Deputy President William Ruto is facing a political onslaught from pro-BBI leaders keen to lock him out of their regions in the 2022 succession race.
President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Jubilee Party, Raila Odinga’s Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), the One Kenya Movement comprising of Kalonzo Musyoka’s Wiper Democratic Movement, Musalia Mudavadi’s Amani National Congress (ANC), Moses Wetang’ula’s Ford Kenya and Gideon Moi’s Kanu have rolled out a plan to keep the DP out of their strongholds and restrict him to his Rift Valley backyard. The strategy was firmed up in a meeting between party leaders and the President last week.
The plan has also roped in governors like Kilifi’s Amason Kingi, Kwale’s Salim Mvurya and Mombasa’s Hassan Joho. Their message is simple: ‘Back your own and dump Ruto’. This has shaken the DP’s new-found political vehicle, the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) to the core.
On Monday, Nation learnt that the DP held high-level crisis meeting with some of his allies to stem a possible fallout in his camp.
Yesterday, a photo of Mr Mvurya and his deputy governor Fatuma Achani visiting President Kenyatta sparked talk that the governor, perceived to be a Ruto ally in Coast, could also be joining the Handshake team.
Earlier today, President Uhuru Kenyatta met Governors Ali Joho,Amason Jefferson Kingi and Salim Mvuyra.
Details of their meeting are still very scanty.
In Western, the Nation has established that Mr Mudavadi and Mr Wetang’ula as well as the Raila Odinga-Wycliffe Oparanya-Mukhisa Kituyi axis are on a mission to poach the DP’s allies and ensure UDA does not get a foothold.
MPs say troubles in the DP’s camp are compounded by internal rivalries, aborted expectations and UDA’s string of poor performance in both the Matungu and Kabuchai by-elections.
Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malala, from Mr Mudavadi’s ANC, yesterday said talks are ongoing to ensure the region is rallied behind the leadership of Mr Mudavadi.
Ford Kenya’s interim Secretary-General, Kiminini MP Chris Wamalwa, yesterday confirmed to the Nation that Mr Mudavadi and Mr Wetang’ula are working on a plan to lock out “external forces” from the region.
“We’re telling our brothers outside ANC and Ford-Kenya that they risk going into political oblivion if they don’t come back home and rally behind Mudavadi and Wetang’ula,” he said.
Ruto lieutenants in Western are former Sports Cabinet Secretary Rashid Echesa, MPs Benjamin Washiali (Mumias East), Fred Kapondi (Mt Elgon), Dan Wanyama (Webuye West), Malulu Injendi (Malava), John Waluke (Sirisia), Mwambu Mabonga (Bumula) and Charles Gimose (Hamisi).
Mr Echesa, Mr Waluke and Mr Gimose are said to be unhappy in UDA. Mr Washiali, who was the Majority Whip before he was kicked out last year due to his links with the DP, is also said to be uneasy, although he insisted he is unshaken in the DP’s camp.
But his no-show when DP Ruto toured Busia county and presided over three events a fortnight ago points to his disillusionment, with sources saying it’s just matter of time before he jumps ship.
“I was very sick. When we finished Matungu (by-election) I developed very heavy flu and that’s why I did not join the DP in Busia,” Mr Washiali told Nation yesterday.”
In Eastern, the combined efforts of Mr Musyoka, Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua, Kitui’s Charity Ngilu and Makueni’s Kivutha Kibwana have been unleashed on the DP.
In Nyanza, Mr Odinga still enjoys fanatical support, although the DP has been trying to make inroads in the Gusii region. His younger brother David Ruto’s attempts to win over the region after his recent tours in Kisumu and Bondo have not borne any fruit.
Kapseret Mp Oscar Sudi has faulted the move by president Uhuru Kenyatta to create Regional Kingpins as a move to galvanize the country ahead of 2022 general election.
“I have always been telling Kenyans of Uhuru Kenyatta’s dirty political tricks. He now wants to sponsor Coast leaders into having their own regional party. Despite Governor Mvurya’s different political ideology from that of Joho and Kingi, Uhuru still want him to be part of formation of a village party. He has done the same in Western Kenya and even Eastern.” he said.
Sudi accused Uhuru of trying to advance the agenda of tribal alliances.
“He wants to employ divide and rule tactics in his quest to remain relevant by empowering tribal chiefs. This guy has looted everything else just to sponsor tribal politics in the name of uniting the country. He is shocked that Kenya’s political conversation has changed to tribeless one but he is so desperate to a level he now wants to drag us back there.” he reiterated further