Deputy President William Ruto will meet aspirants hoping to run on the United Democratic Party ticket from his Rift Valley stronghold in a fortnight to assure them that the nominations will be free and fair.
UDA secretary-general Veronica Maina said political hopefuls from Kericho, Nandi, Baringo, Elgeyo-Marakwet, Bomet, Uasin Gishu, Samburu, Trans Nzoia, Turkana and West Pokot will meet on November 9.
They want to be assured that there will be no party favourites for gubernatorial, senatorial, parliamentary and civic positions.
“During a consultative meeting with delegates drawn from Lamu, Kwale, Mombasa, Taita Taveta and Tana River counties at Wild Waters in Mombasa, I gave them assurance of free, fair and democratic nominations,” Dr Ruto tweeted last week when he was in Coast.
He also met aspirants from Murang’a, Kirinyaga, Nyandarua, Embu, Kiambu, Machakos, Kitui and Makueni at his Karen residence in a bid to shore up his chances in Mount Kenya.
The DP also held discussions with Maa community leaders from Kajiado, Narok and Nakuru counties.
“I want to assure all that our party will embrace contests based on issues and development track record. We will work out a win-win situation and not a win-loss when election time comes. I call on all the aspirants to campaign on ideologies and whoever loses should support the winner,” Dr Ruto said in Kajiado.
“Everyone will be accommodated in government as they are all leaders in their own rights. Politics is about interests. All those contesting are not angels who fell from heaven, they have served in various positions and therefore can be judged based on what they did.”
UDA chairman Johnstone Muthama said the meetings give contenders an opportunity to know what is expected of them in the nominations.
“The agenda is to inform the aspirants what will be required and expected to earn a UDA nomination certificate. This will help them not to sit and think that friends of the DP, Muthama and the SG will land direct tickets,” said Mr Muthama.
“There’s nothing like that. They have to work for it. We would want to manage the party where members are also involved in every key step we are making.”
Having declared interest in the presidency, the DP has been campaigning in Mount Kenya, Western and Coast with little going on in the Rift Valley.
Despite facing a strong threat from Kanu chairman and Baringo Senator Gideon Moi as well as Orange Democratic Movement boss Raila Odinga in his political backyard, Dr Ruto has taken the ‘hustler’ campaign to other regions to increase his chances of succeeding President Kenyatta.
Though his Karen residence has been busy with delegations from different communities, he’s yet to host any from the Rift Valley. He has hosted regional kingpins, community leaders, youth and women, potential political partners, party leaders and religious groups.
As he rolls out his ‘hustler’ policies to boda bodas and mama mbogas in various regions, the DP has maintained low-key activities ‘at home’.
He’s been speaking of his rags-to-riches story of a man who rose from a selling chicken in Turbo township to the Office of the Deputy President.
DR Ruto is known for his generous donations, such as school buses and cash to women groups in Central, Western and Coast. As a result, Mr Odinga has questioned the source of his wealth.
The DP had two empowerment programmes in the Rift Valley in February. One was held in Sotik, Bomet County and the other in Iten, Elgeyo-Marakwet County.