Tanga. The party expelled her, but her seat is yet to be declared vacant.
Omanga is among the former pro-government leaders decrying intimidation and harassment today.
Of late, her tweets are anti-government, and a daily hardly passes without her throwing jibes or bluntly calling out the president.
The Kikuyu MP was another loyal supporter and defender of Uhuru’s government. He was one of the few, if not the only one, who was elected unopposed in the 2017 General Election.
Ichungwah was serving as National Assembly’s Budget Committee chair but was kicked out and replaced by Kanini Kega.
Today, he is one of the fierce critics of Uhuru’s government.
Other victims of the handshake politics include Benjamin Washiali (former chief whip), Gladys Shollei, Alice Wahome (served as vice-chair of the Justice and Legal Affairs Committee), among others.