William Ruto

Deputy President William Ruto in Kahawa West, Nairobi, yesterday. His campaign team consists of political and technical advisers, religious leaders and trade unionists.

| Jeff Angote | Nation Media Group

Inside Ruto’s 2022 campaign machine

Deputy President William Ruto has begun putting in place a team to craft his 2022 campaign manifesto and strategy.

Keen to right the wrongs of the ruling Jubilee Party, the monolith that was just 62 shy of the absolute two-thirds majority in the National Assembly, the DP is rolling out structures in his United Democratic Alliance (UDA) in a bid to build confidence among followers.

To increase its presence on the ground and achieve a membership target of five million before the primaries in April, the party is soon recruiting grassroots coordinators.

UDA Secretary General Veronica Maina says the recruitment would begin in every constituency on Wednesday next week.

“Our party intends to strengthen its grassroots presence through addition of two polling centre coordinators across the 47 counties,” Ms Maina said in a statement.

“Where there is a polling centre coordinator, an additional one will be appointed.”

Dr Ruto unveiled the UDA National Executive Committee (NEC) at his Karen home on Thursday last week.

The NEC is a decision-making organ of the party that will play a key role in grassroots elections and nominations.

According to the UDA constitution, the NEC is responsible for party policies, political guidance, membership, bodies and committees formed by the party, communications made to state agencies and others, regional, international cooperation with governments and partners among others functions.

The NEC is made of 34 people. The party constitution says it should have 39.

Since the formation of UDA in February last year, Ms Maina and former Machakos Senator Johnson Muthama have been the only officials known to the public. Mr Muthama is the chairman of the party that claims to have more than three million members.

Key figures in the NEC include former Cabinet Minister Kipruto Kirwa, Kenya National Union of Nurses Secretary General Seth Panyako and Mr Nicholas Marete.They are Mr Muthama’s deputies.

Ms Maina has three deputies. Mr Eliud Owalo, who was an insider of Orange Democratic Movement leader Raila Odinga is the management consultant and strategist.

Mr Mohamed Abdi Sahal is the Deputy Secretary General in charge of operations while Mr Daniel ole Sambu handles programmes.

Mr Omingo Magara, former People’s Democratic Party chairman and who served as South Mugirango MP, is the UDA Treasurer, a position he once held in ODM.

As the UDA plans what Dr Ruto describes as free, fair, democratic and verifiable nominations to prevent any fallout, the NEC has begun constituting the party’s National Elections Board (NEB).

The board will have nine members who will serve for a five-year term that will be renewable once.

The NEB will be charged with planning, organising, directing and coordinating internal party elections.

It will also help carry out the governor, Senate, National Assembly, woman representative and ward representative nominations.

“We are working on constituting our NEB. UDA is committed to delivering free, fair and credible nominations that should be accepted by winners and losers,” Ms Maina told the Sunday Nation yesterday.

Mr Muthama said the party is putting in place structures that will ensure no favouritism during primaries.

“We have heard reports of some individuals to be favoured during the party primaries. As the chairman of UDA, I want to see our hopefuls approved by voters, not through the decision of party offices, leaders or any other person,” Mr Muthama told the Sunday Nation.

The DP has also assembled a team of individuals forming part of his inner-circle as he works on a manifesto to marshal support across the country for the nation’s top job.

The team consists of political and technical advisers, religious leaders and trade unionists.

Other than Dr David Ndii, who has become the face of the bottom-up economic model being championed by Dr Ruto and the UDA, he has also enlisted Dr Irene Asienga, Mr Augustine Cheruiyot and Dr Mugambi Mureithi among those helping him craft his manifesto.

To streamline his activities, the Deputy President has appointed Turkana Governor Josphat Nanok the Director-General of the presidential campaigns.

Before a full team that will work with Governor Nanok is constituted, the second term county boss is coordinating elected leaders who accompany the DP on his campaign trail in different parts of the country.

“Thousands of volunteers of all shades are working for him and UDA to deliver the win we require on August 9 and form the next government, a government that will help them realise their dreams and aspirations,” the Turkana county boss told the Sunday Nation.

“The DP and many other Kenyans believe that the main cause of our economic and political problems is the trickle-down approach we adopted at the time of independence. It has exacerbated poverty, inequality and unemployment.”

Keiyo South MP Daniel Rono said he is happy with the choice of Mr Nanok as Director-General of Dr Ruto’s presidential campaigns.

“He is working with UDA officials, elected leaders and supporters,” Mr Rono said.

Kimilili MP Didmus Barasa, another ally of the DP, said endorsement of particular individuals to run for office would not be tolerated in UDA.

He added that endorsement, especially during political rallies, would not be witnessed in UDA.

“The DP has even advised the party to form a disciplinary committee that will enforce UDA decisions, including taming hate speech,” Mr Barasa said.

“Those who do not heed to this may not be cleared to participate in the primaries.”

According to the UDA constitution, the party’s disciplinary committee should be chaired by an advocate of the High Court who has served for at least 10 years.

The committee shall have the power to receive, hear and determine cases of discipline concerning party members.

By planning public forums that cascaded down to the wards, Dr Ruto’s strategy is to ensure his economic campaign does not fade until June, when he is expected to host a national forum and launch the UDA manifesto ahead of the General Election in August.

While the DP has been holding meetings with select individuals in the seven clusters UDA has divided the country, his strategists want this cascaded to the smallest level of political administration – the 1,450 wards, after which a county cluster is formed before being amalgamated into one document at national level.


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