CORNERED?

Why “anti-Ruto“ movement is gaining momentum

They plan to paint DP as beneficiary of corruption; sabotaging Uhuru's legacy

In Summary

• Kuttuny told the Star the anti-Ruto movement is fast snowballing into “a political cyclone” that will sweep careers

• Tension palpable in government that Uhuru may this week ask CSs and PSs implicated in corruption to step aside.

Deputy President William Ruto during the One Acre Fund milestone celebration of supporting smallholder farmers, Lurambi, Kakamega County on March 30, 2019.
Deputy President William Ruto during the One Acre Fund milestone celebration of supporting smallholder farmers, Lurambi, Kakamega County on March 30, 2019.
Image: DPPS

Lieutenants of President Uhuru Kenyatta and allies of at least four opposition chiefs have teamed up to scuttle DP William Ruto’s 2022 presidential ambitions.

In what could pose a political headache for the DP, allies of Uhuru, ODM leader Raila Odinga, those of Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka, Gideon Moi's Kanu and Musalia Mudavadi's ANC appear to have joined forces to block Ruto's State House bid.

Former Presidential candidate Peter Kenneth who had earlier taken a back seat in Uhuru's succession battle has jumped into the fray, joining the growing 'Stop Ruto' movement.

 

The politicians have developed a two-pronged strategy in their anti-Ruto campaign in what could send the DP's political think tanks back to the drawing board.

The first strategy is to paint Ruto as openly sabotaging Uhuru's leadership by defying his cohesion agenda manifested through the political truce with Raila.

The second ingredient of the scheme is to depict the DP as a beneficiary of grand corruption, a claim Ruto has numerously denied.

Broadly, the politicians are pursuing an elaborate scheme to position Ruto as the common enemy who is working for personal interests at the expense of national good.

In fact, former Jubilee vice-chairman David Murathe has suggested that Ruto should be arrested and charged if investigations found him culpable.

“Here [Kenya] we have taken Deputy Chief Justice to court even Deputy President we will be taken to court if he is implicated, ”Murathe stated, adding that two ex-South Korean Presidents are rotting in jail.

Jubilee and ODM leaders at Gatura Catholic Church in Gatanga constituency on Sunday, March 31, 2019.
Jubilee and ODM leaders at Gatura Catholic Church in Gatanga constituency on Sunday, March 31, 2019.
Image: ALICE WAITHERA

The revelations of the anti-Ruto plot emerged amid speculations that Uhuru may make an unprecedented anti-graft move as he delivers the State of the Nation address in Parliament on Thursday.

 

Tension is palpable in government that Uhuru may ask Cabinet Secretaries and PSs implicated in graft to step aside.

Yesterday, nominated MP Maina Kamanda said the movement would take the country by storm in what he noted would rekindle the 2002 “political tsunami” that swept Kanu out of power.

“Watch this space. This is going to change the country's political terrain for good,” said the ex-Starehe MP.

Kamanda said the team would be visiting Kisumu, Kakamega and more counties in the coming weeks to denounce the anti-graft saboteurs and whip Kenyans to support the handshake.

Asked whether the movement was pushing for the DP’s ouster or resignation, Kamanda was assertive that Ruto’s opposition to the war against corruption “was not a light matter.”

Let him (Ruto) allow investigating agencies to do their work. If he is mentioned, and I believe we have not reached there but he has already panicked, then he will be asked to step aside.
Nominated MP Maina Kamanda

The first phase of the Stop Ruto Movement was witnessed in Murang'a on Sunday when allies of the four opposition leaders and the President joined in the anti-DP crusade.

This is the same group advocating for an expansion of the Executive, a move Ruto has strongly opposed.

Cherangany MP Joshua Kuttuny, a fierce critic of the DP, told the Star that the anti-Ruto movement was fast snowballing into “a political cyclone” that would sweep careers.

According to Kuttuny, cornered politicians have already started panicking.

“This is a political earthquake barreling all corners of the country. I am an experienced politician but I have never seen something like this which gains momentum on its own,” Kuttuny said yesterday.

On Sunday, the vocal MP termed Uhuru's handshake the greatest gift to Kenyans and claimed Ruto and his brigade were sabotaging Uhuru's agenda by opposing it

"Because it is you people of Mt Kenya who are in every part of this country. Your businesses were not happening in Kakamega. Your businesses had collapsed in Mombasa. Your businesses had collapsed in Nairobi. What Uhuru has done by bringing Raila closer and shaking his hand is so that you can do business everywhere in this country," Kuttuny told the Kikuyu nation.

Yesterday, he said over 40 MPs with footprints across the political divide had subscribed to the anti-Ruto movement.

“We are not desperately looking for members. Actually, members are joining by the day without being coerced. We are opposed to the corrupt and those exhibiting dictatorial tendencies,” he said in a veiled reference to Ruto.

Asked about the real objective of the group, the MP said, “We shall cross the bridge when we get there.”

“We know there are some characters who are very risky within this group. We are however encouraged because leaders are now freely listening to and talking about issues affecting Kenyans.”

National Assembly Deputy Minority leader Robert Mbui said the group will continue with more meetings across the country to spread the message of the handshake and fight against corruption.

ANALYST'S VIEW

Political analyst Martin Andati said what the politicians had clearly formed is a Stop Ruto campaign backed by strong forces ready to do whatever it takes to vanquish the DP’s presidential dream.

“Ruto is now what Raila used to be, common enemy. They want to finish him before 2022 if he is able to reach there,” he said.

The analyst warned that Ruto’s presidential dream is becoming difficult every day.

“The anti-Ruto forces are really gaining momentum and it is only a matter of time before he is dealt a huge political blow,” he added.

“We are going to every corner of this country. We already have a programme of activities with a clear message to Kenyans,” said the Kathiani MP.

On Sunday, he attended the launch at Gatura in Gatanga constituency, Murang'a.

The MP said the team will mount a vicious fight against politicians sabotaging the political truce between President Uhuru and Raila.

“ I don’t understand why the Deputy President has concluded that the war against corruption is a fight against him and dispatched allies to attack us,” he told the Star.

The MP denied reports that the group was an anti-Ruto movement with a clear command structure and social media mobilisation, even as questions linger over the team’s financing.

Holding public gatherings across the country would be an expensive affair, but Mbui said the team would partner with like-minded clergy and civil society to push their agenda.

“What we do as like-minded politicians we just call one another and talk to each other at Parliament Buildings,” he said, adding the majority of MPs supporting Uhuru and Ruto were part of the team.

Homa Bay Woman Representative Gladys Wanga, who also attended the Sunday event, played down claims that the team was a reincarnation of the anti-Ruto forces determined to suffocate Ruto’s 2022 presidential bid.

“Ours is not an anti-Ruto movement. We are not after fighting anybody. We are like-minded people supporting the handshake and the Building the Bridges Initiative,” Wanga told the Star.

Pressed to explain the main objective of the group, Wanga said curtly, “We have not agreed on the end-game for now."

The vocal Raila ally, however, insisted that they would deal with those sabotaging the handshake and the war against corruption in what appeared to be a clear reference to the DP.

Asked how the group manages to whip members for their functions, Wanga said they send out messages to those they consider like-minded to join them for the weekend events.

“You are likely to see more of these church and public meetings going forward,” she said.