DP William Ruto and ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi during the homecoming of Lurambi MP Bishop Titus Khamala at Mwangaza Secondary School, Kakamega county, on August 18, 2018.
DP William Ruto and ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi during the homecoming of Lurambi MP Bishop Titus Khamala at Mwangaza Secondary School, Kakamega county, on August 18, 2018.
Image: DPPS

By Reporter

Allies of Deputy President William Ruto and those of ANC boss Musalia Mudavadi on Sunday traded barbs on who between the two leaders stands a better chance at the presidency in 2022.

Ruto’s foot soldiers asked Musalia to “swallow his pride” and back Ruto for the top job or he would be relegated once again to the opposition for another five years after the next general elections.


“Musalia doesn’t have the energy and the network that the DP seems to enjoy. You can’t compare Ruto’s political muscle with Musalia,”Kimilili MP Didmas Barasa told the Star, adding that Musalia has no option other than backing Ruto.

The exchange was triggered by a strongly worded statement by Musalia in which he denounced any political deal with Ruto.

Musalia instead emphasised what he termed a “personal relationship with the president”.

“At no time has the Party Leader and ANC officially announced any political working relationship with Deputy President William Ruto…The ANC Party Leader has been categorical that he will only welcome an alliance, including with Ruto, in which he is supported as its candidate,” Musalia’s spokesman Kibisu Kabatesi said.

He noted that Musalia has always said that the ANC will play what he termed as the role of a “loyal opposition” – supporting and criticising the government where and when necessary.  

“The Party Leader has often emphasised the personal relationship he has with the President as the basis of his (Mudavadi’s) support for his (President’s) government. That position has never changed and he is not about to severe that direct link for third party intercession,” he stated.

The statement was seen as part of the scramble for Uhuru’s attention in 2022, with top political leaders battling for a slice of the populous Mount Kenya votes.

ODM Leader Raila Odinga, Wiper’s Kalonzo Musyoka, Kanu’s Gideon Moi are among political leaders hoping for Uhuru’s endorsement.

In 2013, Uhuru backtracked on a promise to support Musalia and latter claimed he was mislead by demons.

Musalia writes in his book, Soaring Above Storms of Passion, that he understood he was the demon.

“We understood we were the demons. I have wondered often times how we became demons when we never invited anybody into our space to ask them to step down for us,” he laments.

Mumias East MP Benjamin Washiali told the Star Musalia’s path to power would be clear if he accepts to back Ruto but laughed off spirited calls for the DP to instead support the ANC leader.

Washiali said the DP’s massive nationwide popularity buttressed by his role as President Uhuru’s principal assistant, gives him a head start.

“It is the wish of all of us to become president but you can’t jump from the bush and become president overnight,” he said, adding that Musalia’s place as an opposition leader doesn’t offer him any competitive advantage.

“Ruto is becoming a principal player because he made a president. For now, Musalia is coming from supporting Tinga who failed in 2017. Which platform is he using?”

He went on: “If Musalia joined Ruto that[presidency] would be a done deal…If Ruto becomes President, then Musalia would become his automatic heir.”

According to Washiali, Ruto has political goodwill across the country and says Musalia is still “young” and can easily succeed Ruto.

Ironically, Musalia is 58 while Ruto is 53.

But ANC leader Ayub Savula fired back terming such political overtures ‘nonsense’.

“We don’t want any political deal with Ruto. In fact, we want to do everything necessary to lock out Ruto out of Western Kenya,” said Savula.

The Lugari MP told the Star that “we will lock Western for Musalia” in a bid to enhance his chances of seeking alliances with other leaders across the country.

“That is nonsense. In Western Kenya we are focused on Musalia. We will not allow anyone to joke with Musalia,” he said.

“This is our time and we are working closely with President Uhuru Kenyatta,” he added.

Kimilili MP Didmas Barasa, another key Ruto ally from the Western region said while Musalia could be right in seeking to be supported in 2022, he lack the political wherewithal to take on Ruto.

The MP alleged that given that Musalia has been in the political cold since 2013, he lack the necessary political machinery and support across the country, as Ruto does.

The inverse, Barasa said, would relegate Musalia to the political oblivion for a further five years.

“If Musalia is going to run, then he would lose again in 2022. His political goose would be cooked,” he said.

Political analysts say Musalia, who ran for President in 2013 and emerged a distant third after Uhuru and Raila, is hoping that the President would endorse him in 2022.

“Mudavadi still hopes that Uhuru could pull a surprise and declare him Tosha. His [Musalia’s] hopes may be dashed given the developments emerging out of the BBI process,” said political analyst Felix Odhiambo.

Uhuru lately appears to have embraced Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya and Devolution Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa as the face of the Western region leadership.

The two have the backing of powerful Cotu Secretary General Francis Atwoli.

Through the two leaders, Uhuru has been dishing out goodies to Western including an elaborate plan to revive the sugar sector