Ruto courts Mudavadi, Wetang’ula in bid to lock Raila out of Western 

Deputy President William Ruto and ANC party leader Musalia Mudavadi.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • State House battle will be a two-horse race between Raila and I, join either of us, DP tells the OKA principals.
  • Mr Musalia and Mr Wetangula backed Mr Odinga ’s presidential bid in 2013 and 2017.

Deputy President William Ruto has urged Amani National Congress (ANC) party leader Musalia Mudavadi and his Ford-Kenya counterpart Moses Wetang’ula to back his presidential bid, with his allies declaring that the DP is willing to sign pre-election coalition agreements with the pair.

As he began a two-day tour of Kakamega and Vihiga counties yesterday, Dr Ruto suggested next year’s presidential race would be between him and Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party leader Raila Odinga.

He added it would not be wise for ANC and Ford-Kenya to back Mr Odinga again given their falling out in the past.

“The 2022 presidential poll will be a two-horse race pitting me against Tinga (Mr Odinga). This leaves my brothers, [Mr] Mudavadi and [Mr] Wetang’ula with only two options,” the DP told a campaign stop at Butali market in Malava constituency.

They, he explained, could “either choose to work with me or with Mr Odinga. But since they supported Odinga in [2017] and know how [it] ended, they are welcome to my camp and they will have no regrets.” 

Mr Musalia and Mr Wetangula backed Mr Odinga’s presidential bid in 2013 and 2017 when he ran on a joint ticket with Wiper’s Kalonzo Musyoka.

The four were co-principals under the National Super Alliance (Nasa), which was dissolved this year after the three leaders accused Mr Odinga of reneging on a promise to back one of them next year.

The three later teamed up with Kanu’s Gideon Moi to form the One Kenya Alliance (OKA) where they are still haggling about who will be the flag-bearer.

Mr Odinga has since declared his presidential candidature under an anticipated coalition party with the apparent backing of President Kenyatta, who has unsuccessfully tried to reunite the former Nasa leaders.

Yesterday, Dr Ruto signalled his intention to court OKA leaders in a strategy to lock out Mr Odinga from the vote-rich Western region.

He said OKA principals had been duped to take part in “boardroom interviews” to establish who among them was best-suited to succeed President Kenyatta when the scheme was meant to benefit Mr Odinga.

The DP was referring to the Mt Kenya Foundation’s support of Mr Odinga. MPs Benjamin Washiali (Mumias East), Didmus Barasa (Kimilili), John Waluke (MP Sirisia) as well as former Sports Cabinet Secretary Rashid Echesa, and former Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale all hinted at the DP signing memorandums of understanding with Mr Mudavadi and Mr Wetang’ula on a power-sharing deal .

“We welcome the two OKA principals to work with Ruto because they have indicated that they are not ready to work with Mr Odinga when they skipped his Azimio la Umoja convention. We assure them of our support [towards forming a partnership] with the DP,” said Mr Washiali. 

The DP has lately suffered setbacks after some of his allies, such as Kisii Deputy Governor Joash Maangi, Migori Govenor Okoth Obado and Kisii United Democratic Alliance (UDA) Coordinator Samuel Omwando developed cold feet on backing him.

In Coast, Kilifi Governor Amason Kingi, who had initially warmed up to Dr Ruto, has since announced his Pamoja African Alliance party will support Mr Odinga’s presidential bid.

Yesterday, Dr Ruto rallied Kakamega residents to back his presidential bid, citing the Jubilee administration’s development record and his past role as a cabinet minister.

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