By FRED MAKANA
Deputy President William Ruto’s sustained bare knuckle attacks against President Uhuru Kenyatta continues to diminish his bragging rights that the Mt Kenya vote is under lock and key ahead of August 9 General elections.
The DP’s onslaught against President Uhuru political pundits now warn is set to complicate chances of aspirants flying the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) ticket who are now forced by the prevailing toxic environment to reconsider their stand.
The DP has gone full circle and has over the past one week been attacking the president with little regard that he is the Mt Kenya leader who has the blessings of the region to chart its political future.
Mr Ruto, who for years restrained himself from directly attacking his boss, in his campaign rallies, however of late he has shifted gears and he is now taking the Head of State head-on.
With the latest attack on President Uhuru on Monday March 28, it appears Ruto is walking a political tightrope to maintain a grip on Mt Kenya region in the wake of ODM boss Raila Odinga’s aggressive forays there.
Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria’s recent pronouncement that Ruto will pair With ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi in the joint Kenya Kwanza ticket has further alienated the wheelbarrow party from Mt Kenya region.
DP Ruto who has previously been seen as enjoying a massive political head start in the region is facing a vicious onslaught from President Uhuru’s camp who are accusing him of disrespecting the head of state.
Political observers and supporters have warned that Ruto’s hard-won support in the region is plummeting and his fortunes nosediving following his sustained attacks on President Uhuru.
“DP Ruto is making one of the worst political mistakes of his life which will cost him dearly in the August polls by attacking President Uhuru. The ground has shifted and things will no longer be the same for Ruto and his Tangatanga camp,” warns Kieni MP Kanini Kega.
The DP requires almost 80 per cent of more than six million Mt Kenya votes, to romp to State House, despite his falling out with his boss.
But Mt Kenya residents have warned that the DP has been misled into attacking the president by some advisors they say are out to spoil his chances.
“When the likes of Moses Kuria invoke age-old arguments as a means of galvanizing support for Ruto then it is clear the DP’s camp is desperate and running short of options. It is a pity even his closest advisors failed to notice the attacks on Mama Ngina Kenyatta when she expressed her political opinion,” noted Alex Mbuthia Nakuru-based political analyst.
He argues that Ruto may now need to step out and work harder if he hopes to turn the tables on his critics and political enemies to inherit Uhuru at the house on the hill.
Raila already seems to be scaling the mountain after his tour culminated in the historic endorsement of his presidential candidature by the Mt Kenya Foundation-an exclusive club of wealthy tycoons from the region.
DP Ruto is seeking to counter the Azimio la Umoja Movement wave that is led by his arch-rival, ODM leader Raila Odinga, who enjoys the support of President Uhuru Kenyatta, Wiper boss Kalonzo Musyoka and more than 20 political parties.
“It may not have been his wish to attack the president, but the ground (political reality) is telling him something different as we approach the August polls,” said Nyeri -based political commentator Samuel Karanja in an interview with News Today.
“Prior to the Handshake, only four years separated Ruto from the presidency, owing to the tyranny of numbers he and Uhuru had accumulated. However, he has been stripped naked and left a bitter man.”
“Raila remains the ultimate victor in all of this because he split Jubilee to form Jubilee reloaded and the United Democratic Alliance and won Uhuru’s support,” Prof Peter Kagwanja observes.
Then the ghosts of the bungled 2017 Jubilee Party primaries have come back to haunt DP Ruto.
According to Nyeri Town MP Ngunjiri Wambugu defections from UDA to Jubilee have been overwhelming after President Uhuru gave the direction the country should take.
Mr Wambugu said the leaders returning to Jubilee have been portraying DP Ruto as not trustworthy.
“Very few people in UDA believe there will be free and fair nominations. There is a general belief UDA nomination certificates will go to the highest bidder, irrespective of a person’s popularity,” the Nyeri Town MP said.
“As Jubilee, we have reactivated our political wing and rebuilt what those who left had attempted to destroy. The new Jubilee is attractive to many and we are confident it will still be the largest party in August,” he added.