What you need to know:
- Plan has also roped in governors Amason Kingi of Kilifi, Kwale’s Salim Mvurya and Mombasa’s Hassan Joho.
- On Monday the DP held high-level crisis meeting with some of his allies to stem a possible fallout in his camp.
Deputy President William Ruto is facing a political onslaught from pro-BBI leaders keen to lock him out of their regions in the 2022 succession race.
President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Jubilee Party, Raila Odinga’s Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), the One Kenya Movement comprising of Kalonzo Musyoka’s Wiper Democratic Movement, Musalia Mudavadi’s Amani National Congress (ANC), Moses Wetang’ula’s Ford Kenya and Gideon Moi’s Kanu have rolled out a plan to keep the DP out of their strongholds and restrict him to his Rift Valley backyard. The strategy was firmed up in a meeting between party leaders and the President last week.
The plan has also roped in governors like Kilifi’s Amason Kingi, Kwale’s Salim Mvurya and Mombasa’s Hassan Joho. Their message is simple: ‘Back your own and dump Ruto’. This has shaken the DP’s new-found political vehicle, the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) to the core.
On Monday, Nation learnt that the DP held high-level crisis meeting with some of his allies to stem a possible fallout in his camp.
Yesterday, a photo of Mr Mvurya and his deputy governor Fatuma Achani visiting President Kenyatta sparked talk that the governor, perceived to be a Ruto ally in Coast, could also be joining the Handshake team.
Mr Mvurya campaigned for independent candidate Feisal Bader, a Ruto supporter, who won the Msambweni seat in a by-election last December.
In Western, the Nation has established that Mr Mudavadi and Mr Wetang’ula as well as the Raila Odinga-Wycliffe Oparanya-Mukhisa Kituyi axis are on a mission to poach the DP’s allies and ensure UDA does not get a foothold.
MPs say troubles in the DP’s camp are compounded by internal rivalries, aborted expectations and UDA’s string of poor performance in both the Matungu and Kabuchai by-elections.
Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malala, from Mr Mudavadi’s ANC, yesterday said talks are ongoing to ensure the region is rallied behind the leadership of Mr Mudavadi.
Ford Kenya’s interim Secretary-General, Kiminini MP Chris Wamalwa, yesterday confirmed to the Nation that Mr Mudavadi and Mr Wetang’ula are working on a plan to lock out “external forces” from the region.
“We’re telling our brothers outside ANC and Ford-Kenya that they risk going into political oblivion if they don’t come back home and rally behind Mudavadi and Wetang’ula,” he said.
Ruto lieutenants in Western are former Sports Cabinet Secretary Rashid Echesa, MPs Benjamin Washiali (Mumias East), Fred Kapondi (Mt Elgon), Dan Wanyama (Webuye West), Malulu Injendi (Malava), John Waluke (Sirisia), Mwambu Mabonga (Bumula) and Charles Gimose (Hamisi).
Mr Echesa, Mr Waluke and Mr Gimose are said to be unhappy in UDA. Mr Washiali, who was the Majority Whip before he was kicked out last year due to his links with the DP, is also said to be uneasy, although he insisted he is unshaken in the DP’s camp.
But his no-show when DP Ruto toured Busia county and presided over three events a fortnight ago points to his disillusionment, with sources saying it’s just matter of time before he jumps ship.
“I was very sick. When we finished Matungu (by-election) I developed very heavy flu and that’s why I did not join the DP in Busia,” Mr Washiali told Nation yesterday.”
In Eastern, the combined efforts of Mr Musyoka, Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua, Kitui’s Charity Ngilu and Makueni’s Kivutha Kibwana have been unleashed on the DP.
Party of choice
They cited the DP’s poor performance in the Machakos senatorial by-election, a county from where Mr Johnston Muthama, UDA’s national chairman, hails, as a sign of things to come. Ruto candidate Urbanus Muthama Ngengele came a distant second with 19,726 votes against Wiper candidate Agnes Kavindu’s 104,352 votes.
Speaking to the Nation after meeting President Kenyatta last week, Ms Ngilu hinted at a coalition to lock out the DP. She has been meeting with Mr Musyoka and Dr Mutua to forge a united front.
In Mt Kenya, Nation has learnt that the DP’s foot soldiers are reluctant to join UDA for fear of facing a backlash from the voters.
Despite backing the DP’s candidature for 2022 and his “Hustler Nation” campaign mantra, his lieutenants in the region are said to be unenthusiastic about associating with UDA and prefer fringe parties in the region.
Those in the know say it’s the reason the DP withdrew from the Juja Parliamentary mini-poll slated for May 18.
However, Kiharu MP Ndindi Nyoro insists UDA remains the party of choice in the region.
In Coast, Odinga troops are fronting a two-strategy plan to lock out the DP, prop up Mr Joho for the presidency within ODM, or push for a Coast party that will rally behind one of their own. The second plan is led by Mr Kingi.
In Nyanza, Mr Odinga still enjoys fanatical support, although the DP has been trying to make inroads in the Gusii region. His younger brother David Ruto’s attempts to win over the region after his recent tours in Kisumu and Bondo have not borne any fruit.
Reported by Justus Ochieng, Ibrahim Oruko, Onyango K’Onyango, and Brian Ojamaa