Former critics of President William Ruto in his Rift Valley backyard in the run up to the August 9 General Election are slowly crawling back to his fold.
The politicians, who were allies of former President Uhuru Kenyatta and Azimio La Umoja One Kenya presidential candidate Raila Odinga have declared their intentions to work with President Ruto.
They include former MPs Matthew Lempurkel (Laikipia North), Swarup Mishra (Kesses) and Moitalel ole Kenta-who was Narok gubernatorial candidate on ODM ticket in August polls.
Tiaty MP William Kamket, formerly a close ally of Kanu chairman Gideon Moi, has already joined Dr Ruto’s camp.
Others said to be reconsidering their political stand include former Nakuru governor Lee Kinyanjui, Nakuru West MP Samuel Arama,his Bahati counterpart Irene Njoki, former MPs Alfred Keter (Nandi Hills), Silas Tiren (Moiben) and Joshua Kutuny (Cherangany).
Some of the politicians, majority having lost in the polls, have since ditched Mr Odinga and vowed to work with Dr Ruto in the 2027 polls.
Also read: Rift Valley rebels back to William Ruto fold
Political pundits say the leaders want to remain politically relevant and are angling for appointments.
“Majority of the politicians are trooping to President Ruto’s camp to avoid being in the cold for the next five years. They are keen to be part of the government of the day, and to get the benefits of being close to the President as they prepare to make political comebacks in 2027,” lawyer and political analyst Steve Kabita told the Nation.
The latest to join President Ruto’s fold is former Laikipia North MP Matthew Lempurkel.
In Maasailand,Dr Ruto’s fiercest critics are softening their stances towards the man they loathed before the polls.
Mr Lempurkel, who campaigned vigorously against Dr Ruto, attributes his fallout with Mr Odinga to alleged ‘shortchanging’ in the recent East Africa Legistlative Assembly (Eala) MP nominations.
“I never voted for Ruto. He used to hate me so much but what he has done for us (Maasai) has made me change my mind. He has given us a CS,two PSs and State House comptroller is our son.His ADC is also our son.Today I quit ODM and I join President Ruto,”Mr Lempurkel said.
Speaking at a thanksgiving ceremony of Mr Peter Kiok in Narok North last week,Mr Lempurkel said he was ‘shortchanged’ in the Eala seat nominations despite campaigning for Mr Odinga across Maa nation.
Mr Lempurkel lost to his rival Sarah Lekorere of Jubilee Party in the August polls.
In Narok, ODM party leaders are also warming up to Dr Ruto, with former ODM governor candidate ole Kenta withdrawing his petition against his political nemesis, UDA’s Patrick ole Ntutu.
Sources close to the former Narok North MP confirmed to the Nation that he is warming up to President William Ruto.
Mr Kenta is, however, yet to declare his next political move.
A source on Sunday told the Nation that more leaders initially opposed to Dr Ruto could join his camp in the coming weeks.
“Most of former President Ruto critics are rethinking their political stands to avoid disappearing into political oblivion ahead of 2027. To avoid the political mistakes they made in the previous election, some are planning to publicly decamp and join Ruto’s Hustler nation,” revealed a sitting UDA MP, who sought anonymity.
Kuresoi South MP Joseph Tonui, said the entire Rift Valley is solidly behind the President.
“Rift Valley has always been fully behind Ruto except for a few critics and going forward, nobody will be left out. All leaders are expected to work closely with the President to promote the development of the region and the country,” Mr Tonui said.
Already, Mr Kamket and Mr Mishra have officially moved to Dr Ruto’s camp.
Mr Kamket was welcomed to the Kenya Kwanza by Dr Ruto on September 1.
Last month, Dr Mishra asked his constituents to forgive him for not joining UDA ahead of the polls.