SPLIT HELPS DP

Ruto 2022 victory fears as Nasa implodes

Wetangula admits split likely to give Ruto an edge in 2022 race

In Summary

• DP William Ruto could now latch on the split in Nasa to cobble together a giant political machine for 2022.

•Nasa co-principal Moses Wetang;ula admitted that the continued bickering among the principals in the opposition coalition could give the DP fodder.

Nasa co-principals Raila Odinga, Musalia Mudavadi, Isaac Rutto, Moses Wetang'ula and Kalonzo Musyoka during a rally in Uhuru Park, Nairobi, on April 27, 2017.
TUKO PAMOJA? Nasa co-principals Raila Odinga, Musalia Mudavadi, Isaac Rutto, Moses Wetang'ula and Kalonzo Musyoka during a rally in Uhuru Park, Nairobi, on April 27, 2017.
Image: JACK OWUOR

The bitter falling out among Nasa principals might hand Deputy President William Ruto a lifeline and possibly an easy run for the State House.

The latest war of words pitting Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka and ANC boss Musalia Mudavadi against former Prime Minister Raila Odinga could offer Ruto a massive bonanza.

The DP has been the target of a barrage of attacks by the Nasa chiefs who have marked him as their common enemy in 2022.

Ruto could now latch onto on the split to cobble together a giant political machine that could possibly propel his 2022 presidential ambitions.

Ruto has been under fire from all corners, including President Uhuru Kenyatta, who has declared that its time for a non-Kalenjin or non-Kikuyu president officially knocking off Ruto from his succession game plan.

Nasa co-principal Moses Wetang'ula admitted that the continued bickering among the principals in the opposition coalition could give the DP some fodder and hand him an easy run for President.

“The noise we are seeing is politically unhygienic. It is totally unhelpful to any of the parties and the principals and above all, it may serve to deal some serious damage to our prospects for 2022,” Wetang'ula told the Star. 

Wetang'ula has maintained a studious  silence as Raila, Mudavadi and Kalonzo exchanged barbs. 

Besides ODM’s pentagon that took the country by storm in 2007, Nasa was arguably one of the most formidable opposition alliances in the history of the country.

In 2017, the coalition gave the ruling party – Jubilee – a run for its money and nearly bundled it out of power.

Going into next year’s general election, it was widely expected that the opposition coalition, with the backing of the President would trouble  Ruto’s 2022 prospects.

“The general bad-mouthing among the leadership in Nasa is not good for democracy, it is not good for democracy and it is not good for our coalition,” Wetang'ula lamented, as his called his colleagues to order.

ANC deputy party leader Ayub Savula shared in Wetangula’s sentiments, saying Nasa risks giving Ruto a field day in 2022 if they do not put their house in order early enough.

“As members of Nasa, we have called up on all the principals to end their war. It does not augur well and it will give advantage to Ruto. We need to focus on one common enemy. Our enemy or competitor is Ruto,” Savula said.

Savula reckoned Nasa needs to rearrange and come up with one presidential candidate to face Ruto.

“The fights do not augur well for the unity of Nasa. We have talked to the principals to end this war because it will affect us eventually,” he added.

In the last two years, after the March 8, 2018, handshake, Ruto has been the main punching bag, and Nasa principals frequently attack him and his hustler nation narrative for stirring a class war.

Following his nasty falling out with Uhuru, Ruto had become the common enemy under constant political attacks from the four as they upped their stakes in the President’s succession matrix.

However, Ruto and his allies are now relishing the acrimonious Nasa divorce that could shake up the country's political landscape.

Tongaren MP Eseli Simiyu on Wednesday admitted the DP was basking in the full glory of the crumbling of Nasa.

“The DP is definitely the man of the moment. He has made inroads in Western Kenya and instead of the people like Wetang'ula and Mudavadi fending him off, they are fighting among themselves,” Simiyu said.

Simiyu warned the Nasa principals that their infighting will cost them the presidency next year, insisting the collapse of Nasa will usher in new political formations.

“Ruto is breathing easy and with the ultimate laughter as Nasa implodes,” Simiyu said.

Malindi MP Aisha Jumwa said the falling out in Nasa was expected and it was only a matter of time before it imploded.

“They had turned the deputy President into a punching bag and framed him as the common enemy without any apparent reason, let them face their Waterloo moment,” Jumwa said.

But ODM national chairman John Mbadi sought to downplay the notion that a split in Nasa might hand the DP a  political lifeline.

The National Assembly minority leader said it was too early to talk about alliances as the elections are still far away.

“Coalitions will be built towards the end of the year.  It is too early now to talk about building coalitions and alliances. No one can take advantage at this time,” Mbadi, a close ally of Raila, told the Star.

Political observer Martin Andati agreed with Mbadi, saying the DP should not celebrate the falling out now as it is too early in the day.

“It is still early. There is no guarantee that if they [Nasa principals] have disagreed now, they cannot make up."

“So Ruto can’t celebrate and say the division will give him an advantage. There is still a lot of time and there is so much that is going to happen. Ultimately, it will be interest and Ruto is their common enemy,” he said.

Seen as walking a tightrope in the Uhuru succession matrix, Ruto has been forced to defend himself against a crusade of accusations mainly by the Nasa leaders over claims of undermining the President.

Former South Mugirango MP and Peoples Democratic Party leader Omingo Magara said the infighting among Nasa heavyweight is not strange in politics but depicts a revolt against 'deceit'.

“For years, especially since the handshake, Ruto had become the punching bag as the big guns squeezed him out of government. What  is happening is not out of the ordinary but sweet music for Ruto,” Magara said.

The ex-MP said the fact that Raila appears to renege on his alleged promise made to his Nasa principals to support one of them in 2022, lifted the lid on the betrayal that mars Kenyan politics.

“The war in Nasa speaks to keeping promises as the cornerstone of genuine politics that continue to elude this country,” he said.

Recently, Ruto and Kalonzo tore into each other with the former branding the former Vice President a corrupt politician who allegedly grabbed the Yatta land from the National Youth Service.

Kalonzo called on the DP to subject himself to a probe over at least 10 questionable cases including those touching on land grabbing. He turned the guns on him over the wheelbarrow politics spearheaded by Ruto.

“Ruto is a billionaire — owning seven helicopters complete with a hangar—and  has adopted the Marxist theory to ultimately precipitate a class war in the country,” Kalonzo fired at Ruto.

The former Vice President said the wheelbarrow narrative was tantamount to sabotage, saying Uhuru has been “very patient” in reigning in errant troops

During Mzee Moi's first anniversary, Mudavadi called on Uhuru to 'bench Ruto' for scoring own goals, in what looked like a direct appeal for his impeachment following his criticism of Uhuru's agenda.

Raila has also been directly attacking Ruto's hustler nation narrative, accusing him of running away from the Jubilee failures and disrespecting the President.

“We were told that one million high-tech jobs [were going to be created]. We are still waiting  to date, now we are being fed by wheelbarrow,” Raila said last month.

Political analyst Dismus Mokua said the DP is “enjoying his moment” as the Nasa war intensifies.

“At least for now, he can take a deep breath after months of political warfare as he schemes his next steps,” he said.