September 22nd 2017

Top Stories / 2017 Elections

From kingmaker to sulking suitor: Ruto's fortunes dwindle in Uhuru, Gideon power arrangement

Surprisingly, he was driven to the church by his son Nick without any State security apparatus opening new grounds of speculation of what are his next plans.

By Free Press Reporternewsdesk@kenyafreepress.comMonday, 20 Feb 2017 12:59 EAT

Mr Ruto during his first public appearance at Christ Is The Answer Ministries (CITAM) church in, Karen, Nairobi yesterday.

Deputy President William Ruto’s position in the Jubilee Party is under serious threat after President Uhuru Kenyatta secured an election deal, still yet to be ratified, with retired President Moi to have KANU support the president's re-election during the August 8 general elections. As the Sunday Nation reported, Moi's son, Baringo Senator Gideon Moi, has inked a deal giving him substantial say in Jubilee government should it win the coming polls.

The coming into Jubilee of the retired president's son is expected to put pressure on Mr Ruto's Rift Valley political base by infusing competition in a region which the DP believes to be his backyard. With the developments, Mr Ruto has been thrown back to the political drawing board, with his allies weighing three options for his political survival and post-2017 power plan.

The first option is for the DP to take the battle to Mr Moi in Jubilee with the hope that he will box out the senator from the Rift Valley. The deputy president is a powerful position and, in the absence of a realistic shot at the presidency, one can't balk out of the office based on teething problems of power politics. The DP has a long history of previously undermined Kenyan VPs to learn from, including Moi and Mwai Kibaki who rose from the office to become presidents.

The DP’s second option is to ditch Jubilee and contest the presidency on his party, a daunting task especially given that he would mount every element of the campaign from scratch. For starters, he dissolved his party, the United Republican Party (URP), in September to form the Jubilee Party in which he thought he would be principal player beside President Kenyatta. His former party before URP, the United Democratic Movement (UDM), has also been taken over by Nairobi lawyer Philip Murgor who is seeking the presidency.

Mr Ruto's third option is to join the main opposition coalition, National Super Alliance (NASA), where is at the moment the most hated political figure, way beyond President Kenyatta who should be the group's enemy number one. There can be better position for Ruto in the opposition than the office he already holds, but his chances of being accepted and getting any signficant position in NASA are also remote.

Whichever way the DP decides, he owes a political debt to President Kenyatta who has given him his platform as a national leader and the resources he uses to promote his politics. So enamored by the president's assets is he that, according to the Sunday Nation's sources, he panicked after getting the clues of the details of a closed-door meeting attended by Gideon Moi and West Pokot Senator John Lonyangapuo which agreed to sign a deal to have Kanu’s support for President Kenyatta’s second term in office.

The paper reported that Mr Ruto’s camp was kept in the dark about the meeting, which resulted in him causing a fierce storm within the ruling coalition with the DP’s allies saying they will not accept any deal with Kanu that undermines their political standing in Jubilee. The DP went into hibernation for the last four days since President Kenyatta paid the senior Moi a courtesy call at his Karbanet Gardens home in Nairobi and only appeared in public yesterday when he attended a church service in Karen.

Surprisingly, he was driven to the church by his son Nick without any State security apparatus opening new grounds of speculation of what are his next plans. Social media was awash with speculative stories of Mr Ruto’s whereabouts before he was seen in public yesterday. Some bloggers even claimed that he had been flown out of country to Turkey for medication after falling sick.

But sources have confirmed that he was meeting his closest allies to reflect the impact of the Kenyatta/Moi meeting. The Sunday Nation reported that the pact agreed could further see Jubilee forego the Baringo senatorial contest in favour of the incumbent, Mr Gideon Moi, who plans to run for president in 2022, a deal that is likely to rock the Ruto boat.

Despite Elgeyo-Marakwet senator and the DP’s confidante Senator Kipchumba Murkomen being quoted by the same paper saying they cannot accede to such an arrangement, KANU tomorrow convenes a special National Executive Committee to officially endorse the deal and throw its weight behind President Kenyatta’s re-election.

Party Secretary-General Nick Salat who has confirmed the meeting said according to the Nation, “The NEC will take a position on who between Jubilee and NASA we will support for the presidency,” he said, falling short of admitting he had lost in his efforts to have KANU join the opposition alliance.

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