With William Samoei Ruto’s political focus now shifting to 2022 elections and not next year’s where Uhuru Kenyatta is expected to run for his last and final term as stipulated by the constitution, a secret line-up of aspirants fronted by the DP for various seats in the Jubilee party strongholds in the forthcoming polls has caused alarm and anxiety in Uhuru’s bastions.
Those who have been keenly watching Ruto’s political moves will agree that the DP is focused on his 2022 presidential bid while assuming that the 2017 elections is a foregone case.
Sources say politicians from across the political divide have been flocking to his office to make financial assistance requests, giving Ruto the choice of choosing which location to head to as he continues to lay ground for his 2022 election.
Ruto, according to insiders at State House, has for the better part of the ruling coalition’s tenure in power been pushing for appointment of his cronies in key government positions in a bid to bolster his 2022 campaign for the presidency and consolidate his political power base.
In case of appointments, once Ruto gets the list of those the president plans to appoint, he calls them individually to inform them that he has pushed for their appointments thus ensuring they will be loyal to him and will do his bidding once they assume office. It is a game then minister Nicholas Biwott used to play during the reign of retired president Daniel Moi.
But it is the secret lineup of aspirants for political seats that has caused unease at State House and Jubilee strongholds. With an eye on 2022, Ruto is pushing to have his loyalists elected not only in Kalenjinland but also in the populous Mt Kenya region and other Jubilee strongholds.
Ruto’s gameplan is that once the Jubilee coalition wins the polls, he will be able to command the total loyalty of elected leaders from Kalenjinland, Central Kenya and in Jubilee strongholds as he prepares to battle for the presidency in 2022.
But his secret scheme has not gone down well with many elected leaders and aspirants mainly from Central Kenya, who are reading mischief and are ready to seek election as independent candidates if the president does not tame his deputy.
In his stronghold of Rift Valley, the DP has already identified key figures in North and South Rift who campaigned for Cord ahead of the March 4 2013 general election to be his pointmen in the coming polls. Some of the key figures have already switched their allegiance from Cord to the Jubilee Party.
Already he has identified Bomet governor Isaac Ruto, his Nandi counterpart Cleophas Lagat and Kericho’s Paul Chepkwony as Jubilee rebels who must be replaced.
Those Ruto has identified to get JP tickets include former ODM chairman Henry Kosgey, former Roads minister Frankline Bett and former East African Community minister Moses Sirma.
Others are former Agriculture minister Sally Kosgei, former Higher Education minister Margaret Kamar and former Kipkelion MP Magerer Langat. He has also identified Jackson Koskei to run against Gideon Moi for the Baringo gubernatorial seat. In ElgeyoMarakwet, Ruto wants Senator Kipchumba Murkomen to replace Governor Alex Tolgos. Also in the race is former IG David Kimaiyo.
According to sources, Ruto plots to have former Konoin MP Julius Kones replace Governor Ruto in Bomet. Kones lost to Ruto during URP’s nomination in 2013 and was immediately appointed the chairman of National Water Conservation and Pipeline Corporation. However the move has not been received well by deputy speaker Joyce Laboso who has eyes on Bomet governorship. Laboso was dropped by Ruto handlers on grounds she is married to a Mr Obonyo who is a Luo and thus is likely to meet resistance among voters.
Kosgey on his part is earmarked to replace Lagat as the Nandi governor while Bett has been identified to replace Chepkwony in Kericho. However, it has emerged a section in the DP inner core are fronting for former NSSF managing trustee Richard Langat to be the next Kericho governor.
In Baringo county, Ruto has lined up Sirma who was Raila’s key ally in the last polls, to go for the gubernatorial seat to replace Benjamin Cheboi. In Uasin Gishu, Governor Jackson Mandago is a man under siege as the DP has identified Kenya’s High Commisioner to Pakistan Julius Bitok.
But it is in Gema dominated counties that Ruto’s moves to have his cronies get JP tickets have fuelled a rebellion in an area Uhuru enjoys a religious following. Early this year, Ruto was at loggerheads with Nairobi MPs from the Kikuyu community for trying to impose Water cabinet secretary Eugene Wamalwa as the JP gubernatorial candidate.
The DP had held secret meetings with Nairobi politicians to strategise and popularise Wamalwa in the county.
