DP William Ruto and ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi in 2018.
DP William Ruto and ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi in 2018.
Image: DPPS

By Reporter

A series of backroom meetings by DP William Ruto, ODM leader Raila Odinga and ANC boss Musalia Mudavadi  in the past few weeks have lifted the lid on political realignments as the 2022 General Election draws closer.

The three political bigwigs  are keen on succeeding President Uhuru Kenyatta in 2022 and have held several strategic meetings, some made public while others secret.

While Ruto and Mudavadi have expressed interest in succeeding Uhuru ,Raila on the other hand has not  but  his key lieutenants including Siaya senator James Orengo have repeatedly hinted that he will offer his candidature.

The Star established that in the last two weeks, Raila has held secret strategy meetings at his  Capitol Hill office  as has Ruto with his think tanks but also with key politicians from Mt Kenya, Coast, Western ,South Nyanza  and North Eastern regions.

The Deputy President has kept his meetings secret, save for Friday when he shared through his social media platforms his meeting with some religious leaders.

 Raila has been sharing photos of his  meetings with various political leaders mostly who were once defenders of the DP  in what is seen as part of a strategy to show that the DP camp is being deserted.

Shifting Allegiance
Shifting Allegiance

This week alone, Raila raided Deputy President’s camp and ran way with three key allies.

The first to cross over to the Raila side on Tuesday was Laikipia Woman Representative Catherine Waruguru.

Then on Wednesday Ruto’s long time Gideon Mungaro ( Lands Chief Administrative Secretary), former Jubilee gubernatorial flagbearer for Mombasa county Suleiman Shahbal and , Laikipia North MP Sarah Korere met Raila.

Korere was once a staunch DP ally and an unapologetic crusader against President Uhuru and Raila’s handshake that gave birth to the Building Bridges Initiative.

With Governor Hassan Joho set to exit in 2022 after his second and final term ends, Shahbal who was Jubilee pointman in 2017 in Mombasa county and former senator Hassan Omar are said to be positioning themselves to succeed Joho.

From the recent activities and close ties with Raila, it is clear Shahbal could contest for the position on an ODM ticket while Omar who has been strategizing for Ruto could run on the DP’s party.

Mvita MP Abdulswammad Nassir is also reported to be among the top contenders to succeed Joho on the ODM ticket but the entrance of Shahbal might complicate things for him.

 This friendship has since been extended to Raila who has hosted Shahbal at least twice in the past month. Shahbal has also hosted Raila twice at his home since August last year.

Once a Ruto point man in Mombasa, Shahbal has since endorsed the handshake between Uhuru and Raila.

Omar , the former  senator elected on a Wiper ticket  is yet to publicly declare whether he will run for the position of Mombasa governor in 2022. He lost to Joho in 2017 and has been working behind the scenes since the elections.

On the other hand ,  Mung’aro, a former Kilifi North MP, had been a Ruto diehard in Kilifi and  as a result, he lost his governor  bid for Kilifi governor to ODM’s Amason Kingi.

Mung’aro left the Ruto camp after the firebrand Malindi MP Aisha Jumwa became Ruto’s point person.

In the same Kilifi county, it is understood that Ruto is wooing Kaloleni MP Paul Katana (ODM) who was recently dewhipped from a parliamentary committee and Kilifi North MP Owen Baya to join his camp.  

Governor Kingi had warmed up to Ruto in 2018 but he developed cold feet after what was reported as “Ruto’s over reliance on Jumwa”.

Political analyst Isaac Wabuge noted that the alignments that are set to be seen in the coming days will be centred on the anticipated Building Bridges Initiative report and the method of implementing it.

“What we are seeing now, top politicians reaching out to potential regional leaders who will bring numbers to the table is a clear pointer of political tectonic plates shaping up very fast. Raila and Uhuru’s relationship keeps increasing day by day ahead of 2022,” Wabuge told the Star on phone.

“At the end of the month, we expect the BBI report thereafter, referendum so all these politicians are trying to build blocks for support in case of the method of implementation. Camps will likely emerge with those advocating for the popular initiative route ganging up against those opposed to a referendum,” he added.

 Ruto and his allies in Tangatanga have been opposed to a referendum and have pushed for the parliamentary route to implement the report. 

However, the Kieleweke wing of Jubilee and Raila’s ODM have maintained that BBI was a people-driven initiative and its implementation should be through a plebiscite. 

Korere who denied visiting Raila so that she is not dewhipped from a parliamentary committee said “she has no apologies to make for visiting Baba (Raila).

“I was not removed from any committee. If I was to be removed, I would not care much. I went to see Raila during the day and not night and I owe no one explanation on what we discussed,” she told the Star.

 Mudavadi and Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang’ula have agreed to work together in a bid to build a strong force in the 2022 polls.

 International Centre for Policy and Conflict Executive Director Ndung’u Wainaina said the coming together of Musalia and Wetang’ula has made it easier for leaders in the region to work together.

“Wetang’ula and Musalia came together knowing that their political enemies have the same agenda,”  he said.

Away from Western, Musalia’s confidants  told the Star that talks have already commenced to bring on board  Makueni Governor Kivutha Kibwana and former Machakos Senator Johnston Muthama to build a strong coalition.

“They are close friends and they will announce their working arrangement at the right time,” an aide privy to the development said.

Benjamin Washiali said that Musalia remains the most popular in Western but “he would be happy if he worked with  Ruto in the coming polls.”

“Musalia has numbers in Western and Ruto has numbers in Rift valley. We need to bring on board Mount Kenya, Ukambani and other areas so that we can move forward as a country. We stop politicking and serve Kenyans,” Washiali said, pushing for Musalia-Ruto alliance,” he said.

Musalia, who is working with former presidential aspirants Peter Kenneth and Martha Karua, has already agreed with the two ahead of the coming polls to push for the national interest.

The three also want to bring together other players in different sectors of the economy to build a third force, supported by the civil society.

“We are working together with people who have the interests of this country at heart. They include the civil society groups, professionals and other politicians,” Musalia recently told the Star.

Political analyst Martin Andati said “Ruto knows very well that those in power are determined to lock him out and he can join Musalia and Wetang’ula who are now working together so that they can have a pre-election arrangement.”

“Jubilee is only strong when Uhuru and Ruto are inside. However, if anyone of them leaves, Jubilee is as good as being in ICU,” he told the Star.

“Ruto has built a strong support base. The problem is that another candidate Kalonzo has not taken a stand. But Kalonzo needs to join Musalia and leave Raila in government. And when Ruto joins the three of them it’s a done deal. They will win the 2022 polls,” he added.

Andati said Mudavadi needs to reach out to many friends and start intensifying his political activities outside Western region.

“Western has supported Raila for the last two decades. They are tired. They have fatigue in supporting Raila. Musalia needs teams on the ground. He needs people who can push a good strategy. He still needs teams, which can mobilise on the ground. He needs teams to fundraise. He also needs a propaganda team,” he said.