Musalia Mudavadi

From Left: Ford Kenya leader Moses Wetang'ula, Deputy President William Ruto, ANC party leader Musalia Mudavadi and Jibebe Party leader William Kabogo at Bomas of Kenya on January 23, 2022 during ANC's National Delegates Conference.

| File | Nation Media Group

With planned Ruto rally, Nakuru retains key role in national politics

Over the past two decades, Nakuru has retained immense significance in Kenya's political landscape.

Power, money and political intrigues have been the hallmark of the cosmopolitan county, earning it the tag of the country's political bedrock.

The cosmopolitan county, with a population of more than two million and about one million registered voters, has remained key in national politics.

Major pronouncements and political unions are made in Nakuru.

Notably, it is in Nakuru, at the historic Afraha Stadium, that the Jubilee Alliance was born in 2013, bringing together President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto.

After the two unveiled their deal, they went on to win the 2013 elections.

In December 2016, they returned to Afraha to unveil a new political vehicle, the Jubilee Party, after they agreed to merge their parties- The National Alliance and the United Republican Party - ahead of the bruising 2017 General Election.

The duo went on to win the 2017 polls, with Nakuru voting overwhelmingly for them.

They also held thanksgiving prayers at Afraha in 2016 following the collapse of their crimes-against-humanity cases at the International Criminal Court.

And as the clock ticks towards the August 9 General Election, Nakuru is living up to its billing.

Every presidential candidate wants to get blessings from Nakuru, because of its political significance.

Orange Democratic Movement(ODM) leader Raila Odinga, for instance, launched his Azimio la Umoja in Nakuru City on August 17, 2021, a strategic plan that he said sought to unify Kenyans.

The former prime minister was hosted by his foe-turned-friend, Governor Lee Kinyanjui, and a host of other leaders.

When he addressed a crowd, after the launch, Mr Odinga said he chose Nakuru because of its political significance to Kenya.

"Nakuru is the country's political hotbed. I chose Nakuru because I want to unite the entire country under the Azimio La Umoja, ahead of the August 9 General Election,” he said.

And on Wednesday, Deputy President William Ruto, Amani National Congress party leader Musalia Mudavadi and Ford Kenya's Moses Wetang’ula will also return to Nakuru to solemnise their new political marriage.

2013 and 2017 formation

The event will precede a series of other political rallies across the country, including in the Western and Mt Kenya regions, in what United Democratic Alliance operatives have described as moments reminiscent of the 2013/2017 UhuRuto union.

"What will happen in Nakuru on Wednesday is a grand union similar to the UhuRuto 2013 and 2017 formation that went all the way to win the elections," said Kabazi MCA and Subukia parliamentary aspirant Dr Peter Mbae.

"The vision we had in 2013 and 2017 to unite this country and ensure Kenyans live in peace and harmony that died will be born in Nakuru on Wednesday. We are going to declare our intention to reunite and make this country great again.”

UDA, ANC and Ford Kenya on Sunday announced at the Bomas of Kenya in Nairobi that they had joined hands to work on an agenda to transform Kenya.

The DP announced that the UDA-ANC-Ford Kenya first rally would be held in Nakuru.

“The grand journey to bring this unity together has started in Bomas and our first stop will be in Nakuru on Wednesday, before we roll out other rallies across the country,” said DP Ruto in his speech at Bomas.

"We will work with ANC, Ford-Kenya and all other parties that want to walk with us in this journey of bringing the nation together.”

Nakuru is part of DP Ruto's political bastion and apart from being a political bedrock, it is also a significant battleground for politicians eyeing the top seat.

Political pundits now say that, as in previous elections, Nakuru will yet again play a major role in midwifing the next political dispensation.

"Nakuru will host many more political pronouncements and declarations and will definitely shape the country's politics in the State House race to succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta," said lawyer and political analyst Steve Kabita.

"When Nakuru coughs, all of Kenya catches a cold. Due to the past key political declarations and decisions that have been made in Nakuru, as the country heads to the August 9 polls, every presidential aspirant wants blessings from Nakuru.

Joseph Towett, another political analyst, says Nakuru has maintained its significance as a political melting pot since the Mzee Jomo Kenyatta era.

"Mzee Kenyatta loved Nakuru, and used to visit the place always and spend a lot of time here, same as President Daniel arap Moi. Moi even made Nakuru his home, settling at Kabarak,” he said.

“Everyone wants to capture the attention of Kenya's political hotbed, get the blessings of Nakuru, ahead of the August 9 polls."

Governor Kinyanjui, a key ally of Raila Odinga, has in the past said Nakuru is the soul of Kenya's politics owing to the past political pronouncements that have shaped the country's politics.

"Nakuru holds a strategic position politically and economically and hence we must take a lead role in the 2022 General Election and determine who becomes the next President of Kenya," he said in an interview earlier this month.

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