Charles Keter first CS to publicly back William Ruto’s State House bid 

William Ruto

Deputy President William Ruto (right) with Devolution Cabinet Secretary Charles Keter at Moi Gardens in Kericho County on January 10, 2022. Mr Keter became the first CS to publicly endorse DP Ruto’s bid for the presidency.

Photo credit: John Njoroge | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Devolution Cabinet Secretary says the Deputy President is best suited to succeed President Kenyatta.
  • Other Cabinet Secretaries who have publicly taken sides in the presidential contest, including Dr Fred Matiang’i, Peter Munya and Joe Mucheru.

Charles Keter has become the first Cabinet Secretary to back Deputy President William Ruto’s presidential bid, even as the DP witnessed fierce rivalry in the south rift, signaling controversial United Democratic Alliance (UDA) nominations.

Mr Keter, who is the Devolution CS, told a rally in Kericho that Dr Ruto is best suited to succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta.  

“For decades, I have covered a lot of political ground with the Deputy President and I am backing him to succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta in the General Election,” said Mr Keter.

The CS also announced that he will be vying a seat in the August polls, but added that he had not decided which seat he will contest. He is reportedly seeking to succeed Kericho Governor Paul Chepkwony who is serving his second term in office.

Others gunning for the seat are Deputy Governor Lily Ngok, university lecturers Dr Erick Mutai and Prof James Sang, as well as businessman Fred Kirui.

“There have been claims I do not support the DP or UDA. Those who have been selling the narrative should be ashamed from today henceforth,” Mr Keter told the meeting at Moi Gardens in Kericho town.

Other CSs who have publicly taken sides in the presidential contest, including Dr Fred Matiang’i, Peter Munya and Joe Mucheru have backed ODM leader Raila Odinga.

Reviving the economy

Mining and Petroleum Chief Administrative Secretary John Mosonik and his Labour counterpart Patrick Ole Ntutu also publicly associated with the DP and UDA in the public rallies in Bomet and Kericho counties.

At the Bomet rally, supporters of Governor Hillary Barchok, Chama Cha Mashinani (CCM) party leader Isaac Ruto and Dr Mosonik clashed, making it almost impossible for leaders to make speeches.

At one point, Dr Barchok, who was the master of ceremonies, handed the microphone to his Uasin Gishu counterpart Jackson Mandago who also found it difficult to calm down the charged crowd.

“Today’s meeting is meant to give blessings to the Deputy President so he can go to other parts of the country to campaign. It is a prayer session and we want it to be peaceful,” Dr Barchok pleaded before cutting short his speech to invite other leaders.

Mr Mandago’s attempt to calm the supporters of the three leaders was unsuccessful. Dr Ruto was forced to step in at the very early stages of the meeting when it became difficult for the local leaders to control the rival factions that were shouting in favour of their candidates.

Mr Ruto, who is a former Bomet governor, told the gathering that CCM and UDA had the same policies on reviving the economy, creating jobs and uniting the people.

“CCM’s Pesa Mashinani and UDA’s Kazi ni Kazi are similar and that is why we are rallying behind Dr Ruto for the presidency,” said Mr Ruto amidst cheers and jeers from the crowd.

Six-piece suit voting pattern

Dr Mosonik spoke briefly, asking residents to support the DP for the presidency.

But attempts by Dr Ruto to call for a “six-piece suit” voting pattern was rebuffed by the residents who said they will make their independent choices on the candidates, but will rally behind him for the presidency.

“I can see the political temperatures here are highly charged, but I am imploring you to give me the leaders I can work with. Please elect UDA leaders for the various positions,” said Dr Ruto.

“I want to assure all the candidates and their supporters that we will preside over a free and fair election, devoid of any manipulation. The best candidate will win,” the DP said.

In Kericho, an attempt by the county senator to introduce his competitors was met with jeers from the crowd.

It was the same situation in Bomet where local MPs and those from other regions were only allowed to greet the crowd.

In a tour of Nakuru, Nandi, Uasin Gishu, Elgeyo-Marakwet and Trans Nzoia counties recently, the DP has come witnessed similar clashes, with local political leaders being booed by the public.