Murmurs as William Ruto welcomes Azimio defectors

President-elect William Ruto

President-elect William Ruto (3rd left) during a recent meeting with Kenya Kwanza leaders in Karen. A cold war has erupted in Kenya Kwanza between Dr Ruto's long-term allies and those who are joining the alliance after elections

Photo credit: File | DPPS

A cold war has erupted in Kenya Kwanza between long-term allies of President-elect William Ruto and those who are joining the alliance after elections as the two groups jostle for influence in the coming government.

The old group that has been with Mr Ruto in the trenches as he braved the onslaught from President Uhuru Kenyatta feel they deserve more than those who are joining after Mr Ruto was declared the winner of the elections last month.

Matters have been compounded by the decision by the Deputy President to ink post-election deals with different parties that were previously supporting Azimio leader Raila Odinga, raising tension among his long-term allies in UDA.

Founders of coalition

Some leaders in KKA (Kenya Kwanza Alliance) have expressed fears that some of those joining them now want to reap where they did not sow, hence they should not be allowed to dislodge the founders of the coalition.

Mr Ruto has poached various elected leaders from the Azimio coalition. UDM’s and Mandera senator-elect Ali Roba led a delegation of the party’s elected members to Mr Ruto’s official Karen residence soon after polls.

UDM won two governor seats, two in Senate, a Woman representative, five National Assembly seats and a host of MCA positions. All have joined Kenya Kwanza.

Former Makueni Governor and Muungano Party of Kenya leader Kivutha Kibwana has also joined Dr Ruto and so is Ugenya MP David Ochieng, a leader of the Movement for Democracy and Growth (MDG) party, another Azimio affiliate.

The disquiet by the long-term allies of Mr Ruto was captured by South Mugirango MP Sylvanus Osoro on Friday when former Kisii Governor James Ongwae, former Woman rep Janet Ong'era and Abagusii leaders joined Dr Ruto's camp.

A lot of caution

Mr Osoro told the Nation that the Johny-come-lately in the Kenya Kwanza will be dealt with a lot of caution adding that some of those joining them now do not have good intentions. He complained that such individuals vilified them during campaigns and they have to wait for pioneers to benefit from Mr Ruto’s government first.

"We welcome them but they won't reap benefits from where they didn't sow. We will work with them with caution. Some do not have a good record with the electorate. Hustler nation is not about bossy attitudes," Mr Osoro said yesterday.

He disclosed that the older generation of leaders is gone and the country wants fresh leadership.

Generational change

"Tables turned and there was a generational change. We forgive but cannot forget. Get it from me, nothing came forth, nothing will come forth. Forget it. New blood it is,” Mr Osoro said in a Facebook post.

Some of Dr Ruto's allies like Kapseret MP Oscar Sudi and Nandi Senator Samson Cherargey have maintained that those who sided with the outgoing administration to humiliate them are not accepted in Kenya Kwanza and if they come, should not get a seat on the table before others are accommodated.

The duo was making reference to Tourism CS Najib Balala who had said he is ready to serve the President-elect Ruto.

“I know by Tuesday we will cease being ministers as Ruto’s government will start and that is the time when we might be called to stay until the new appointees take over or we will be told to go home and wait to hand over,” Mr Balala said.

Retire with Uhuru

But Senator Cherargey said those who are allies of President Kenyatta should retire with him since their space isn't in the new government.

"When the 10 rhinos died mysteriously, he insulted Kenyans and went to bed with despots when Dr Ruto was being humiliated. He shall not be anywhere near Kenya Kwanza government. Retire with Uhuru peacefully you have served 15 years and tourism sector plummeted," said Mr Cherargey.

Mr Sudi added: "We will not forget what they did for us in Jubilee administration."

No special treatment

But UDA chairman Johnson Muthama said that no one is going to be given special treatment whether they join now or later, noting that not everyone can get a Cabinet slot.

“Issues of who came late or earlier should not arise. What is at stake is together we want to form a government that would unite all Kenyans,” said Mr Muthama.

“There is no preference of any individual or group of people but the preference is being given to Kenyans. At any one given time, we must just have one minister in each of the ministerial positions. We cannot have two or 10,” he added.

He disclosed that people will not be awarded based on their contribution to Dr Ruto’s victory, something which will not augur well with individuals who are now jostling for positions.

“There is nothing like people being rewarded because of their communities or contributions,” said the UDA chairman.

Not discussing positions

Maendeleo Chap Chap leader Dr Alfred Mutua, who is one of the principals in the alliance, said that they are not discussing positions with those joining them now noting that they are still pushing the national unity agenda.

“Kenya Kwanza is a big family where people come in either as principals or key leaders. New entrants are welcome to make the planned Kenya Kwanza government stronger and better. The focus is unity, stability and changing the lives of Kenyans. There has been no discussion or assignment of any jobs by Dr Ruto so far. The time is not yet here,” Dr Mutua said.

Webuye East MP Martin Wanyonyi added: “As a government, we have enough space for everyone. Nobody has a permanent position within the coalition.”

Kimilili MP Didmus Barasa Saturday said those joining KKA now are welcome and that does not mean they will take positions of founders.

Iron out thorny issues

Mr Barasa added that following the KKA Parliamentary Group meeting which took place on Wednesday, they will retreat this week to iron out thorny issues in the coalition and deliberate on the House leadership.

Kilifi North MP Owen Baya also told the Nation Saturday that on Friday and Saturday next week, they will retreat to put their house in order to have ease of executing their campaign promises.