DP William Ruto

Deputy President William Ruto addresses residents of Kwale at Dr Babla grounds during Msambweni MP-elect Feisal Bader's homecoming celebrations on December 31, 2020.

| Wachira Mwangi | Nation Media Group

Inside plan by ‘Ruto parties’ to take over ODM, Jubilee turfs

What you need to know:

  • Newly unveiled the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) has come on top of the list of parties courting Dr Ruto.
  • Some say the DP is mulling collapsing the parties into an alliance ahead of 2022.

After months of simmering tension in the ruling Jubilee Party, Deputy President William Ruto’s camp has lined up at least six political parties, one, or all of which, the DP will use to contest the 2022 presidential election, the Saturday Nation has learnt.

In the coming months, which will be rife with political activity — BBI referendum campaigns and by-elections for Nairobi governor, Machakos senator, Matungu and Kabuchai MPs and ward reps across the country — the “Ruto parties” will avail themselves of a chance to show their mettle as they hassle for wins in the mini polls against the Big Five — Jubilee, Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), Amani National Congress (ANC), Wiper and Ford Kenya.

Sources within the DP’s circles say he prefers an already registered party to forming one. They add that any party associated with a “hustler” will be good for the man who says he rose from a chicken seller in Turbo, Uasin Gishu County.

But the newly unveiled the United Democratic Alliance (UDA), associated with former Machakos senator Johnson Muthama, has come on top of the list of parties courting Dr Ruto, alongside The Service Party of former Agriculture Cabinet secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri, New Democrats associated with former Marakwet West David Kiprono Sudi and People’s Empowerment Party (PEP) linked to Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria. 

Some say the DP is mulling collapsing the parties into an alliance ahead of 2022.

In the meantime, the Tangatanga wing of Jubilee wants to use the Ruto-friendly parties to capture seats that become available ahead of 2022.

Mr Kuria’s PEP has announced it will field a candidate for the Nairobi gubernatorial race. In the December 15 by-election in Gaturi Ward, Murang’a County, Esther Mwihaki Kamau of PEP won.

The “Ruto parties” aim to go hunting for more legislators and defectors before forming a formidable alliance. The United Green Party (UGP) and Grand Dream Development Party (GDDP) associate with DP allies Aldai MP Cornelius Serem Nandi Senator Samson Cherargei, Kapseret MP Oscar Sudi and Soy’s Caleb Kositany are also in the mix.

Isolated in government

Mr Kositany, who is Jubilee Party’s deputy secretary-general and the DP’s de facto spokesperson, earlier told the Saturday Nation that they are not planning to register any party ahead of the 2022 General Election.

“If the DP decides to leave Jubilee Party, he will not need to form another party but use those which have been registered,” he said.

Sometime last year, there was political excitement when Andrew Simiyu, a 30-year-old little-known businessman, quietly reserved the name Jubilee Asili at the Office of the Registrar of Political Parties, upsetting a plot by Ruto’s allies to use the name. 

The DP’s allies had made a similar inquiry only to be told that it was already taken.

The registrar, Ms Anne Nderitu, said the application for registration of Jubilee Asili would be evaluated under the Political Parties Act, 2011. Section 8 of the Act states that the registrar may refuse an application of a political party if its name, abbreviation or symbol “so nearly resembles the name or symbol, or an abbreviation of the name of another political party”.

The DP last August gave the clearest indication yet that he will most likely not vie for President on a Jubilee Party ticket in case the troubles persist.

The DP, who was being interviewed in one of the local TV stations, said that, even though the turbulence in Jubilee can still be ironed out through dialogue, he has several options if the woes in the party are not resolved.

According to Dr Ruto, the problem facing the Jubilee Party has been engineered by people whom he described as ‘conmen’ who are out to clip his State House bid.

Isolated in government and staring at what would be an anti-establishment stab at the top, DP Ruto alluded to plans by certain forces led by vice-chairman David Murathe to bar the party from having a presidential candidate in the 2022 General Election.

“Our Jubilee Party has been hijacked by busybodies, conmen and brokers making it look like Kanu, which had issues and at last remained a skeleton. Now we are being told that the party might not field a candidate in 2022 because they have plans with certain individuals,” said Dr Ruto, adding:

“We will not run away from our problems; we will try to solving them because it is leaders who look for solutions where a problem is. I believe that problems in our party has not reached a level that they cannot be resolved, but, in case they persist, there are several options in politics; when President Kenyatta found that it was no longer tenable to be in Kanu, he formed The National Alliance (TNA), and similarly in my case, when ODM became dictatorial, I walked out and established the United Republican Party (URP).”

Political home

In the quest for a political “home,” Mr Muthama recently moved to rebrand the Party for Development and Reforms (PDR) to United Democratic Alliance (UDA) and change its symbol from a bull to a wheelbarrow.

The news got tongues wagging, with talk that the DP will use it as his vehicle in the presidential contest.

But Mr Muthama has denied that he was forming UDA for Dr Ruto.
Register party

“Since I left Wiper, I have not joined any party and I have been out of politics for some time. I want to participate in the 2022 election, and that is why I am registering UDA, which I believe will unite all Kenyans sharing the same aspirations,” he said, adding: “When I talk of Kenyans, that includes the DP, but does not mean the party is his.”

And, since PDR-UDA party is a member of the Jubilee coalition, the DP’s allies who have started promoting it do not fear sanctions for associating with it, as the Political Parties Act provides for such co-operation.

PDR is associated with politicians from the north-eastern region.

But some of the party insiders say that, even though UDA remains the most preferable party for 2022, the DP could still choose another party.

“We have around eight political parties which are allied to our friends which will play a key role come 2022,” said Kimilili MP Didmus Barasa.

His South Mugirango counterpart Sylvanus Osoro said the Tangatanga door is open for engagements with those who share the vision of uplifting “hustlers”.