Kenya’s top political heavyweights have ganged against Deputy President William Ruto to frustrate his 2022 presidential ambitions.
For the last four years, the DP has been trekking along a lonely and bumpy political path characterised by missteps and sidesteps.
As alignments and realignments begin to take shape ahead of the upcoming General Election, Ruto is increasingly becoming isolated within and without the government.
All the top presidential candidates have ganged up against him and are working in overt and covert to stop him.
Raila Odinga (ODM), Kalonzo Musyoka (Wiper), Musalia Mudavadi (ANC), Moses Wetang’ula (FORD Kenya), and Gideon Moi (KANU) have trained their guns to the DP.
The vow to beat Ruto
Recently, Kalonzo made it clear that his first priority is to defeat William Ruto and send him to his “Sugoi village” in Uasin Gishu.
“Defeating Ruto is my number one priority, and I know why. I also welcome my brother Johnson Muthama to work with us once we clinch the victory because defeating you, we shall,” said the former vice president.
Kalonzo’s sentiments came barely weeks after Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu asked former NASA principals (Raila, Kalonzo, Wetang’ula, and Mudavadi) to unite and head into 2022 polls as a team or risk losing the presidential seat to the DP.
The sentiments were echoed by former NASA combative political strategist Norman Magaya, now working for Wiper, who declared on national TV that the common enemy for all the top presidential aspirants was Ruto.
“Let me make it clear that our common is William Ruto, that is the enemy that we want to defeat and is our priority,” said Magaya during an interview with Citizen TV.
The ODM barricade has also declared Ruto an “enemy of progress” and vowed to arrest and frustrate his hustler nation movement “before it destroys the country”.
Raila, who is likely to fly the Orange party ticket in 2022, has been waging war against DP’s bottom-up economic model and the hustler narrative.
“We need concrete solutions to the challenges our country is facing not just empty sloganeering some of which have the potential to cause class war…we have heard about hustler, about mama mboga, boda boda and so on, hiyo ni takataka (that is rubbish),” he said.
The push for BBI
All the political heavyweights in the country are pushing for constitutional amendments through the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI), a proposal the second in command opposed to.
Since its launch three years ago, Ruto has stood out as the only senior politician with the zeal and conviction to reject the proposed amendments spearheaded by the president and the ODM leader.
The bill, among other proposals, intends to expand the executive so as to enhance inclusivity in governance and leadership. However, Ruto argues the recommendation is aimed at creating jobs for a few privileged politicians.
His hardline stance on the BBI bill has seen him isolated further and pushed to the periphery of the government despite being the second in command.
Uniting opposition against Ruto
Raila, Kalonzo, Mudavadi, Gideon, and Wetang’ula are coalescing around President Uhuru who has broken ranks with his deputy and is reportedly scouting for a successor from the Opposition camp.
Already, Wiper and KANU have a post-election coalition agreement with the ruling Jubilee party and are working closely with the president. ODM has also been working with Jubilee for the last four years and is in the advanced stage of striking a 2022 coalition agreement.
Kalonzo, Mudavadi, Wetangu’la, and Raila formed the NASA coalition that faced off with Jubilee in 2017. However, they recently disbanded the alliance over mistrust, betrayal, and political deceit among its members.
Despite the fallout, the four leaders, who are all eyeing the presidential seat, have remained united in faith and spirit to scuttle Ruto’s high-flying political career.
They have held more than five meetings to strategise on how to beat Ruto in 2022. These meetings, interestingly, have all been convened and presided over by the president.
According to sources privy to the happenings, Uhuru is determined to block his deputy from succeeding him and is doing everything within his means to unite the opposition leaders to frustrate the DP’s bid.
He has publicly thrown jibes at his deputy’s economic model and the plans he has for Kenya. In one of the most savage verbal tirades directed at Ruto, Uhuru said he won’t leave the country in the hands of “thieves”.
Although he is determined to achieve this, Uhuru’s biggest headache has been to convince the Opposition team to rally behind one of them.
Kalonzo, Mudavadi, Gideon, and Wetang’ula have formed One Kenya Alliance (OKA) to advance their 2022 political interests, while Raila is charting a different path that appears to have the president’s blessings.
Ruto, who has keenly been following the steps of his political nemeses, has not hidden his frustrations. He recently castigated the president and his new allies for planning to scuttle his ambitions without telling Kenyans what they would do for them after flooring him.
“They have turned William Ruto into a campaign agenda instead of naming a presidential candidate and coming up with a plan for the country, they will lose,” said the DP
He has insisted he won’t be cowed into forming tribal alliances and appears determined to soldier on as a lone ranger.