William Ruto and Gideon Moi

Deputy President William Ruto (left) shake hands with Baringo Senator Gideon Moi as Nakuru Governor Lee Kinyanjui looks on at Cheplambus, Baringo Central in Baringo County during burial of veterans politician Hosea Kiplagat on February 19, 2021.

| Cheboite Kigen | Nation Media Group

 Ruto, Moi in fresh battle for Rift Valley kingship 

What you need to know:

  • Senator Moi to be hosted by Kanu secretary-general Nick Salat in the rally in Longisa, Bomet County.
  • Salat has dismissed claims that there are plan of installing Mr Moi as President Kenyatta’s successor in 2022.

A renewed battle for the vote-rich Rift Valley pitting Deputy President William Ruto and Kanu chairman Gideon Moi kicks off again this weekend with both leaders touring the region.

Senator Moi will visit Bomet County Friday, two months after former Bomet governor Isaac Ruto ditched him for the DP in a realignment that badly injured the Kanu boss’s following in the region, particularly the South Rift.

Dr Ruto, on the other hand, will be in West Pokot County on Saturday, just a week after Senator Moi held a rally in the region. 

The rally in Pokot was skipped by West Pokot governor John Lonyangapuo, elected on a Kanu ticket but who has recently been associated with Dr Ruto.  

Mr Moi will be hosted by Kanu secretary-general Nick Salat in the rally in Longisa, Bomet County tomorrow in an evident escalation of the senator’s political engagements.

Kenyatta’s successor

“We have said that we are no longer going to sit pretty and will come out and play in the big league of politics. Right now, we are selling the BBI message as advised by President (Uhuru) Kenyatta and we will only talk about 2022 after BBI. So why the panic? We want to tell those spreading sideshows to relax. Why are they scared?” Mr Salat told the Nation in an interview.

Salat also dismissed claims that there are plan of installing Mr Moi as President Kenyatta’s successor in 2022.

After the rally in Bomet Friday, Senator Moi will on Saturday join Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka, his Amani National Congress (ANC) counterpart Musalia Mudavadi and Ford-Kenya’s Moses Wetang’ula — all under the umbrella of the One Kenya Movement — to campaign for Agnes Kavindu Muthama, the Wiper Party candidate for the Machakos Senate by-election contest.

The leaders will also pitch tent in Machakos on Monday, savouring the parliamentary mini-poll wins in Matungu and Kabuchai where the alliance’s candidates, Peter Nabulindo in Matungu and Kalasinga Majimbo in Kabuchai, won.

Senator Moi will then return to Kiambu County on Tuesday next week with a planned tree-planting exercise at Lari.

Battle for Rift Valley

Senator Moi, who was handed a replica baton that was synonymous with his late father President Daniel arap Moi, has in the recent weeks attempted to revive Kanu with rallies in Taita Taveta, Garissa, West Pokot, and Kiambu in just the last three weeks.

But as the country heads towards the 2022 elections, Senator Moi has come out of the shadows, more confident, and attending more meetings as he projects the image of a national leader.

The battle for the Rift Valley, for Dr Ruto especially, narrows down to the pastoralist counties of Narok, Kajiado, Samburu, Turkana, West Pokot, and Laikipia with his 2022 State House race arithmetic requiring he consolidates his Rift Valley backyard vote for him to have a chance at the top job.

ODM leader Raila Odinga bagged Turkana county in 2017 with 71,063 against President Kenyatta’s 58,744, a slight improvement of the Head of State’s 2013 performance.

But the former Prime Minister has since lost ODM vice-chairman and Turkana governor Josphat Nanok to Dr Ruto’s camp, which also now has the support of the majority of the MPs in the county.