SUCCESSION POLITICS

DP Ruto’s last hurdle in his 2022 presidential race

The DP must overcome the herculean task of consolidating the backing of two regions.

In Summary

• Out of all Kenya’s number two officeholders, there is none that appears to have had the greatest ambition to claim the presidency than William Ruto.

• Perhaps the easiest route to gain favour from the two regions for Ruto is by selecting a running mate from either Western or Mt Kenya.

Deputy President William Ruto interacts with residents during a stopover in Githurai on June 2, 2019.
Deputy President William Ruto interacts with residents during a stopover in Githurai on June 2, 2019.
Image: DPPS

The ultimate goal for most deputy and vice presidents in any country is to take that one further step to the top and ascend to the presidency.

Ex-presidents Daniel Moi and Mwai Kibaki, for instance,  held the vice presidency position before occupying State House.

However, out of all Kenya’s number two officeholders, there is none that appears to have had the greatest ambition to claim the presidency than William Ruto.

With slightly over three years left to the 2022 General Election, and with ODM leader Raila Odinga yet to declare his candidacy, Ruto is seen as the front runner in the State House race.

However, to achieve his dream, the DP must overcome the herculean task of consolidating the votes and backing of two regions that would all but catapult him to the presidency.

First, he must inherit at least a sizeable chunk of the populous Mt Kenya region vote.

The region, almost to the last man, voted for his boss, President Uhuru Kenyatta, in the last two elections heralding a 10-year Jubilee Party rule.

Second, the DP must try to do what no other leader in Kenya has ever done; and that is to unite the populous Luhya community.

DPPS
DPPS

The last time the Western region appeared to come close to fully unite was in the run-up to the 2002 elections, where they rallied behind the late vice president Kijana Wamalwa under the Narc coalition.

The DP already is aware of the task ahead and his strategy is to at least get a sizeable vote in Western. He has made numerous monthly visits to the region for church harambees and inspection of government projects, and among his key lieutenants are from the region. 

 

However, in politics, a politician can never appease everyone and this is where the DP is left in a catch-22 situation.

Perhaps the easiest route to gain favour from the two regions for Ruto is by selecting a running mate from either Western or Mt Kenya.

Should perhaps the DP select a running mate from Mt Kenya, then he will be bound to automatically ensure the Western region is heavily represented in senior positions in his Cabinet should he become President.

The same scenario is likely to be replicated the other way round should he choose a running mate from Western Kenya.

This strategy is likely to appease voters from both regions and avert any possible fall out early into his possible first-year term in office.

Also of key interest would be the coveted positions of the speakers of the National Assembly and the Senate as well as House leadership positions.

Already the likes of Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru, National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi, Senate Speaker Kenneth Lusaka, his deputy Kindiki Kithure and Devolution CS Eugene Wamalwa have been touted as possible running mates to Ruto.

Already Waiguru has publicly declared she has received offers to be a presidential running mate from two parties ahead of the 2022 polls.

However, she failed to disclose which these parties were but assured her supporters she will make her announcement soon at the appropriate time.

In December, one of Ruto’s most vocal ally in Western Sirisia MP John Waluke said the Luhya community had identified a running mate for the DP.

Let Ford Kenya party leader Moses Wetang'ula and ANC party leader Musalia Mudavadi come on board so that we move together as the Luhya nation
Sirisia MP John Waluke

He said the community is working on a plan to unify under Jubilee before 2022.

Last month, Mt Kenya lawmakers asked Ruto to pick Muturi as his 2022 running mate.

Fronted by Mbeere North MP Muriuki Njagagua, the MPs said the Mt Kenya region will fully support Ruto if he picks Muturi as his running mate. 

Muturi, according to them, has not been implicated in any corruption and has a wealth of experience gained in public service for many years. 

However, in politics, there are no permanent enemies and perhaps the DP might also pull a rabbit out of a hat and pick a running mate from outside his Jubilee party through the formation of an unlikely alliance with another political outfit.

Although the DP is keen on forming his next administration should he win under Jubilee, the likelihood of teaming up with other parties may be on the table especially under the 50 per cent plus one Constitutional rule in electing a president.


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