Deputy President William Ruto faces growing internal rebellion that could upset his campaigns 40 days to the August elections.
Some of his allies are abandoning the Kenya Kwanza Alliance cause, others are backing candidates from the rival coalition as a survival tactic while yet another group has taken a low profile in his campaigns.
Former Kiambu Governor William Kabogo, whose Tujibebe Wakenya Party is among 11 outfits that entered into a coalition deal with Dr Ruto’s United Democratic Alliance (UDA), has publicly denounced the Kenya Kwanza Alliance.
Mr Kabogo is upset that Dr Ruto’s UDA is riding roughshod over other Kenya Kwanza affiliate parties, especially in Mt Kenya region.
“I have refused to be consumed. Why must they force us in Kiambu to elect Wamatangi?” Mr Kabogo has protested referring to his opponent Senator Kimani Wamatangi who is UDA’s candidate for Kiambu governor.
“Gachagua is a dictator and that’s the cause of the disruption of the cordial relationship we’ve enjoyed all along,” the former governor protested at a recent campaign forum in Kiambu as he attacked Dr Ruto’s running mate Mr Rigathi Gachagua.
Mr Kabogo has since advised his supporters to vote for him as governor, but choose whomever they prefer for the presidency, a statement seen as withdrawal of support for Dr Ruto’s presidential candidature.
At the Coast, the recent move by Kilifi Governor Amason Kingi, the Pamoja African Alliance (PAA) party leader, to give Dr Ruto’s visit to the area a wide berth last Sunday was also viewed as a silent protest depicting the sibling rivalry in the alliance.
Mr Kingi has fielded Mr George Kithi as the PAA candidate for Kilifi governor to face off with UDA’s Aisha Jumwa.
In Kwale, PAA has Mr Lung’anzi Chai as its candidate for governor against Deputy Governor Fatuma Achani of UDA.
And in the race for the Mombasa governorship, Dr William Kazungu is PAA’s candidate against UDA’s Hassan Omar.
UDA national chairman Johnson Muthama has taken a backseat in the national campaigns since the entry of his bitter rival, Machakos Governor Dr Alfred Mutua of Maendeleo Chap Chap.
Although Mr Muthama has reiterated his commitment to the DP’s cause, he argues that his conscience cannot allow him to share a podium with Dr Mutua.
“My conscience and principles cannot be compromised at any given time as I am a person with a firm stand,” argues Mr Muthama.
The DP’s campaigns in Samburu County were also rocked on Monday after Governor Moses Lenolkulal campaigned for Mr Raila Odinga’s Azimio la Umoja One Kenya candidates in the region.
The cracks were reportedly fuelled by supremacy battles between Kenya Kwanza’s Samburu senator candidate Senator Steve Lelegwe and the retiring county chief.
Mr Lenolkulal has openly campaigned for Dr Richard Lesiyampe and Henry Lengolos, the Azimio governor and senator candidates in Samburu, respectively.
As Dr Ruto’s campaigner in the region, Mr Lenolkulal would have been expected to rally behind the Kenya Kwanza candidates, Jonathan Lati Leleliit and Dr Lelegwe who are vying for governor and senator, respectively.
“Are you ready for the August 9 General Election? Then vote in Dr Lesiyampe and Henry Lengolos as your next governor and senator. At the top, vote DP Ruto as your President,” Governor Lenolkulal told a meeting at Archers, Samburu East on Monday.
In Kakamega, Dr Ruto’s Kenya Kwanza is in a state of confusion following an internal revolt that has seen Senator Cleophas Malala publicly clash with his predecessor Dr Boni Khalwale.
Dr Khalwale was recently forced to abandon a Kenya Kwanza rally in Matungu Constituency after Mr Malala accused him of flirting with Azimio candidates.
Dr Khalwale had urged the voters at the joint event with Mr Malala to evaluate all the candidates and vote for the best, even naming ODM gubernatorial candidate Mr Fernandes Barasa as an option.
“I have been the best legislator in the history of Kenya and you know me well. Vote for me in the coming election. You can also evaluate candidates for various seats and choose the one who will cater for your interests,” said Dr Khalwale.
This, however, angered Mr Malala who accused Dr Khalwale of working for their opponents.
Yesterday, Mr Malala, however, downplayed the incident.
In Nakuru County, Mr Gachagua was last week forced to reconcile the UDA gubernatorial candidate Susan Kihika and Bahati MP Kimani Ngunjiri, who is defending his seat on the party’s ticket.
Ms Kihika had accused Mr Ngunjiri of backing her opponent Governor Lee Kinyanjui, who is defending the seat on a Jubilee party ticket.
Ms Kihika was said to have infuriated Mr Ngunjiri for her backing of Jubilee’s Bahati MP candidate, Ms Irene Njoki.
In Kajiado County, Kajiado East MP Peris Tobiko who lost the UDA gubernatorial ticket to her Kajiado South counterpart Mr Katoo Ole Metito is said to be rooting for Governor Joseph Ole Lenku, who is defending his seat on an ODM party ticket under the Azimio coalition.
Amani National Congress (ANC) leader Musalia Mudavadi recently also protested against the fielding of UDA candidates in his Vihiga county backyard. He rallied his supporters to reject the UDA team and instead elect ANC candidates.
In Mt Kenya, the revolt has been vicious with The National Service (TSP) party leader Mwangi Kiunjuri, Mr Kabogo and Chama Cha Kazi leader Moses Kuria closing ranks against UDA.
“Our agreement indicates that we all enjoy equal rights and status in Kenya Kwanza … That includes Deputy President Dr William Ruto, who is the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) party leader. Mr Gachagua should respect the equal rights of other principals,” Mr Kiunjuri said last week while protesting Mr Gachagua’s decision to rally supporters to vote only UDA candidates.
Mr Kuria has however, defended Mr Gachagua, over claims that he engineered the attack on their parties.
In Bungoma, Mt Elgon MP Fred Kapondi who is defending his seat on a UDA party ticket has backed Governor Wycliffe Wang’amati’s re-election. The governor is vying on a DAP-K ticket, an affiliate of Azimio coalition. He is facing off with Senate Speaker Kenneth Lusaka of Ford Kenya who is the Kenya Kwanza candidate.
Political analyst Dismas Mokua argues candidates are pursuing “their own interests without paying attention to their coalition leaders’ interests.”