The political terrain appears to be getting slippery for Deputy President William Ruto since the beginning of this year when he was expected to have kept campaign momentum he started four years ago.
From all indications each passing day DP Ruto has been receiving political blows ranging from defections, arm-twisting by allies-turned foes while his erstwhile competitor ODM leader Raila Odinga is reaping big in the ongoing political realignments ahead of August 9 polls.
The DP was a dealt a major blow after the National Assembly passed the Political Parties Amendment Bill despite his spirited fight and then after that a string of misfortunes have befallen the DP
The latest blow in Mt Kenya region that has sent shivers down the spine of United Democratic Alliance (UDA) supporters is when Thika Town MP Patrick Wainaina withdrew from the party.
Wainaina is believed to have quietly beaten a retreat in mid-December, barely two months after joining UDA in a highly publicised event attended by DP Ruto in Thika constituency. The MP has since rebranded his campaign truck previously adorned with the yellow UDA colours.
Asked to comment on the latest development and confirm whether he has defected officially, the legislator only said: “We are independent.”
Kirinyaga Woman Representative Wangui Ngirici’s defection from UDA left the county with no trace of the wheelbarrow party after she removed all the party branding that she had put on walls including her office in Kerugoya town.
30 Governors support Raila
This came hot on the heels of another shocker on Monday January 17 when over 30 governors threw their weight behind Raila and even went ahead to brand Ruto as anti-devolution who is keen to dismantle the political units if elected in August polls.
Linturi offensive Remarks
It all started with the arrest of Meru Senator Mithika Linturi over utterances he made at a rally in Eldoret on January 8 which were perceived to border on incitement to violence.
A few hours after the Linturi incident, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Noordin Haji directed the Inspector General of Police Hillary Mutyambai to investigate the matter.
The remarks elicited mixed reactions. Most politicians, human rights activists, Kenyans on Twitter and other social media forums strongly condemned the sentiments, and called on investigative agencies to take immediate action.
Two days later Deputy President William Ruto was forced to apologise to Kenyans following Linturi’s “madoadoa” remarks that sparked the wrath of a section of Kenyans.
“I want to apologise as the leader of this team. All our team members, the UDA party members, and followers, are asked to be careful with their language,” DP Ruto said.
Political leaders and even Ruto’s staunch supporters were united in condemning Linturi’s remarks which was brewing political intolerance in the country saying leaders should avoid ethnic profiling and preach peace.
According to political commentators, Linturi’s remarks did a great damage to DP Ruto’s presidential bid both locally and the eyes of the international community. “It must be noted that Ruto’s name is still within the corridors of ICC court and such careless utterances continues to dent his image among the foreign investors he is trying to woo to support his bid. It was indeed one of the lowest moments for a man who wanted to project himself as a national figure away from Rift valley politics of yesteryears,” argued Andrew Kiptum a Kenyan scholar based in Brisbane Australia.
Mudavadi fruitless overtures
The DP Ruto’s hunt for the Western votes as he continues to courted OKA principals; Musalia Mudavadi and Moses Wetangula to decamp to UDA appearsed to been another setback in his quest to succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta.
In what seemed to be Ruto’s tactical strategy in courting Mudavadi, the DP attended a football tournament organized by Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malala on the New Year eve. Despite Ruto’s assurances that his visit had Mudavadi’s blessings then came a slap on the face by none other than Mudavadi
Mudavadi was hours later forced to denounce Ruto’s overtures for a coalition with others saying they had been holding night meetings.
“I have been in the media lately for what I have not said rather than for what I have said. I shall always defend the constitutional right of every Kenyan on the freedom of movement. As far as I am concerned I am free to meet anybody and when I do I will not shy away from telling Kenyans,” Mudavadi said.
Ruto’s Thika and Jaracanda losses
Then last weekend Raila held a mega Azimio La Umoja rally and a first of its kind in Kiambu county where hundreds poured into Thika Stadium and pledged to support his presidential bid. Five governors and over 15 MPs attended the event where they promised to help the ODM leader climb the mountain.
The following day DP Ruto was left pointing fingers at ODM for the chaos that erupted at his rally at the Jacaranda Grounds in Embakasi East, Nairobi County.
While addressing the crowd at the rally, DP Ruto claimed that his opponents had hired goons to disrupt his opponent’s rallies and must have been behind the violence witnessed at his Sunday afternoon rally.
ODM came out to refute claims made by UDA that its party leader Raila has been sponsoring the chaos that has been witnessed at Ruto’s gatherings.
In a press release issued by the party’s Secretary-General Edwin Sifuna, ODM said that the accusation made by the Ruto-allied party was false. According to ODM, UDA made the sentiment to divert the country’s attention from some of the bad things that its members have been involved in recently.
The last week again on January 14 Ruto suffered another humiliating experience in his backyard. This is when Bomet governor Hillary Barchok and his foremost rival for the seat, Isaac Ruto have traded accusations over the chaos that reigned during Deputy President William Ruto’s rally in the county that Monday.
Barchok claimed the former county boss ferried supporters to the meeting and even paid them to jeer other leaders opposed to him.
Responding to the allegations, the CCM party leader accused Barchok of dishonesty, telling him to stop peddling lies.
He argued that Barchok is the one to blame for the chaos since he is the one who ferried people to the function.