Deputy President William Ruto at Mateka market, Bumula constituency, on Sunday
Deputy President William Ruto at Mateka market, Bumula constituency, on Sunday/PHOTO/COURTESY
By Reporter

Allies of President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga believe that Deputy President William Ruto’s aggressive campaigns will be deflated when the BBI report is unveiled.

The confidants have dismissed Ruto’s frenzied rallies as a waste of time and resources, arguing they will be punctured by the Building Bridges Initiative.

To counter the DP, a series of rallies is lined up across the country in the coming days to prepare the ground for the unveiling of the BBI report.


On Monday, Nyeri Town MP Ngunjiri Wambugu, a key ally of the President, said supporters of the BBI project will deal with Ruto in days ahead.

The vocal lawmaker said Kenyans will have to be told the truth about their future in the BBI by demystifying what he dismissed as propaganda perpetrated by the DP.

“The BBI storm is going to vanquish the propagandists crisscrossing the country in their usual 2022 premature campaigns,” Wambugu said.

“They will get it rough when we start talking to Kenyans directly soon.”

Ruto has heightened his 2022 presidential campaigns, visiting various regions, donating light equipment to the youth and women and railing at the BBI.

He has warned that the BBI seeks to expand the Executive and create jobs for the political elite without tackling poverty and unemployment. Ruto wants Uhuru and Raila to shelve the BBI and focus on programmes that alleviate poverty and put food on the table for Kenyans.

However, the delayed BBI report will be out in the next 14 days in what analysts say will drastically redefine the political discourse ahead of the 2022 general elections.

“Once the report is unveiled, the 2022 political battle lines would be drawn,” said political analyst and university don Aphonce Mukhalo.

“The DP has set the tempo for the rejection of the BBI report and that would herald a confrontational situation that will define 2022 succession politics.”

The President and Raila have not agreed on any campaign to market and clear the way for the BBI, but the former Prime Minister has toured Nyanza, Coast and Western to consolidate his turfs.

ODM plans to roll out a series of rallies to prepare the ground for the BBI release and try to tame Ruto’s rampaging campaigns that threaten Raila’s fortunes.

The meet-the people-tours, according to Raila allies, would clear the way for the implementation phase of the BBI proposals, with a national referendum in the offing.

“We are not worried at all by Ruto’s campaigns. As a party, we have a programme of activities we have lined up once the coronavirus restrictions are lifted to prepare for the BBI,” ODM secretary general Edwin Sifuna told the Star.

He denied that ODM would sprint to play catch up, insisting that the party is not rattled by the Ruto’s well-attended rallies, which the DP’s allies say reflect the love for the ‘hustler nation’.

“If there is a party that has attracted huge crowds before, it is ODM. These rallies are not in any way threatening us,” he said.

In what appeared to be laying the ground for Raila’s countrywide tours, the party’s National Executive Council last weekend held a retreat in Machakos to strategise for the upcoming activities.

The party’ top decision-making organ decided that Raila should throw his hat in the 2022 presidential ring, setting the stage for a duel with Ruto.

ODM’s upcoming grassroots activation programmes are meant to assuage party supporters smarting from four presidential defeats, as well as market the BBI.

The meetings, the Star has established, will be attended by key national party officials in what is seen as a deliberate strategy to parry away Ruto’s forays.

According to the party’s NEC plan, Raila will chair key regional meetings that would be a culmination in a series of activities by branches geared at reengineering the grassroots.

National Assembly Minority leader John Mbadi dismissed Ruto’s campaigns.

“ODM is not threatened by a desperate and confused candidate in the name of Ruto. What he is doing is not unique. He has been on a handout spree since 2013,” said Mbadi, who is also ODM chairman and Suba South MP.

Instead, he said the Orange party is embarking on a serious agenda to reform the country through the BBI process.

“The BBI team will bring the agenda on how to produce resources, bake the national cake and show us how we will share it…We cannot engage in presidential campaigns on the platform of distribution of wheelbarrows,” Mbadi said.

ODM secretary of political affairs Opiyo Wandayi told the Star that no matter how frenzied Ruto makes his campaigns, Kenyans will reject him.

“There is no well-meaning Kenyan that can be hoodwinked by desperate handouts. Kenyans will choose their next President based in his or her track record and history,” the Ugunja MP said.

“We are wondering when the political Saul saw light and became Paul so that Kenyans can believe him.”

Despite ODM leaders putting a brave face in the wake of Ruto’s ‘hustler’ campaigns, the Star has established that the party is quietly scheming how to protect its Coast, Western and Nyanza turfs.

Ruto has stormed the Western region, Kisii and Coast in his efforts to woo Raila’s support bases as he plots how to succeed Uhuru. He has also been hosting youth and women’s groups at his official Karen residence after a falling-out with the President.

The DP, analysts say, is charting his own political path without relying on the support of Uhuru in the 2022 polls.