He had first held a meeting to discuss Wamalwa’s candidacy in May in his office which was attended by Nairobi county assembly deputy minority leader Patrick Ngaruiya, minority whip Hashim Kamau, deputy minority whip Michael Wainaina and MCA Millicent Mugadi.
The DP later held another meeting with 63 Nairobi MCAs though his media team reported that the meeting had nothing to do with Wamalwa’s candidacy for the Nairobi seat.
His moves angered Kikuyu Jubilee MPs in Nairobi who demanded that he stops pushing for Wamalwa to be Jubilee’s Nairobi gubernatorial candidate in 2017. Among those who opposed the move included MPs Maina Kamanda, Starehe, John Njoroge, Kasarani, James Gakuya, Embakasi and Benson Mutura, Makadara.
Earlier, MPs Kanini Kega, Kieni, Ferdinard Waititu, Kabete, Jude Njomo, Kiambu and Mpuru Aburi, Tigania East, with the support of the DP, had backed Wamalwa for the Nairobi’s top seat. The four legislators had publicly announced their support for the Water CS in what analysts suggested was the Central Kenya region’s reward to Western Kenya for supporting the Jubilee government.
But Ruto dropped the plan to impose Wamalwa after Gema Nairobi MPs demanded to meet Uhuru to discuss the issue that had caused a backlash in Jubilee and protests from leaders, including the Kikuyu Council of Elders.
According to sources, the president spoke to Ruto a few days later about the matter where he expressed his reservations on Wamalwa’s candidacy for the city top seat. After the talks with Uhuru, Ruto dropped the plan to impose Wamalwa in the city.
In the Mount Kenya region, Ruto has identified Devolution cabinet secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri, Dagoretti North MP Dennis Waweru and Meru senator Kiraitu Murungi as the contact persons in the region. Kiraitu is earmarked for the position of Meru governor and will fight it out with Governor Peter Munya.
Irungu has been earmarked for the Laikipia gubenatoruial seat held by Joshua Irungu. Kiunjuri lost the seat in 2013 on GNU ticket. Sources say it was Ruto who lured him to disband his GNU party and which led to his subsequent appointmnent to the cabinet.
In Murang’a, Ruto has Governor Mwangi WaIria as his choice. Interestingly, Uhuru is said to prefer his friend Kigumo MP Jamleck Kamau for Murang’a governor.
Also in Murang’a some aspirants for various seats are invoking the name of the DP in their campaigns. They include the county majority leader, Peter Kihungi who is boasting that he has been visiting the DP’s office to seek support for the controversial Northern Water Collector Tunnel. Kihungi, who has declared interest in Kangema parliamentary seat held by Titus Ngahu, has been awarded county tenders by Wairia to supply ballast and building stones from his quarry.
The Kangema Ngahu’s biggest challenger is Enos Muguku. Muguku has also served as Kenya Karate Federation chairman.
Kirinyaga governor Joseph Ndathi as well as Kabete MP FedinandWaititu’s names are also in the list. But Ndathi is facing a serious challenge from former Devolution cabinet secretary Anne Waiguru, who has no time for Ruto.
Others are Embu senator Lenny Kivuti, Senator Kithure Kindiki and Runyenjes MP Cecily Mbarire.
According to sources, Ruto has also caused anxiety in Nakuru county by backing county assembly speaker Susan Kihika for the senatorial seat or women rep. She will face James Mungai who was elected on TNA ticket. Ruto believes with the support from Kikuyu and Kalenjin, she will win either of the seats. She commands 43 out of 74 MCAs in the assembly.
According to sources, Ruto is channeling millions of shillings to Kihika campaign kitty through his business associate Samuel Mburu.
Also in the race for the senatorial race is Madaraka Mwithaga, a son of former Nakuru Town MP Mark Mwithaga and a prominent businessman and lawyer Karanja Kabage.
As for the Nakuru gubernatorial seat held by Kinuthia Mbugua, Ruto has identified Lee Kinyanjui to run against Mbugua. It is said Ruto believes Mbugua while serving as AP commandant played a part in fixing him at the ICC.
