The much-anticipated unveiling of a running mate for Deputy President William Ruto on Saturday ran into headwinds amid reports of a major standoff.
By 5.30pm, information reaching Nation.Africa was that lawmakers allied to Dr Ruto were reportedly divided over the choice of Senator Kithure Kindiki and Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua.
At 5pm, Prof Kindiki and Mr Gachagua drove out of the meeting, pointing to a possible stand off in the unveiling of Dr Ruto's running mate. Other MPs, including principals under the Kenya Kwanza Alliance, were said to be still going on with negotiations.
What was expected to be the “easiest” exercise for Dr Ruto slowly snowballed into a major crisis.
Communication sent on Friday had indicated that the unveiling would be done at 10am.
But when lawmakers allied to Kenya Kwanza arrived at Dr Ruto’s Karen residence, a major stalemate emerged, forcing the team to convene a crisis meeting.
As that went on, protests were reported in Mathira constituency, Mr Gachagua’s backyard, with his supporters demanding that he be given the slot.
Dr Ruto is reported to have settled on Mr Gachagua but a majority of MPs from Mt Kenya were opposed to this.
Amani National Congress (ANC) of Musalia Mudavadi is also said to be opposed to Mr Rigathi’s selection. Dr Ruto had earlier in the week described the process of picking a running mate as the easiest thing that does not deny him sleep.
“The issue of running mate is an important one but it does not give us sleepless nights because we are an alliance built on people’s issues, not leaders’ positions. So, that of running mate is the easiest of the issues,” Dr Ruto said at his official Karen residence when he was receiving Kilifi Governor Amason Kingi-led Pamoja African Alliance to the coalition.
At about 3pm, there were signs that the team was about to call in the Press to reveal the chosen candidate but it turned into yet another false start.
Journalists had been camping at the gate since Saturday morning. The scheduled 10am briefing was rescheduled to 2pm and later 3pm. Sources within the official residence said that at some point the DP had a separate meeting with UDA MPs from Mt Kenya in an attempt to broker a deal.