DP William Ruto addresses residents of Nairage Enkare, Narok county, on Wednesday.
NEW STRATEGY: DP William Ruto addresses residents of Nairage Enkare, Narok county, on Wednesday/DPPS
By Reporter

Deputy President William Ruto has embarked on an aggressive, daredevil strategy that insiders claim will make his march to State House unstoppable.

In the past few weeks, Ruto has strengthened his strategy team, consolidated his Rift Valley backyard while going flat out to capture ‘enemy territory’.

Apart from public defections to his team, Ruto has also quietly gathered a host of influential civil society players who have traditionally backed his rival, Opposition chief Raila Odinga.

Ruto’s think tank members say they are implementing a strategy they call “no man’s land”, meaning Kenya is not the property of any one person or community.

No region is off-limits to anyone with good ideas in a democratic country, they say. Thus, Ruto the hustler will campaign everywhere and try to penetrate the strongholds of his opponents.

This strategy is coupled with the ‘we are all hustlers’ narrative they believe resonates widely.

With these plans, according to The Star, the strategists say, Ruto will defeat Raila hands down, even with the backing of President Uhuru Kenyatta. Raila has not announced he will run for President but all indications point to his own march to State House.

The latest to join the Ruto camp is former ANC secretary general Barrack Muluka who quit Musalia Mudavadi’s party in August.

The political strategist and communications expert will join an elite team  behind Ruto’s messaging, manifesto writing and analysing the political heartbeat of the nation ahead of 2022.

Muluka on Wednesday confirmed to the Star he had formally joined what he described as the “the winning team”.

“I am not the sort of person who hides. It is now public that I am now working for the DP. As the Good Book says: ‘The old is gone and new things have come,'” he said on the phone.

He added, “I have crossed the Rubicon [irrevocably committed to a course of action] and I’m very focused  on the assignment we have as a country.”

Muluka joined Ruto just days after former Raila aide Eliud Owalo also joined the DP.

Owalo has hit the ground running and launched what he calls “hustler movement grassroots structures” in all Nyanza counties.

Previous presidential contenders have always skipped Nyanza  Raila’s primary bedrock — as campaigns there are always considered a waste of time.

Owalo says, however, times have changed.

“Luo Nyanza is ready for a paradigm shift from retrogressive and parochial political rhetoric to an issue-based and progressive political narrative anchored in a tangible and sustainable development agenda that is responsive to the needs of the common mwananchi,” he said.

As part of his strategy to capture the larger Nyanza region, Ruto on Thursday will return to Kisii, his second visit in less than a month.

The DP will be in Nyamira on Thursday and in Kisii on Friday to raise funds for boda boda operators and churches. His host will be Kisii Deputy Governor Joash Maangi. 

But it’s Ruto’s strategy of big money fundraisers that his opponents are latching onto discredit his campaign.

On Wednesday, Raila said Ruto has been in government for seven years despite lofty promises and is now throwing crumbs to the poor as the 2022 General Election becksons.

 “You promised Kenya 500,000 jobs and seven years later there is not a single job and now you are telling them to take wheelbarrows. For us, we have solutions, we must teach our people how to overcome poverty,” Raila said

Apart from Nyanza, Ruto is also positioning himself to capture a substantial chunk of the Coast region from Raila.

On Tuesday, Ruto met several ODM and Wiper MCAs from Mombasa, most of whom are opposed to the leadership of Governor Hassan Joho, who is an ODM deputy party leader.

Some MCAs are understood to have promised to support Ruto for president.

Ruto also seeks to have the Rift Valley under lock and key, despite efforts by his rival, Baringo Senator Gideon Moi, to capture it.

Sources on his team said Ruto is keen to have all 14 counties in the former Rift Valley province “speak in one voice”.

On Tuesday Ruto hosted hundreds of grassroots leaders from Narok at his Karen residence.

“Of course, Rift Valley is his home ground and we are working round the clock for the region to speak in one voice and support the DP who captures the hopes and aspirations of the hustler nation,” Soy MP Caleb Kositany told the Star.

He added,”It is not just Rift Valley that is uniting behind the DP but every hustler who is fed up with dynasties.”

Baringo Senator Moi also come from the vast region and has hinted he will seek to succeed President Kenyatta. He too building up his support base.

In recent days, the scion of former President Daniel Moi who ruled Kenya for 24 years has approached several Ruto allies, trying to lure them to his side and revive Kanu’s old networks.

In the last two months, Ruto has intensified strategy meetings with leaders of the Kalenjins, Maasais, Turkanas and Samburus who dominate Rift Valley.

The political support of the Maasais and Turkanas has been almost evenly split between Uhuru and Raila in the last two presidential polls.

While Raila has enjoyed substantial support in Maasailand and in Turkana, Moi and Kanu made inroads in Samburu county.

In the 2017 General Election, Raila’s ODM only won three parliamentary seats in the entire Maa community – Kajiado Central (Kanchory Memusi), Narok North (Moitale Ole Kenta) and the Narok Senate seat (Ledama Ole Kina).

ODM also nominated Judith Pareno to the Senate.

In Turkana county, ODM won the governor’s seat and Loima, Turkana East and Turkana Central.

Other than Loima MP Jeremiah Lomorukai, Governor Josphat Nanok and the two ODM MPs have warmed up to Ruto.

Nanok is a member of Ruto’s think tanks.

In less than one week, Nanok – a onetime Raila diehard supporter and ODM vice chairman – has met twice with the Deputy President.

On Saturday last week, Nanok mobilised all Turkanas in Nakuru county for a meeting with Ruto where they declared the DP will be their presidential candidate.

The second-term governor who is known for his straight talk said Ruto’s 2022 rallying cry – the hustler movement – is unstoppable.

He said Ruto is the only one who can unite the country and who has a vision of solving problems facing young people and ordinary Kenyans. 

“I believe in the DP’s vision because that is where we will get solutions for the challenges we face and as residents of Turkana we will be part of the hustler movement,” Nanok said.

Most governors in the expansive Rift Valley are already backing the DP as are most MPs, senators and other influential leaders.

However, some who once were close associates of the DP have been intimidated by the state, but they are still secretly supporting him.

Former chairman of  the Justice and Legal Affairs committee in the National Assembly William Cheptumo said Rift Valley only know one presidential candidate in 2022 – Ruto. Cheptumo is Baringo North MP.

“From Kajiado to Turkana, from Laikipia to Trans Nzoia, from Nakuru to Nandi, we will as a region stand solidly behind the DP who has proven over time that he is a hardworking leader,” Cheptumo told the Star.

Cherang’any MP Joshua Kutuny, a critic of the DP and a supporter of the President, says such alliances are meaningless if they are intended to serve personal interests.

“Leaders should be uniting and speaking up on the cost of milk, tea, maize and the plight of evictees from Mau forest. Currently, tea farmers are appealing to us, the leadership, to listen to their cries. But we are preoccupied with 2022 politics,” he said