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Thursday, August 17, 2017

Ruto the biggest beneficiary in Uhuru win, 2022 bid gets boost

Deputy President William Ruto addresses Mombasa residents in Tononoka Grounds during a Jubilee Party rally on August 6 /PSCU
Deputy President William Ruto addresses Mombasa residents in Tononoka Grounds during a Jubilee Party rally on August 6 /PSCU

Love him or loathe him, Deputy President William Ruto is the biggest winner from the outcome of Tuesday's grueling Presidential contest.

With the successful reelection of president Uhuru Kenyatta for a second and final term in office, Ruto's 2022 presidential bid received a major boost and remains well on course.

His desire to inherit the crucial central Kenya political base, as a spring board for his 2022 presidential bid, glowed with fresh impetus and proved his critics wrong.

At some point the opposition presidential candidate Raila Odinga, during one of his campaigns, declared Ruto the devil incarnate while he termed Uhuru a better person.

This was a radical onslaught that largely raised the stakes and depicted the presidential race an indirect battle pitting the opposition against Ruto, a former Raila ally turned foe.

Had Raila won the epic president battle against his longtime rival Uhuru, Ruto’s ambition to succeed the president could have crashed.

In what appeared to further cement Ruto’s central role within the Jubilee political fulcrum, the DP’s key pointmen- both in his strategic rift valley home turf and far afield-triumphed in the elections.

Ruto also managed to mount a successful vicious onslaught against mutiny within his Rift Valley turf that saw rebellious Bomet Governor Isaac Rutto lose his seat. The position was won by National Assembly Deputy Speaker Joyce Laboso, a key ally of the DP's.

Rutto's loss in Bomet consolidated the DP's expansive backyard although KANU chairman Gideon Moi's victory as Baringo senator poses another headache.

Moi had said that after his Baringo win, his 2022 presidential journey starts immediately.

Another good news for Ruto was the downfall of vocal Meru governor Peter Munya who lost to county senator Kiraitu Murungi. Munya the former chairman of the council of governors had become a borne in the flesh in Ruto's 2022 presidential ambition.

Uhuru's win is a massive boost for Ruto, in his bid to inherit the crucial Mt Kenya political constituency.

The Jubilee victory asserts not only the DP's influence within the ruling alliance but also puts his 2022 presidential bid on course. Already some of his regional pointmen he positioned to prop up his influence triumphed.

Analysts had opined that Ruto’s 2022 presidential ambition could have at the same time suffered a heavy setback had the key pointmen lost the elections.

However, it was a mixed bag of fortunes as some of the allies lost among them Labour leader and Budalangi MP Ababu Namwamba and Bungoma governor Ken Lusaka. The two were Ruto's central pillars in Western Kenya.

But the DP's frenetic charm offensive Western Kenya bore fruits after Jubilee scooped eight of 33 seats in Western Kenya, a perceived NASA stronghold.

Ruto's pointman John Walukhe recaptured the Sirisia parliamentary seat. Jubilee Party also won Mumias East, Navakholo, Malava, and Ikolomani seats.

Jubilee also won Mt Elgon, Sirisia, Webuye West, and Kimilili seats in a major success story for Ruto's 2022 presidential bid.

Ruto weathered a lot of political storm in the run up to Tuesday's polls.

In the lead up to the general election, a section of politicians from central Kenya accused Ruto of masterminding their downfall during the Jubilee primaries.

They also pointed a finger at the DP for sponsoring, funding and bankrolling his allies in central Kenya in preparation for his 2022 presidential bid.

But in a sad turn of events, some of Ruto’s fiercest critics from central Kenya who despite losing at the primaries ran as independents were swept by the Jubilee wave at the polls, handing Ruto the last laugh.

In June Munya accused Ruto of using Murungi cut him down to size since after he declared his ambition for the presidency.

"Kiraitu is not that powerful. He is small..if he was alone in this I would have cut him down to size a long time ago," Munya said then.

Outgoing Kiambu governor William Kabogo, a fierce critic of the DP, previously hit out at Ruto whom he accused of planting allies in Mt Kenya. He even threatened that the region’s support for the DP in 2022 was never a guarantee.

After losing the Jubilee ticket to Ferdinand Waititu, Kabogo went on to run as an independent candidate but lost to the former Kabete MP by a massive margin.

“I’m not being fought because of you (Kiambu people), but by those who want seats in 2022, but I will face them head-on and I’m not keeping quiet this time round. I’ve made a similar stand before when I said we will not give this person (Ruto) the seat just like that and I’m saying it again. We will not support him unless we see development,” Kabogo was reported saying in June while he addressed a gathering.

He later retracted the statement and said he was quoted out of context.

Another powerful central Kenya maestro, former Gatanga MP Peter Kenneth, also accused Ruto of being behind the candidature of Nairobi governor elect Mike Sonko. Kenneth lost the Jubilee ticket to the former Nairobi Senator but lost the gubernatorial race by emerging a distant third after running as an independent.

"We did not lose the Jubilee nominations because my opponent was assisted by somebody high up in the party hierarchy. Our opponent was assisted by somebody who wanted to cut me to size politically and that person is Ruto, let us speak the truth," Kenneth told residents of Mlango Kubwa during one of his campaigns on June 20.

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