• Mudavadi has tried to position himself as a government critic, routinely questioning some of its policies at a time when Kenya is lacking political opposition.
• Mudavadi would rally the vote-rich Luhya community but one of them would have to shelve their bid to support the other.
As things continue to turn against Deputy President William Ruto in the ruling Jubilee Coalition, the second in command finds himself in the hardest position in his political career.
His important foot soldiers have been removed from influential House positions. Whether he’s subjected to a humiliating impeachment process or he’s pushed further away from the centre of power and daily running of government activities, he will have to make some hard decisions.
He can either resign from government, capitalise on his hustler vs dynasties thought or he can stay put and wait for the worst. Both choices have unique challenges and opportunities.
In the event that he chooses to chart a different political path, within or outside the government, he could choose to run alone for president in 2022. That is, without seeking the support of any tribal kingpin. By picking a newcomer, 'hustler' running mate from either the vote-rich Kikuyu or Luhya nations.
Chances of emerging victorious with this strategy are slim. It remains to be seen if such a newcomer could mobilise their entire ethnic block to rally behind the DP’s course. Whether it can sustain the tyranny of the dynasties is entirely a different kettle of fish.
The second option is the grimmest. Assuming nothing changes between now and 2022, to ascend to the top seat, Ruto will need to work with Musalia Mudavadi’s ANC, with the two agreeing on whom shelves his presidential ambition for the other.
Ruto would perform fairly well in vote-swing areas like Kajiado, Nyamira and Narok.
His ideology resonates widely with the people in the counties of Embu, Meru and Tharaka Nithi. Our voting pattern is always along tribal lines. Meaning, on a good day, votes from Tharaka Nithi alone can turn tables.
Mudavadi has made it clear that ANC isn’t considering joining Jubilee. He has also tried to position himself as a government critic, routinely questioning some of its policies at a time when Kenya is lacking political opposition.
This continues to cast him as a voice of reason at this time when the heart of the political class is divided between politics of preservation and/or reinvention and rejuvenating the country’s economy from the impact of the pandemic.
Thus, as things stand, with the dynastic merger on one side, a coalition with Mudavadi, than with any other tribal kingpin, is more impactful for Ruto’s presidential ambitions.
Journalism student, MMUK