Key contenders lay ground for bruising political battle
Exactly one year to the next General Election, political players jostling to succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta have shaped the campaigns and already in bruising and bare-knuckled competitions as they seek to outshine each other, forcing the government to start laying down strategies to avert possible chaos during the vote.
Deputy President William Ruto, Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader Raila Odinga, Amani National Congress (ANC) chief Musalia Mudavadi, Wiper party Kalonzo Musyoka and Baringo Senator Gideon Moi, and some governors serving final term, are emerging as key political players in the State House race.
Already, among the key players, there are three political formations, one where the DP is on an overdrive to push for his bid, a second where Raila, with the backing of President Uhuru allies are keen to have him take over the country’s leadership and a third one where Mudavadi, Kalonzo, Moi and Bungoma Senator Moses Wetangula of Fork Kenya are fighting to create a coalition.
Mt Kenya, Ukambani, Coast, North eastern, Gusii and Maa regions have emerged as battle grounds for potential 2022 presidential competitors.
The aspirants have been making forays to the regions to endear themselves to the voters and promising possible alliances.
Governors serving last term, and other regional kingpins are also targeting the running mate post, the proposed PM or the deputies or Cabinet secretary positions.
But what makes the 2022 elections extra-ordinary is that, unlike in 2013 when retired President Mwai Kibaki kept off campaigns, this time, the country is dealing with an incumbent determined to shape his succession, an ambitious, defiant, bitter and aggressive deputy whose tone projects already the developed perception that the seat is his to lose and an elderly opposition supremo, who feels this could be his last chance.
Also in the mix are Mudavadi, who is making a second stab in the presidency and a former Vice President, who feels that after backing Raila, who has failed twice, its his turn to be supported and with the backing of Moi and Wetangula, the team under OKA believes that Uhuru should back them and not the former prime minister.
“The major players in the next general election are expected to be Raila, Ruto and President Uhuru.
Raila, having quit Nasa will form a new coalition with the One Kenya Alliance leaders and the Jubilee party.
It is expected that he will run on the premise of uniting all the tribes. His campaign seems to have the backing of billionaires from the Mt Kenya region and, therefore, we should expect top notch campaign machinery from his coalition,” said Peter Ng’ethe, a political science graduate from Kenyatta University.
The DP, he said, has created a vast network and amassed wealth which he is exploiting to advance his chances. Uhuru allies have been cobbling up an alliance in favour of Raila and has aggrieved the DP, who also feels betrayed after backing Uhuru twice.
“Do not see as if he (Raila) is alone. Where Jakom is, you should see the President because we are there. That is where we are.
I have already told the people that they should be ready for a Raila presidency. And those with eyes can see,” Jubilee party vice-chairman David Murathe said.
Uhuru confidants are reported to have approached Uhuru over emerging divisions pitting Raila, Kalonzo, Mudavadi, Moi and Wetangula seeking to have them under one alliance.
Ruto, on the other hand, has assembled a well-oiled campaign that has been riding on the hustler movement, and his allies have been criss-crossing the country campaigning for him.
For Raila who, during the last elections his allies said he was shooting the last bullet, there is a feeling that his is a do-or-die affair, and his allies are determined “to go to any length to ensure he succeeds”.