When President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto took to campaigns to succeed former President Kibaki, they had an impressive manifesto that promised to change Kenya for the best. The plan was for Ruto to deputise Uhuru for two terms and then Ruto would make his bid for the top seat, and as things would have played out, Uhuru would have made up his mind whether to support him or not.
It would be unwise to say or assume this deal was unconditional. It was to depend on how things would unfold between the two principals, based on their working relationship.
The time is here, and Uhuru has given the reasons why he would not recommend Ruto for the presidency.
As the President threw his support behind Raila Odinga, Ruto has been evidently and openly angered by the move and as a result, he has sought the alliance of Ford Kenya leader Moses Wetangula and ANC’s Musalia Mudavadi, respectively.
Initially, Ruto had clashed with leaders from the Mt Kenya, including Moses Kuria and Mwangi Kiunjuri, who insisted on having their own parties before getting to the negotiating table. On this, he got the unquestioned following of Rigathi Gachagua, Ndindi Nyoro, Kimani Ichung’wah and Alice Wahome who bolted out of Uhuru-led Jubilee Party to join Ruto’s UDA. To their surprise, months later, Ruto would seek and recognise ANC and Ford-Kenya parties for partnership.
Only recently, did Ruto accept parties from the mountain, in a determined move to receive leaders who help water down the influence of President Uhuru in Mt Kenya and make him (Ruto) the unconditional political leader of the region.
Of all the Kikuyu leaders in UDA and Kenya Kwanza camp, none seems to have their eyes on the national stage—beyond the positions of governor, senator, woman rep, MP and MCA. This is how Ruto has been able to manage the interests of the Kikuyu by stemming their ambitions and trying to ensure they follow him unconditionally.
Ruto’s message to his supporters is very clear. He supported Uhuru’s presidential bid twice and although his working relationship with the President in the second term has been weak, the Kikuyu should support him unconditionally to repay him. UDA and Kenya Kwanza supporters fully support Ruto’s strong stand that Kikuyu should not demand the deputy president’s seat because they have always been in government and in positions of power.
The sentiments by Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malalah that the position can only be given to Mudavadi is valid and strong. It is the most logical position. How do you expect UDA, which is in a coalition deal with other parties to produce both the presidential candidate and running mate? The likes of Kabogo and Kuria who support Ruto with own parties do not seem confident enough to aim higher than the governor’s position and that is why the latter finally agreed to work with them. Ruto cleverly ensured he removed the option of deputy presidency from the Kikuyu long before many could see it and for this reason, Wetangula and Mudavadi were brought in.
Malalah’s demand that Mudavadi should be named the Ruto’s running mate is the most honest truth that awaits the Kenya Kwanza family. Between Wetang’ula and Mudavadi, the latter is considered a stronger political figure of influence in Western Kenya and he is the most reasonable candidate for Ruto’s running mate.
Should it not be Mudavadi, it definitely cannot be a Kikuyu. Remember, one of the arguments of UDA is they want to end the reign of political dynasties in Kenya. What many supporters should understand is this dynasty slogan also targets communities that have held power for long. It is the feeling of UDA and Kenya Kwanza the Kikuyu have been in power for so long and are not expected to demand the DP position in the next regime.
In that spirit, the Kikuyu should sit down as a political dynasty community and give way to other communities to also enjoy the trappings of power. To hold the Kenya Kwanza coalition together, Ruto will have to overlook the Kikuyu in UDA to appease his coalition partners and regions.
Remember, UDA can’t produce both the presidential candidate and running mate. Even Gachagua should have known this when he joined UDA.
— The writer is Public policy analyst — [email protected]
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