The change of Dr Ruto’s fortunes comes after President Kenyatta locked him out of the Cabinet and government business. The President also successfully purged the DP’s troops from lofty perches both in the Senate and the National Assembly.
Some politicians, civil servants and parastatal chiefs are now afraid of being seen to be having close and open engagement with the Dr Ruto, probably for fear of landing in wrong books with the Head of State.
Jubilee Deputy Secretary-General Caleb Kositany, who is also Dr Ruto’s de-facto spokesperson, on Monday told the Nation that they had opted to “observe silence” for survival.
A lot of intimidations
“If you just come up with something that contradicts the President, you are being threatened that they will send the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) sleuths to investigate how you are using constituency development funds (CDF),” he added. Dr Ruto recently confirmed the alleged threats as he asked church leaders to pray for his lieutenants, saying some of them were being threatened with court action if they do not toe the line of his political nemesis.
“In today’s Kenya, many people are being threatened that they will be taken to court, others to the Kenya Revenue Authority and EACC. Some are being told that they will be demoted or be removed from their offices not because they committed an offence or failed to deliver, but because they are my allies. But, am I also not a Kenyan?” He posed.
In Western and Gusiiland, Dr Ruto’s lieutenants have in the recent months assumed a low profile in their support for his presidential bid.
In Western, former Sports Cabinet Secretary Rashid Echesa, former Vihiga Governor Moses Akaranga, MPs Charles Gimose (Hamisi), Fred Kapondi (Mt Elgon), Bernard Shinali (Ikolomani) and former Vihiga MP Yusuf Chanzu are no longer loudly selling the DP’s State House ambition.
Their silence is creating confusion among some of their supporters on their real intentions and political direction. Mr Echesa had earlier indicated that he had decided to support Mr Kenyatta and avoid engaging in campaigns that would derail the President’s Big Four Agenda.
“In 2017, I was part of the President’s campaign team in Kakamega and Western region. I told voters in the region to back him and Jubilee. It would be unfair to turn around and start campaigns against his administration,” said Mr Echesa.
In Gusii land, Deputy Governor Joash Maangi, MPs Joash Nyamoko (North Mugirango), Shadrack Mose (Kitutu Masaba), Vincent Kemosi (West Mugirango), Silvanus Osoro (South Mugirango) and Alpha Miruka (Bomachoge Chache) have since run out of steam in their two-year vote hunt for Dr Ruto.
Though the Gusii group has in the last two weeks held meetings with DP Ruto in his Karen home, they have engaged low gears in their backyards.
The absence of Mr Maangi in the meetings has also raised questions, with political observers left guessing his intentions and game plan.
Mr Maangi, who is also the de facto leader of the Ruto group in the region, appears not to have recovered politically after he was locked out from the BBI consultative meeting which was first held in Kisii on January 10. A series of political misfortunes befell him, including a fallout with his boss Governor James Ongwae, locking him out completely of both national and county events, where he got a forum to campaign for the DP.
At the Coast, vocal legislators in Dr Ruto’s camp now appear to be focusing on the formation of their own political party, and have denied links with the DP. The legislators drawn from both ODM and Jubilee said their new political vehicle will field and only back a presidential candidate from the Coast.
Mr Baya and Ms Jumwa are leading a revolution for the formation of a political party under ‘Vuguvugu la Mageuzi Pwani Movement’ that will eventually see Coast lawmakers exit from ODM. “Once we have our own party, we shall get what we want as a region. I want to tell those who think the Coast is their political bedroom to understand that we have started the journey to take them to the sitting room, then outside the door,” said Mr Baya in an interview.
Ms Jumwa echoed Mr Baya’s sentiments, saying: “The journey to redeem the coastal region by uniting and forming a political party has started and there is no turning back.”
In Mt Kenya, the uncharacteristic silence of the DP’s allies has raised pertinent questions on whether they have been boxed into political submission due to the President’s immense influence in the region.
On Monday, some defended their silence as tactical and strategic. “Why should we as DP’s generals be heard speaking all over the political field when silence is working smart for us?” Posed Kiharu MP Ndindi Nyoro.
He said silence in Tangatanga camp has become a very powerful tool that has led their competitors to drop guard and act carelessly, end result being DP Ruto gaining.
“They de-whipped us, isolated us from our own Jubilee Party, humiliated our presidential candidate left right and centre… what else are they bringing on? They are now saying they are bringing Raila Odinga to face DP Ruto in 2022. We will not speak, and we will wait for the people to do the talking for us in 2022,” he said.
Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua said: “Tangatanga need not talk when our opponents’ utterances are an asset to us… Listen to Jubilee Vice-Chairman David Murathe speak and you will realise we need not waste our energy on a bad cause…”
Kapseret MP Oscar Sudi told the Nation on phone that “we decided as a matter of principle to be submissive since we do not want to be portrayed as opponents of the President.”
Political analyst Herman Manyora argues that under the ‘Handshake’ deal, the President and ODM leader Raila Odinga have managed to tame the DP and scare away his lieutenants. “Uhuru and Raila’s machinery has succeeded in ostracising Ruto to the point of turning him into a pariah. Nobody wants to risk their career by associating with Ruto,” Mr Manyora told the Nation.
Reporting by Justus Ochieng’, Onyango K’0nyango, Benson Amadala, Ruth Mbula, Mwangi Muiruri and Charles Lwanga
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