All eyes are on several Mt Kenya politicians who had positioned themselves to be William Ruto’s running mate in 2022 as it emerges only former cabinet secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri ticks all the boxes and fits the bill.
Kiunjuri’s long political experience, only bettered by Meru governor Kiraitu Murungi, Narc-Kenya leader Martha Karua is what makes him stand out as Ruto’s ideal running mate.
His mobilization of 57 MPs to attend a retreat in Meru to take a position on the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) after its launch at Bomas of Kenya is also a plus as it fashions him as a man with immense mobilization skills.
He also never feared going against the grain in supporting William Ruto’s 2022 bid, something which cost him his plum cabinet job.
There are other Tanga Tanga-allied politicians from Mt Kenya who have tried to catch William Ruto’s eye despite Kiunjuri’s impressive attributes.
They include Tharaka Nithi Senator Kithure Kindiki, Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria and Rigathi Gachagua (Mathira) from coveting the running mate slot, a situation that is likely to put the DP in the horns of a dilemma.
But Ruto’s problem lies elsewhere. William Ruto should be very worried about people like Kiraitu, Karua, National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi, former Kiambu Governor William Kabogo, Murang’a Governor Mwangi wa Iria, Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru, who have emerged strongly in as far as Uhuru Kenyatta’s succession politics is concerned.
While Kiraitu and Muturi hail from Mt Kenya East, they are first among equals in the entire region and whichever alliance they line behind is likely to be determine which direction it will go.
While Muturi has already shown signs of a man ready to take a stub at the big seat, Kiraitu is yet to declare his ambitions ahead of the 2022 General Election.
Wlliam Ruto would score big should he manage to convince the both or eithr of the to join his camp ahead of 2022, it will no doubt be a major scoop for his presidential ambition, especially in Mt Kenya East, which boasted of 1,225,102 registered voters back in 2017.
Besides seeming to enjoy a cordial relationship with Uhuru, Kabogo has also left many guessing especially after criss crossing Central Kenya region preaching the BBI gospel.
He has no doubt sparked strong speculations he could be among people being positioned to replace Uhuru as he retires.
For this reason, Kabogo’s word cannot be understimaed in Mt Kenya region. William Ruto needs such a person on his side if he has to make any meaningful inroads in the region.
That he is a credible leader came to the fore when many Kiambu residents begun regretting why they denied him a second term in favour of Ferdinand Waititu, who was eventually impeached and kicked out of office for, among others, alleged involvement in corruption.
With Kiambu alone being home to 1,180,920 registered voters, Kabogo is an asset to any formation he will eventually decide to join.
Wa Iria, who is affiliated to the Civic Renewal Party (CRP), is serving his second and final term and has declared interest in the presidency.
During the recent Council of Governors elections, he declined to contest for any seat, saying it may interfere with his ambitions.
However, he does not look to be unamenable to any opportunity that may come his way, especially if it is a chance to become a deputy president in the post-2022 dispensation.
Before the Ruto parted ways with President Uhuru, Waiguru was seen as the DP’s ideal running mate from the Mt Kenya region. The fact that she is a woman was an added advantage.
However, she would later patch up her differences with ODM leader Raila Odinga and is now one of the foremost backers of the BBI.
Waiguru, who has never shied away from expressing her interest in a bigger seat, including the presidency, is now seen as one of the candidates for the position of prime minister or deputy prime minister if the BBI proposed changes are endorsed.
With Ruto at one time divulging that he is keen on picking a woman as a running mate, Waiguru would have been an ideal choice, as none of the Tanga Tanga proponents from the region such as Kandara’s Alice Wahome or Purity Ngirici of Kirinyaga can match her credentials.
In a nutshell, as things stand, it will not be a walk in the park for William Ruto in deciding who will pair his ticket in Mt Kenya.
He must retreat and reconsider the options he has on the table but either way, he has a tough task on his hands.