Inside Ruto’s silent 2022 campaign
- Deputy President William Ruto has been quietly meeting delegations at his Karen office, where sources say, Members of Parliament have been asked to spread the word on his 2022 presidential bid.
- In most of these meetings, the deputy president has been asking leaders to focus on development and steer clear of President Kenyatta’s succession.
- So, what is the deputy president up to?
It is more than four years to the next General Election but that has not stopped Deputy President William Ruto from taking charge of his bid to succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta.
Ruto has been quietly meeting delegations at his Karen office, where sources say, Members of Parliament have been asked to spread the word on his 2022 presidential bid.
In most of these meetings, the deputy president has been asking leaders to focus on development and steer clear of President Kenyatta’s succession, but they have gone ahead to drum up support for his election in 2022 anyway.
So, what is the deputy president up to?
From the beginning of February, the deputy president’s official office in Karen, Nairobi, has been a beehive of activity with meetings upon meetings by MPs from various counties, ministerial, religious and business groups as well.
Pundits opine that Mr. Ruto would well argue he is within his purview in exercise of the office he serves.
“Kenya is a political country, the job of a deputy president and that of a president is over 80% a political job and 20% an Executive job,” says political analyst Danstan Omari.
There have so far, been ten delegations trooping to the DP’s Karen office. MPs from Kakamega, Nakuru leaders, Kisii County MPs, Women legislators, Nairobi Jubilee MPs, Meru County MPs, religious leaders, Kiambu County MPs, lawmakers from Nyeri, Bungoma and Trans Nzoia as well as ministerial meetings, all happening in Karen as opposed to his usual Harambee Annex Office in the Nairobi CBD.
“I have heard people claiming the delegations are political but I think it’s important for the Executive to understand what are the immediate needs for different counties and constituencies,” says Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja.
“When he meets these delegations, he is trying to explain to the people the agenda that has been set by the president,” Senate Speaker Ken Lusaka observes.
Those keen on the meetings would notice that soon after, these MPs have been preaching the 2022 gospel. And with the DP keen to secure areas such as Western and the Coast, such pronouncements have come as no surprise to many.
“We cannot stop an idea whose time has come. 2022, God willing, it will be William Ruto,” Malindi MP Aisha Jumwa said recently during a church service attended by DP Ruto.
Nonetheless, there is the dicey balance of the relationship between the president and his deputy witnessed in the first term.
Pundits argue that continued perpetuated debate on 2022 could do more harm than good to the president’s concentration to his legacy in his final term.
This being seen as part of what informed Kenyatta’s handshake with Raila Odinga, with the two leaders seeking to guide the country away from politics after last year’s divisive election.
“William Ruto has not raised any objection to the handshake. He actually supported Kenyatta and Odinga. What kind of person is that? That is a political animal… An animal that knows how to navigate the political turbulence. Is William Ruto the one who negotiated and brought Raila Odinga on board? Nobody knows apart from Uhuru, Ruto and Raila,” says Omari.
“The reality now dawns on the president that he has a legacy to think about. He has a future of this country beyond campaigning and elections. It is natural that for now he gives less attention to politics. This could disappoint his deputy,” says Manyora.
The DP as well has to contend with the unsettled political waters in his own backyard, with the kinsmanship contest between him and Baringo Senator Gideon Moi still on.
It’s four and a half years to the next General Election, a long time in politics, and as other contenders prepare their bids, the DP will definitely be looking to build alliances to strengthen his bid.
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