Ruto isolated as BBI campaigns gather steam

DP is increasingly alone in his own government as BBI wave sweeps country

In Summary

• DP's allies want BBI rallies banned as they are 'stoking' tensions.

• Both Uhuru and Raila have been invited to the United States for a talk on the handshake. 

Deputy President William Ruto is becoming increasingly isolated as allies of President Uhuru Kenyatta and Opposition chief Raila Odinga fire up the Building Bridges crusade.

Ruto is watching from the periphery as powerful forces around Uhuru and Raila launch aggressive BBI rallies that analysts suggest could undermine and at worst annihilate his 2022 presidential ambitions.

Pro-Uhuru and Raila allies have staged two major rallies in Kakamega and Kisii that have taken the country by storm


For the next rally, they head to Mombasa as politicians position themselves for the 2022 line-up.

However, as the BBI juggernaut thunders on, Ruto's allies are crying foul, saying the government should ban the rallies, which they claim are stoking tensions.

On Sunday, Ruto urged politicians campaigning for the BBI initiative to stop making him the issue in their rallies.

"I saw yesterday insults formed half of the meeting, there was less mention of BBI than mention of Ruto and his home in Sugoi," Ruto said.

He said the politicians should concentrate on asking Kenyans on what they would prefer to be in the document than trivializing the forums.

“There is no need to hold people with a different opinion in contempt to the extent of denying them an opportunity to express themselves," Ruto said.

Uhuru and Raila's lieutenants have made it clear that the BBI push will produce the next government, framing Ruto as the common enemy.


As tension, divisions and mistrust in Jubilee deepen, Raila and Uhuru seem to be having their best moments. 

The two have been invited to the United States next month for a two-day talk about the handshake that brought them together on March 9, 2018.

Raila revealed the USA trip at Bukhungu Stadium on Saturday during the BBI rally, saying the “handshake is a unique thing that other people want to hear more about.”

Nominated MP Maina Kamanda, a fierce critic of the DP, told the Star that BBI would radically shift the country's landscape ahead of the 2022 polls.

“You look at the way Kenyans have embraced BBI. When we started rallying behind BBI people thought we were joking. But now look at the sea of humanity that turned up in Kiisi and in Kakamega. My friend, BBI is the future of this country,” said the lawmaker.

The DP, who initially objected to the BBI report before making a U-turn, is on record claiming the campaigns are “unnecessary and a waste of public resources.”

The DP's surprise support for the document was said to have been informed by the BBI task force's suggestion of a weak PM. If Ruto becomes president, a PM without much clout would be acceptable, but not a powerful one to compete with him.

On Sunday, Kakamega Senator Cleopas Malala said the DP had failed to read the writing on the wall and was now busy “walking down his own road”.

"Those opposed to the BBI are enemies of Kenyans," he said. " Kenya is united behind BBI," he said.

Ruto and his allies had warned against opening the current BBI report for amendments.

However, when President Kenyatta officially extended the term of the 14-member task force last week, he said the team will take fresh public views on the report.

Major political players appear to be united against Ruto amid signals the BBI campaigns may just replicate the 2005 referendum campaigns that nearly sent retired President Mwai Kibaki home in 2007.

Ruto's forays into Western Kenya face a litmus test after attempts by his key allies rally in Bukhungu were thwarted by the state.

Ruto's key allies from Western Kenya snubbed the meeting. They included National Assembly Majority Whip Benjamin Washiali, ex-Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale, former Sports Cabinet Secretary Rashid Mohamed and Senate Speaker Kenneth Lusaka.

In Kisii, the DP's regional support has been dealt a major blow with the entry of Interior CS Fred Matiang'i, who is rallying the region behind the BBI.

Except for Kisii Deputy Governor Joash Maangi, most of the MPs from the region who were previously seen as being loyal to Ruto have flown the DP's coop.

With Kisii behind the BBI, Nyanza region appears to be under Raila's tight grip.

At the Coast region, all its political pillars including Governors Hassan Joho (Mombasa), Amason Kingi (Kilifi) and Grants Samboja (Taita Taveta) are vigorously supporting the initiative.

Most MPs from the region are supporting the BBI report, leaving the DP largely isolated.

In Mt Kenya, all the region's governors are supporting the BBI.

However some MPs, including Kimani Ichung'wah (Kikuyu), Alice Wahome (Kandara), Ndindi Nyoro (Kiharu) back Ruto.

Mwangi Kiunjuri was fired by Uhuru as Agriculture Cabinet Secretary last week as the President sought to firm up his grip on his Mt Kenya backyard.

On Sunday, some of Ruto's allies claimed that the BBI process had been hijacked by Raila and his ODM party as a political vehicle for the 2022 General Election.

“Instead of people addressing the contents of BBI and preaching peace, it has turned out to be a political fight against one individual,” Aldai MP Cornelius Serem said.

Nandi Senator Samson Cherargey claimed BBI was being used as a weapon to bar DP Ruto from ascending to power.

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