Monday, June 17, 2024
spot_img
HomeKenya NewsKWENDO OPANGA: Why Kenya Kwanza wants to forget debate on naming of...

KWENDO OPANGA: Why Kenya Kwanza wants to forget debate on naming of Gachagua as Ruto’s running mate

Nairobi

Most of the legislators present at the Deputy President’s Karen residence on Sunday and Monday preferred Prof Kithure Kindiki to Gachagua.

The rival Kenya Kwanza Alliance coalition of Deputy President William Ruto managed only an uptick following his controversial choice of Gachagua, the sitting MP for Mathira in Nyeri County, as his running mate.

The uptick was also likely influenced by voters in the Mount Kenya region because Ruto’s United Democratic Alliance (UDA) has been the favourite party in the region since last year.

Secondly, Gachagua’s elevation as Ruto’s running mate was achieved in circumstances the coalition wants to forget in a hurry. Most of the legislators present at the Deputy President’s Karen residence on Sunday and Monday preferred Prof Kithure Kindiki to Gachagua.

But, Gachagua was Ruto’s choice ahead of Kindiki, the former Deputy Speaker of the Senate who was removed in May of 2020. Then legislators of the Jubilee Party teamed up with their Orange Democratic Movement colleagues to vote him out for supporting Ruto who was increasingly locking horns with President Kenyatta.

Because Gachagua has a Sh7.3 billion fraud case against him pending in court, and because Ruto has been hammered umpteenth times in regard to graft, Kenya Kwanza was labelled a campaign of thieves, crooks and conmen.

While Kindiki accepted the turn of events at Karen, wished Gachagua well and decided to take time off politics, it was a hard gear shift for his supporters in Tharaka Nithi County.

First, they expected that Kindiki would vie for, and most likely, win the gubernatorial seat, but was prevailed upon by Ruto to shelve his local run for a national role.

Dr Kenneth Bukachi Kochwa with DP William Ruto

That role, Kindiki’s supporters believe, was Deputy President in a Kenya Kwanza government. Now Kindiki is time barred for a gubernatorial run and is out of the running for the Number Two slot in a Ruto government. They are not sure they have a home in UDA anymore.

Gachagua may bring resources to the Kenya Kwanza presidential ticket, but there is a price to pay. The two of them will have noted that no sooner had the ticket been confirmed than the propaganda mills went into top gear. On the stump and in social media, the line of attack was familiar.

Because Gachagua has a Sh7.3 billion fraud case against him pending in court, and because Ruto has been hammered umpteenth times in regard to graft, Kenya Kwanza was labelled a campaign of thieves, crooks and conmen.

It was a reminder to Kenya Kwanza that every development in the camp will be used by the rivals to brand its presidential ticket as rotten.

When in January Luyia politicians Musalia Mudavadi and Moses Wetang’ula joined Ruto’s camp, Odinga called Kenya Kwanza the thieves’ corner. In 2017 the duo were his co-principals in NASA whose presidential candidate he was. He never called them thieves.

Before the two quit One Kenya Alliance and when it appeared they may join him in Azimio he did not call them thieves. When they quit, they became fair game. Ruto has had the mwizi (thief) tag hang around his neck like an albatross since 2018. The going will only get tougher as the race to August 9 progresses.

And there are internal matters to worry the Kenya Kwanza hierarchy and their supporters. It emerged on Wednesday that Ruto is not running for president on the alliance’s ticket but UDA’s, throwing into question his loyalty to the coalition.

Mudavadi and Wetang'ula

Affiliate parties have reason to worry that Kenya Kwanza is a shell or that Ruto knows the electorate know UDA and not the umbrella entity. When Karua made campaign stops on Wednesday, she was occasionally met with chants of UDA! UDA! and not Kenya Kwanza!

Second, Luyia politicians Moses Wetang’ula and Musalia Mudavadi have signed onto agreements which stipulate that they will be eligible for plush posts in a Ruto-led government when they deliver 70 per cent of the Ebuluyia vote to the Deputy President.

Suffice to say neither UDA nor Kenya Kwanza can muster that kind of vote among Abaluyia.

And where was former Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka and his running mate Edwin Sunkuli? Piqued at not being named Odinga’s running mate, Musyoka announced his own presidential run on the same day Odinga unveiled Karua.

But something even more ominous looms on the horizon. A case has been filed in court in which the petitioner prays the court to compel Ruto to drop Gachagua as his running mate. The case has been certified as urgent.

That is damaging enough, casting as it does, the Kenya Kwanza high command as having made the running mate decision in a hurry or against the grain. When the ruling is delivered, the damage will either remain undone or be exacerbated.

And where was former Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka and his running mate Edwin Sunkuli? Piqued at not being named Odinga’s running mate, Musyoka announced his own presidential run on the same day Odinga unveiled Karua.

But most guessed it was not a serious bid when Musyoka announced that he was taking a week-long break to reflect on the momentous events going on in Kenya.

That’s not what serious politicians do. A launch such as that of unveiling a running mate is supposed to create momentum for a ticket and party. The ticket and party builds on this momentum by hitting the campaign trail, which is what Odinga, Karua and Azimio and Ruto, Gachagua and Kenya Kwanza, did.

Musyoka went to his Yatta farm. Most expect he will eat humble pie and return to Azimio and take up whatever role Odinga assigns him.

Ends

RELATED ARTICLES

Most Popular

Recent Comments