2022 GAME PLAN

Ruto inroads in Central diminishing, Rift Valley questionable

His is not a bad strategy, but it is one fraught with many flaws.

In Summary
  • The primary flaw is Ruto’s failure to recognise the rug may soon be pulled from under him, if it hasn’t happened already.
  • If the rallies in Central are as successful and behemothic as expected, then Raila 2022 is done as far as Central is concerned, with the rest being a formality.
DP William Ruto during Sunday service at All Saints Catholic Church Komothai Parish, Githunguri, Kiambu County.
DP William Ruto during Sunday service at All Saints Catholic Church Komothai Parish, Githunguri, Kiambu County.
Image: DPPS

It is clear Deputy President William Ruto’s strategy is to keep dislike or altogether hatred of Raila in Central in high volume, while keeping his (Raila’s) support in Rift Valley in single digits.

It is not a bad strategy, but it is one fraught with many flaws.

The primary flaw is Ruto’s failure to recognise the rug may soon be pulled from under him, if it hasn’t happened already.

 

This is no small matter even though Ruto believes and is acting as though it does not matter what Uhuru does; that he has it figured how he will ascend to the presidency with or without Uhuru’s support.

If Ruto pulls the latter off, he would become the first person to have accomplished this in our country’s history.

The likelihood is, however, Ruto not pulling this off, at all.

That’s not to say he is not trying; he is and has been for a long time.

The inroads Ruto made in Central after 2013, culminating in the rigging in of many of his handpicked loyalists, is no small feat and may in part help explain his swagger.

Couple that with the ongoing stealth badmouthing of Raila in the region—a feat made simpler by the sheer fact the man [Raila] has never been popular in the region beyond pockets here and there—Ruto certainly has some confidence and belief he can still manage to keep Raila support at single or low digits, with or without Uhuru’s help.

There is anecdotal evidence Ruto has kept dislike or hatred of Raila in Central at high degrees for now, even as Uhuru, Raila and their supporters in the region go back to the drawing board to figure out the best way to counter and politically finish Ruto there.

There is anecdotal evidence Ruto has kept dislike or hatred of Raila in Central at high degrees for now, even as Uhuru, Raila and their supporters in the region go back to the drawing board to figure out the best way to counter and politically finish Ruto there.

 

It is anticipated one such way to be the aftermath of the President receiving the BBI report, which is due soon.

More specifically, it is expected that Uhuru and Raila will hit the road promoting the BBI report and its referendum recommendations, starting from Central where how they are received will give us a peek into what the future portends.

If the rallies in Central are as successful and behemothic as expected, then Raila 2022 is done as far as Central is concerned, with the rest being a formality.

If not, then folks will go back to the war room and plot the mother of all political wars ahead.

The idea here is not to rally 100 per cent, or 90 or even 80 per cent of Central behind Raila with Uhuru’s help; rather, even dividing evenly with Ruto support in the region would suffice because Raila can make the rest up elsewhere.

Starting from Rift Valley where Ruto is also no doubt doing everything to lock Raila out and the #1 cunning ploy is to position himself (Ruto, that is), as the only one who can protect Kikuyus and their interests in Rift Valley.

This is not only a ploy it is a fallacy.

Kikuyus' interests in the region are first and foremost protected by our Constitution and, secondly, no community would not have as an ally and defender of their interests one Raila Amolo Odinga who has proven time and again, that’s in his DNA.

What Uhuru and Raila must do, is to make sure they drive this point home by delinking the made up and false link between Kikuyus in Central and Kikuyus in Rift Valley.

There should be no such link as the Constitution guarantees every Kenyan to call home where they choose to call home as provided under the law.

On the other hand, given the handshake and ensuing BBI referendum are designed to unite, not divide the country, and in recognition of the past that brought us here, Uhuru reaching the conclusion this is the way to go means Raila will make it to the top post by Uhuru holding port in Central, even if more than half of Rift Valley sticks with Ruto and refuses to budge no matter what.

Legal analyst and political commentator