- January 6, 2021
- Posted by: p mulee
Deputy President William Ruto will enter into political deals with regional political parties as part of his strategy to penetrate ‘enemy’ territory.
On his radar are ODM leader Raila Odinga’s traditional bases of Coast, Western and South Nyanza, especially the Kisii region.
With the DP’s falling out with President Uhuru Kenyatta having reached a point of virtually no return, Ruto is also working with a host of Central Kenya political parties to dethrone Jubilee.
The parties will then form an alliance and sponsor Ruto as presidential candidate.
Buoyed by a resounding victory in the Msambweni by-election, Ruto’s Coast allies, mostly elected on Raila’s ODM ticket, have publicly announced their regional outfit is ready.
The plan is to market the party as a homegrown outfit while projecting others as alien in a strategic move to isolate ODM.
“The battle will be between the Coast-based national party against foreign party insurgents,” Kilifi North MP Owen Baya told the Star, describing the Msambweni win as “a precursor to the rising Pwani and Mijikenda nationalism”.
The 2022 contest, he said, will be the final nail in the coffin of what he described as a “foreign party that has continually used the Coast as a pawn in a game of chess”.
In South Nyanza region, Ruto is positioning the People’s Democratic Party as the outfit of choice in the Gusii region.
The party is led by former South Mugirango MP Omingo Magara, a close Ruto friend dating back to 2007 when he served as ODM treasurer.
At one time in that year’s election, the two were attacked and badly injured by members of the outlawed Chinkororo group as they campaigned for Raila at a mega rally in Nyamarambe Stadium.
Two weeks ago, Magara led a delegation to a meeting with Ruto at his Karen office in what was seen as part of the grand plan.
Magara told the Star that PDP will not be swallowed by any party but will cooperate with other like-minded outfits.
“We have agreed to work closely with the Deputy President in the 2022 General Election but we shall not fold our party,” he said on Tuesday.
Magara said the party will soon mount aggressive campaigns to reclaim its place as the Gusii region’s party of choice.
Although the DP believes that he enjoys substantial support in Uhuru’s backyard, he is working closely with former Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri’s The Service Party.
Kiunjuri launched TSP last year, promising that it will be the alternative “vehicle for the people of Mt Kenya”.
There are two other parties associated with Ruto in Central: People’s Empowerment Party and New Democratic Party.
During the recent by-elections, PEP, which is linked to Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria, won the Gaturi ward seat in Murang’a.
New Democratic Party beat Jubilee in Naivasha’s Lakeview ward.
To keep a firm grip on the pastoralist communities, which are dominant in the larger Rift Valley and Northeastern, Ruto is positioning the newly rebranded United Democratic Alliance as the party of choice.
UDA, which until two weeks ago was known as Party for Development Reform, has previously been dominant in Northeastern.
A number of ODM lawmakers from the coastal region are backing Ruto.
They include Owen Baya (Kilifi North), Aisha Jumwa (Malindi), Benjamin Tayari (Kinango) and Paul Katana (Kaloleni).
Other leaders in the larger Coast working with the DP include Kwale Governor Salim Mvurya, MPs Mohamed Ali (Nyali), Khatib Mwashetani (Lunga Lunga), Ali Wario (Bura), Shariff Athman ( Lamu East) and Feisal Bader (Msambweni).
Others are Haika Mizighi (Woman Rep, Taita Taveta), Rehema Hassan (Woman Rep, Tana River) and former Mombasa Senator Hassan Omar.
In the run-up to 2017 General Election, the former larger Coast province, according to the Independence Electoral and Boundaries Commission, registered more than 1.5 million voters.
Mombasa was leading with 580,223, followed by Kilifi with 508,068, Kwale had 281,041, Taita Taveta (155,716), Tana River (118,327) and Lamu (69,776).
But in a clear indication that he is not willing to let go of his bastion, Raila has in the last few weeks camped at the Coast where he has held strategy meetings with grassroots leaders from Mombasa, Kwale and Kilifi.
The scramble for Coast has been clear.
Last Wednesday, Ruto visited Taita Taveta county where he held a meeting with leaders, including MPs Naomi Shaban (Taveta), Jones Mlolwa (Voi) and Lydia Haika (Woman Representative).
Others were former Governor John Mruttu and former Woman Representative Joyce Lay.
Former Taita Taveta Senator Dan Maanzo, who was also among the leaders who accompanied Ruto to Bader’s homecoming, said the region is shifting its support to the DP.
But on Sunday, Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho told off Ruto allies planning to form a political party.
Joho, in a statement, said the move is meant to cause division in the region, which he saidhas been united for years under ODM.
The governor, who is also the ODM deputy party leader, accused Ruto of being the sponsor of the push to form a political party to counteract ODM.