Deputy President William Ruto has been told to court regional kingpins to help him cobble a broad-based political alliance in case Mt Kenya voters and President Uhuru Kenyatta abandon his presidential quest.
Former Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto told the DP to negotiate with political heavyweights such as Musalia Mudavadi and Moses Wetang’ula in Western region, rather than moving around with political greenhorns who cannot influence their respective regions.
He told Ruto to forget the presidency if he banks on Mt Kenya votes as the region is likely to abandon him at the last minute.
Ruto said the region was known for political betrayal and would play all sorts of “political games” before ditching him in the run up to 2022 General Election.
He said for Dr Ruto to win, he must form serious political alliances with influential leaders from other communities.
The Chama Cha Mashinani Party leader described some of Ruto’s current allies from Central as political light weights who will disappear when the contest begins to shape up.
Ruto further said that the DP may find himself without a party in the run-up to the elections as party “owners” like
David Murathe (Jubilee Party vice chairperson) may decide to kick him out.
The former Council of Governors (CoG) made the remarks in an exclusive interview with KTN News’ Point Blank last night, where he also talked about how he was allegedly rigged out in the Bomet governorship race and why MCAs’ powers should be whittled to end their penchant for political extortion and blackmail of governors.
“In Central where he spends most of his time …. you can’t take seriously these MPs. These are first-timers who have just arrived on the scene. You know that 70 per cent of those MPs will just dissipate when the bells are sounded. How many of the MPs can stand up to (President) Uhuru in Murang’a? If he tells them to shut up they will all shut up in one day,” he said.
“We also know something about Central region. We are not new in this country and we have seen elections. Central region will play all sorts of games in between and in the last three weeks they will decide where to vote and they will not tell anyone, you will only see the results,” he charged in references to why Ruto should be cautious with banking on the region’s backing.
He said Ruto should read the signs of betrayal, citing Uhuru’s decision to keep quiet about whether he will rally the region to back him or not after completing his second term.
Uhuru and Ruto have had a strained political relationship since the March 9 handshake between the president and Opposition leader Raila Odinga, and have not been able to have public display of political romance; a display of unity that was the hallmark of their first term in office.
“We would advise him to have more people on his side. We have seen the senior group gang up against him. For example, I have not heard it from Uhuru talk about supporting his bid. I used to hear him before but he has kept quiet for the last two years,” he said.
He discredited some of the Ruto allies in Western, stating that National Assembly Majority Whip Benjamin Washiali and Kimilili MP Didmus Barasa have no capacity to deliver the region.
Ruto said with a divided Mt Kenya, the DP cannot succeed Uhuru even if he was to get 100 per cent backing of Rift Valley.
He gave the example of Uhuru who came a distant second after retired President Mwai Kibaki in 2002. Uhuru was endorsed by retired President Daniel Moi and managed a huge backing of voters from the vote-rich Rift Valley.
“Remember Uhuru got a huge support of Rift Valley votes and part of central but failed. If Central is going to the election split, then he should say goodbye to the presidency,” he said.
He said Ruto will have to go for the political backing of big wigs such as Mudavadi and Wetang’ula.
“I have hardly seen him with Mudavadi or Wetang’ula. I only see him with Senate Speaker Ken Lusaka and I am yet to be convinced about his political influence. He will need to look for people with capacity in those areas. It is the communities that will coalesce around his bid. I would like him to deal with the political leaders of party’s dominant in those areas,” he added.
Ruto has consistently made inroads in Western Kenya and the trips have since started yielding fruits after former Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale and Trans-Nzoia Governor Patrick Khaemba defected to Jubilee and declared support for Ruto.
But he has also suffered political setbacks in his Rift Valley backyard after being ditched by his former close ally and Uasin Gishu governorship contestant Zedekiah Bundotich alias Buzeki and Elgeyo Marakwet Governor Alex Tolgos.
The former county boss said his party was in talks with Kanu party leader and Baringo Senator Gideon Moi, suggesting that they may work together in the run up to the next election.
The vocal champion of devolution revisited his humiliating defeat by Governor Joyce Laboso, describing the contest as a race that pitted him against State machinery.
He sensationally claimed that all his agents were locked by police in Jubilee’s concerted effort to kick him out after he defied to support the outfit.
“It was not a question of numbers but State machinations. They arrested all my agents and locked them in. When I talked with the police commander, he told me he was not in charge. The county was under a siege,” he said.
“That was not an election. They did so because I was going out of the way and speaking my mind when they wanted the region to be a Jubilee zone. In spite of the harassment they meted on us, we still got MCAs and two MP positions,” he said.
He, however, said he chose to let Laboso discharge her duties without antagonising her.
On devolution, the first CoG chair accused Senators and MCAs of frustrating devolution by playing politics with their oversight role.
He said a majority of senators were out to sabotage sitting governors in their quest to dethrone them from the seats.
He said the first Senate was worse, claiming they contested for the Parliamentary seat thinking it was superior to that of governors. He added once they realised it was inferior, they started fighting sitting governors using the Senate.
“Many of these senators want to be governors so they want to sabotage county bosses. The current crop of senators are doing it slightly differently. The other crop of senators realised they should have contested for governor post and, therefore, were busy sabotaging us,” he said.
He said county legislators had developed a culture of blackmailing governors to get huge allocations for their unnecessary foreign bench-marking trips.
“The MCAs have developed a culture of blackmailing governors, they keep saying we are going to impeach you if you don’t give us money,” he said.
He wants the issue, which he described as a threat to devolution, addressed in the push to amend the Constitution.
He said his party has proposed to the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) to change the country’s governance structure from the current presidential system to parliamentary one.
He said the amendments should create a prime minister’s post to head the Government.
His CCM is further proposing that party leaders contest for parliamentary seats so that they can steer their outfits from within Parliament.
He said the current system has locked out serious politicians from the two Houses, something he blamed for the culture of MPs being bought to support particular motions.