Barely 5 months since the last Presidential elections, you would be forgiven to think that we are actually heading into one. Politicians and their supporters have swiftly shifted focus to the next general elections – over four years away – where it is expected that Deputy President William Ruto will run for the top seat on a Jubilee ticket. While even he himself did not think it would be a stroll to state house, the events and re-positioning taking place since the March 9th handshake will surely cause him (and his supporters) sleepless nights.
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As soon as Raila Odinga and Uhuru Kenyatta emerged from Harambee house and shook hands in front of multitude of reporters, they set tongues started wagging on the whereabouts of the DP and further his prospects looking towards the next elections.
While the DP himself has maintained a calm persona in events he’s appeared publicly, his lieutenants key among them Majority Leaders Adan Duale and Kipchumba Murkomen have led a chorus of protests against the proposed referendum which in their view is meant to clip the President’s powers and by extension 2022’s President Elect..
Worth pointing out that the main protagonist for the Constitutional Amendment is none other than Raila Odinga, Ruto’s chief nemesis, since their fall out after the formation of the Coalition government. Taking into account Raila’s previous ‘mergers’ with other parties like in the push for 2010 referendum, the URP wing of Jubilee has cause to worry.
On the other hand, Ruto has found himself with more cause for sleepless nights with a resurgent Gideon Moi breathing down his neck. Temperatures reaching boiling point when Ruto flew to Kabarak to ‘say hi’ to the Former President only to be kept waiting for hours and return back empty-handed. As far as walks of shame go, it would be hard to top that.
The events of that day did not only lead to trolling of the DP on social media but also brought to the surface the paranoia and panic within the DP’s camp. Surely his handlers should have done a better job than send him all the way without booking for an appointment, which to be honest is only confirmed by Gideon.
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Since then though, the DP’s team has tried to spin the narrative and claim disrespect and pettiness on the part of the younger Moi but the damage is well and truly done. Add to the fact that Gideon has formally entered the race to State House and you have a nice old Irish stew simmering.
Now to put all this into perspective, going back to 2013 when the URP/TNA coaition vowed to rule for 20 years, many spoke of the shaky nature of that marriage and most pondered loudly whether Uhuru would reciprocate when the time comes.
Rift Valley politicians are calling on the president to publicly throw his support behind Ruto this early into his second term. Another thing we need to ask ourselves is why is Raila so hellbent on a referendum ever since the handshake? Why is it only the DP’s side of government in open rebellion against this call? Gideon Moi is going to be a huge factor come 2022. Should he make the ballot, any vote that goes to him is coming out of Ruto’s basket. We don’t know yet where Mount Kenya will put its eggs but we do know for certain Raila will be a force as he has always been.
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As far as history goes, the only time a Deputy President inherited the top seat was in 1978 when the then president died while in office. Since then it has been a case of so close yet out of reach for all the occupiers of that seat. Something William Ruto is acutely aware of and staring into at the moment. For the rest of us, it promises to be an entertaining four years.