In Kiambu county, Ruto is keen to have Waititu get the JP ticket against Governor William Kabogo and former aspirant for the seat James Nyoro. For Nyoro though he was the runnerup to Kabogo in the last gubernatorial race and mainly lost because he was not within Uhuru’s Jubilee wave, he has since lost favour with the DP.
For Kabogo, his goose was cooked when he threw his weight in a raging debate over the political forces that wanted Ruto jailed at the International Criminal Court. The DP, man known never to forgive his enemies, was irked by Kabogo’s attacks on Waititu and Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria who had charged that his ICC case was politically instigated.
Kabogo further crossed the red line when he in a statement that seemed to be addressed to Ruto said the decision of Mt Kenya voters on who would become president would not be automatic towards the DP.
In Machakos, the DP is yet to identify one to go foir the Machakos governor’s seat held by AlfredMutua. Mutua and Ruto do not see eye to eye after Mutua reportedly bragged that he would be Uhuru’s running mate 2017 “when Ruto is jailed by IOCC”. In Makueni, former URP secretary general Fred Muteti claims he has the DP’s blessings to unseat Governor Kivutha Kibwana. Makueni residents however say Muteti’s declaration is laughable.
Also in the list as Ruto’s preferred candidates are Joe Mutambu, Mwingi Central, Richard Makenga, Kaiti, John Munuve, Mwingi North, Regina Ndambuki, Kilome, Kisoi Munyao, Mbooni and Charles Nyamai, Kitui West.
Other MPs are Francis Mwangangi of Yatta of Muungano and who is Ruto’s pointman in Ukambani, Vincent Musyoka, Mwala of CCU, Rachael Nyamai Kitui South of Narc, Victor Munyaka, Machakos Town of CCU and Itwiku Mbai, Masinga of Ford People.
In Western Kenya, Governor Ken Lusaka is his preferred candidate for the Bungoma gubernatorial seat. Noah Wekesa is also earmarked for the Trans Nzoia gubernatorial seat.
Amokua Anangwe is being fronted for the Kakamega gubernatorial seat while Daniel Baraza is being fronted by the DP to run for the Busia gubernatorial seat. John Waluke, Ben Shinali and Benjamin Washiali are some of the names on the list.
In Vihiga county, Ruto is pushing for Josphat Amadi for governorship.
In Nyanza, Ruto has identified Kisii senator Chris Obure as the pointman and earmarked to fly the Jubilee gubernatorial flag. He is said to have abandoned the deputy governor Joash Maangi.Karachuonyo MP James Rege is the man Ruto has identified as his pointman and banker Obonyo Mireri who has shifted from ODM to Jubilee. Odhiambo Mak’Owiti is also in Ruto’s list of preferred candidates alongside veteran journalist Ben Okello for the Migori senatorial seat. In Nyamira, Ruto’s man is Walter Nyambati for the gpvernorship and Joseph Kiangoi for the senator.
Narok governor Samuel Ole Tunai, Kwale governor Salim Mvurya, Tana River governor Hussein Dado, West Pokot governor Simon Kachapin and Marsabit governor Ukar Yatani feature. In Kajiado county, the DP wants Taraiya ole Kores as governor.
In Coast, the names that are in the list include GideonMung’aro and for the TaitaTaveta gubernatorial seat, he is said to be pushing for his close ally Granton Samboja. Others are woman rep Zainab Chizuga and Lunga Lunga MP Khatib Mwashetani.
For the Mombasa gubernatorial seat, Ruto wants his business associate Suleiman Shabhal as the governor. Former Galole MP Dadho Godhana’s name is also in the list as preferred candidate for the gubernatorial seat.
In Turkana, Ruto is pushing for Senator John Munyes who defected from Ford-Kenya where he was the national chairman and joined Jubilee. In Tharaka Nithi, Ruto is banking on Kithure who has teamed up with MP Muthoni Njuki opposing Governor Samuel Ragwa. Njuki is Ruto’s favouroite.
In Mandera, Ruto has in his list those who were endorsed by the Garre Council of Elders to run for various seats. They are Hassan Noor Hassan, governor, Hassan Osman, senator, 18 MCAs and four MPs, among them Aden Haji Yusuf, Mandera West and Mohammed Abdi Ibrahim, Mandera North. In Garissa, Ali Korane is the man Ruto is pushing for the gubernatorial seat.