Western leaders are divided on the impact of Deputy President William Ruto’s denunciation of his early 2022 campaigns.
While some think the decision by the DP to publicly disown the Tangatanga brigade was a blessing in disguise for Luhya leaders to close ranks and chart the elusive unity ahead of 2022 polls, others say nothing will change and disunity in the region may even be more pronounced.
“Nothing much will change. In fact, there may be exacerbation and deepening of disunity in the region unless the key political actors wake up and pull up their socks to mobilise the Luhya nation to rally behind one of their own as a candidate in 2022,” political scientist Amukowa Anangwe said.
Anangwe, a Cabinet minister in former President Moi’s government, said Western politics will shift gear to another level with a concerted struggle for the hearts and minds of the electorate at the grassroots, in CBOs and nondescript gatherings.
“How this will exactly pan out depends on what Ruto’s political opponents, including Musalia Mudavadi and Raila Odinga and their allies, at the regional level will be able to do consistently to contain the DP in Western,” he said.
Anangwe said the DP’s campaigns will mutate into an amorphous underground campaign movement to keep his 2022 bid alive. The approach will certainly change from overt political campaigns to some kind of “guerrilla political warfare characterised by hit-and-run tactics”, he said.
Navakholo MP Emmanuel Wangwe said the move by the DP will create room for leaders who have been running parallel to each other to close ranks and form alliances.
He said leaders will now focus on the Big Four agenda of President Uhuru Kenyatta.
Cotu boss Francis Atwoli said the DP was running a campaign that unsettled his boss, forcing him to eat humble pie.
“For Ruto to survive politically, he must not be seen to be campaigning for presidency when there is a sitting president. Even if it were you, you cannot accept. He must stop these childish political behaviour and play mature politics,” he said.
Atwoli said Ruto should be contented with the position he has and support all programmes by the president, being his principal assistant.
Political analyst Isaac Wanjekeche said the move will allow the community to reorganise itself and put its house in order.
“The leaders who have been campaigning for the DP have been left in a limbo after the captain abruptly stopped the vessel that had captured momentum,” he said.
The team will now be compelled to participate in dialogue of how the community can plot to capture the seat, he said.
Last week, the Deputy President issued a warning to unnamed individuals whom he accused of mobilising his 2022 presidential campaigns behind his back.
The DP also told politicians to leave his name out of “their shenanigans” as he is working to ensure Jubilee’s Big Four agenda succeeds.
Through his secretary of communications David Mugonyi on Thursday, the DP asked such individuals to use their energy more productively.
“At no time has the Deputy President approved, canvassed or engaged in any other form of preparation for a presidential or another campaign after the last presidential election,” Mugonyi said.
He added that he(Ruto) does not, and has never ‘approved, consented to or supported haphazard, sketchy, messy, premature political canvassing.’