Top Stories / 2017 Elections
Monday, 19 Dec 2016 18:41 EAT
There are growing fears that that deputy president William Ruto is becoming a liability and a threat to President Uhuru Kenyatta’s re-election chances in 2017. And the question now is whether President Kenyatta can get a sizable vote in Rift Valley in the absence of Ruto as his running mate.
The Sunday Standard of December 18 carried a story reporting the Kikuyu Council of Elders warning President Kenyatta to keep off his deputy in his campaign, a piece of advice that appeared to hint at the profound strategising going on behind the scenes, with the president's allies considering Ruto's replacement in the Jubilee Party line-up in 2017 polls.
If the happenings in Rift Valley is anything to go by, then the DP Ruto’s popularity has been shattered, opening the doors for Jubilee insiders to tell the President not to accompany him in his campaign rallies. According to intelligence information already synthesised for the president, Baringo Senator and Kanu Chairman Gideon Moi is increasingly infiltrating the Rift Valley as he combines forces with Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto, who is also the leader of Chama Cha Mashinani.
Jubilee rebel MPs in the Rift led by Nandi Hills Member of Parliament (MP) Alfred Ketter, Oscar Sudi (Kapseret MP) and Johana Ng’eno of Emurua Dikkir have continued to "puncture" DP Ruto’s tyres on the ground and therefore the statement by Kikuyu Council of Elders did not come as a surprise. That is why talk of a plan to have DP Ruto replaced by Baringo Senator Gideon Moi is gaining momentum.
The Elders from Nakuru County while releasing the statement telling President Kenyatta to disassociate himself with his deputy, further disclosed that they were planning to visit Former President Daniel Moi. Many would ask why now? "These are not coincidences. They are carefully mooted to sidestep someone thought to be carrying minimal political clout compared to 2013 now that the Rift Valley is experiencing political rifts. Bomet Governor Isaac Rutto has ran away with the South Rift as Gideon holds North Rift by the jugular. Someone is left gasping for breath with an attitude the size of Bombay”, veteran journalist from Rift Valley Dorothy Jebet.
The Elders in their statement appear fed-up with Mr Ruto and want him to campaign separately, specifically in Rift Valley where they feel Jubilee is losing immense support ahead of the polls. According to the Elders, Mr Ruto is overly aggressive and has polarised most regions especially those with swing votes that may benefit Jubilee in 2017.
There is a feeling that the deputy president is creating more enemies with his 'rude remarks' during campaigns, something that has made the elders believe Jubilee will lose to the anticipated opposition alliance, the National Super Alliance (NASA) bringing together Raila Odinga, Kalonzo Musyoka, Musalia Mudavadi and Moses Wetangula.
Although Senator Moi has been touted as a firm member of the opposition alliance, he's been reaching out to both the opposition coalition and the government, as the Kenya Free Press reported in October. Indeed, Mr Moi has since softened his hard stance on Jubilee after it was reported that President Kenyatta telephoned him and discussed at length matters politics.
There is also growing disaffection among a section of leaders from Uhuru's camp who believe that Ruto's camp benefited more from the picking of officials to campaign for the newly formed Jubilee Party, something that has prompted KCE to ask Uhuru to revisit his pact with Ruto. "The council has received reports from all county branches and now resolves that the political pact with Deputy President William Ruto needs to be revisited and reviewed," council chairman Wachira Kiago spoke in Nakuru after a KCE meeting, as quoted by Standard.
There is an agreement between Uhuru and Ruto that they support each other for the top seat until 2032, an agreement that has now come under challenge from the president's allies.