Kenya’s Deputy President William Ruto appears to be getting jittery over the newfound warmth between his boss President Uhuru Kenyatta and opposition chiefs ahead of 2022.
Details of discomfort emerged as his political nemesis, Baringo senator Gideon Moi, began flexing his political muscle outside his Rift Valley backyard in what could complicate Ruto’s poll matrix.
Gideon, the scion of Kenya’s second President Daniel Moi, was in Western Kenya for a two-day foray hosted by Nasa leaders, including ANC boss Musalia Mudavadi.
Coming only weeks after Uhuru publicly declared that his choice of a successor would be a shocker, Ruto in a bare-knuckle attack, accused unnamed opposition figures of undermining his role in government.
Previously, Ruto’s allies claimed that the graft purge in government and the lifestyle audit is targeted at the DP and his allies.
“The person who took an oath to help the President as his principal assistant is I William Ruto. When Jubilee programmes or the President’s work goes wrong or stalls, the person to be taken to task is me,” Ruto said on Saturday.
ODM chief Raila Odinga has become so close to the President and at one point confessed that he had Uhuru on speed dial. On the other hand, Wiper Leader Kalonzo Musyoka during the burial of his father in Mwingi last month declared himself the President’s “errand boy” and pledged he would be inseparable from the head f state henceforth.
But in a possible strategy to rebuff Kalonzo, Ruto also insisted that he was the President’s “errand boy” with a constitutional mandate.
On Saturday in Tharaka Nithi, Ruto audaciously said he will “crush” anyone who stands in his way.
Yesterday, a section of his allies downplayed claims that the DP was panicking.
“Ruto’s camp is now more strong and hopeful than before. It’s Raila’s people who have panicked instead. We know the President will keep his word [to support Ruto in 2022] because he is an honest man,” Majority Whip Benjamin Washiali said.
The assault on Ruto by three Rift Valley politicians over the maize scandal is seen as part an elaborate strategy to cut the DP down to size in his own bastion.
“Ask yourself who is behind the massive campaign against Ruto in the Rift Valley. The war is bigger than what you think. It has principals at the top,” an MP from the Rift Valley told our correspondent in confidence.
The MPs — Joshua Kutuny, Silas Tiren and Alfred Keter — have all denied that the assault against the DP is sponsored.
The Ruto wing of the Jubilee Party has always been suspicious of the March 9 unity handshake that led to Raila and Kalonzo becoming cozy with President Kenyatta.
Among the fruits of the truce are the appointments of Raila as the African Union Special Envoy on Infrastructure Development and Kalonzo as Special Peace Ambassador for South Sudan.
Although there has been a ceasefire in recent weeks, Ruto’s allies have sustained a relentless attack on Raila, accusing him of positioning himself to elbow Ruto out of from Jubilee’s succession game plan.
On Friday, Ruto’s lieutenants opened fire on Raila, accusing him of perpetuating a culture of betraying his supporters.
Kapsaret Oscar Sudi said Raila betrayed the Luhya community by stripping Bungoma senator Moses Wetang’ula of his seat as Minority leader, which was then taken over by his Siaya counterpart James Orengo.
Lately, Gideon Moi has been aggressively courting the opposition support base, identifying with ordinary Kenyans and hobnobbing with influential Nasa politicians.
The Kanu chairman has toured Raila’s Nyanza turf where he received a hero’s his weekend, he was in Western Kenya where politicians suggested that a new political vehicle was in the offing.
“Gideon, I need to say you are in the team, Musalia is in the team,” Orengo said during a funds drive in aid of the Kakamega Traders Welfare Group on Saturday.
If he runs for President in 2022, which he has not declared, his candidacy would pose a nightmare for Ruto as he will split the Kalenjin vote.
In 2002, Narc strategically supported retired President Mwai Kibaki against Uhuru to divide the Kikuyu vote.
This more ensured that Kibaki floored Uhuru in most other regions across the country to hand Narc an overwhelming victory against Kanu’s 24-year-rule.
“The year 2022 is far off and it [candidacy] would be the wish of God. There is no need to jump up and down now,” Gideon said in a jibe at Ruto’s early campaigns.
Political Analyst Martin Andati said Gideon was clearly positioning himself for a national role.
“He will definitely be a presidential candidate or a running mate,” Andati stated.
However, he says if the Constitution is not amended to expand the Executive, it will be a nightmare for opposition leaders who want to share power.
According to Washiali, however, the Luhya nation will never forgive ex-President Moi for ‘betraying’ Mudavadi in 2002 by choosing Uhuru as his preferred successor
“The Luhya Nation has not forgotten how Moi betrayed them in 2002. I don’t think that 18 years later they will find a place in thier heart to forgive him,”