Deputy President William Ruto’s United Republican Party is on a buying spree of leaders in Western region to bolster its negotiating value with Uhuru Kenyatta’s TNA in the leadership of the yet-to-be unveiled Jubilee Party.
According to sources in URP, the declaration by Ruto when he met Kalenjin leaders at his Sugoi home before Christmas that JP was “about me” is part of a wider scheme to take control of JP using proxies from other regions in preparation for a stab at the presidency in 2022 or even earlier.
Targeted for buying are MPs from coast, Luhya and Kisii. At the Coast region, a number of Cord allied MPs are said to be warming up to JP and have been telling their supporters that they will defect if assured of development in their respective regions.
The Cord allied MPs said to be on their way out are Kilifi women representative Aisha Khamis, Kilifi South MP Mustafa Idd, Mvita MP Abdulswamad Nassir, Mwatate MP Andrew Mwadime, Kwale women representative Zainab Chidzuga and her Taita Taveta counterpart Joyce Lay, Kilifi North MP Gideon Mung’aro, Ganze MP Peter Shehe, Lunga Lunga MP Khatib Mwashetani and Jomvu MP Badi Twaliba of Wiper.
In North Eastern, Wajir North MP Ibrahim Saney has publicly declared that he will defend his seat on JP ticket. He was elected on ODM ticket during 2013 elections.
In Kisii, Kitutu Chache MP Richard Onyonka is said to be on his way to JP while Borabu MP Ben Momanyi and Governor John Nyagarama of Nyamira county are also said to be under pressure to desert Cord. Momanyi who was elected on a Wiper ticket is a close associate of Kalonzo Musyoka, the
Marked in Western is the Navakholo MP Emmanuel Wangwe, Benjamin Washiali, Mumias East, Ben Shinali, Ikolomani and Justus Kizito, the former Shinyalu who crossed the floor to JP recently.
“The DP wants to win concessions from his boss before 2017 as the undisputed leader of JP and ensure that if JP wins in 2017, the government is tilted heavily in his favour. He must pack the government with his operatives to force the Kikuyu promise to back him in 2022. The first step is to control JP by arguing he has more widespread support. He will pack JP with proxies to make it look national, at the expense of the Kikuyu. This is his insurance. Control will ensure the Kikuyu do not have a fallback party should they attempt to jilt him,” said an MP who attended the Sugoi meeting.
“That is the innocent scenario. The more sinister one is for Ruto to take on Uhuru for the JP ticket in 2017. With a “national” JP, Ruto hopes to isolate Mt Kenya delegates and bag the ticket. “We want to test the Kikuyu promise in 2017. Will they come along with us if we’ve more delegates? We want to play the Putin Roulette,” a close confidante of Ruto says