Deputy President William Ruto’s renewed attack on Opposition leader Raila Odinga has been attributed to frustration that the former prime minister is using his handshake with President Uhuru Kenyatta to repackage himself for 2022 duel.
Analysts and politicians argue that Ruto is increasingly becoming uneasy about Raila’s recent role following his truce with Uhuru that is beginning to even win his allies some slots in the Government.
Critics argue that the DP’s camp had wanted Raila to keep to his combative style of politics, which it had hoped Ruto would exploit in the race to succeed Uhuru.
But they are frustrated by his strategy to make peace with his bitter rival and that this could endear him to regions that have traditionally shunned his confrontational brand of politics.
Insiders claim the DP’s outburst about Raila may have been further provoked by recent appointments to State parastatals in which the ODM leader’s allies ‘replaced’ those nominated from Ruto’s side.
“A former minister and one aide of the DP spent days compiling a list of loyalists to be gazetted as board members but instead when the names came out, Raila’s picks and those from Uhuru’s side dominated. The DP is very disappointed,” the insider told the Standard.
In the security docket, there are also indications that the impending retirement of Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet and the lobbying to replace him has created friction.
State House officials are said to have earmarked a certain intelligence official, a nomination seen as a reward to Raila, to take over from Boinnet when he exits in December, much to the chagrin of Ruto’s camp.
Ruto on Sunday in Voi sensationally claimed that Raila was scheming to chase him out of the Jubilee coalition, the way he threw him out of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM)
Ruto’s blue eyed boy Kipchumba Murkomen supported the DP’s sentiments, saying those opposed to the DP were playing politics of deceit.
“The DP was calling out those who are exercising politics of deceit and conman-ship. Although he didn’t mention names, I am glad they identified themselves,” said the Elgeyo Marakwet senator.
But Raila’s boys are not taking the jabs while laying low. Junet Mohamed called Ruto “a party-hopper” who should blame himself, not Raila, for his affinity to join and leave parties.
“Ruto was an official of the Kenya African National Union. Similarly, he held key positions in ODM and United Republican Party. He quit the parties and joined Jubilee. He is scheming to leave Jubilee for parties that have been formed by his allies in Rift Valley,” Junet claimed.
Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo Junior argued that Ruto could be scared of the handshake.
“The recent exchanges reveal the jitters of the handshake. The 2022 elections are at stake but Jubilee appears like a divided house. It is the first time since March that the DP has been direct in his attack. Now that gloves are off, a lot more is on the cards in the coming days,” Kilonzo jnr said.
Nyeri Town MP Ngunjiri Wambugu, a harsh critic of Ruto, claimed the DP’s outbursts were meant to show the public that Uhuru made a mistake in pursuing peace with Raila.
“Ruto is intent on portraying Uhuru as not knowing what he is doing. His outbursts are meant to undermine Uhuru as a President by showing that he made a wrong decision,” Mr Ngunjiri said.
He said those pushing this argument were those around Ruto who believed they were the key drivers of the Ruto 2022 campaign and believed Uhuru had made their work harder by making peace with Raila.
A National Super Alliance strategist who wished not to be named said Ruto was worried about Raila’s candidature for the presidency in 2022.
“ODM has said Raila will be on the ballot in 2022. This has unsettled Ruto. He knows Raila is his only credible challenger. What complicates the equation is if the President backs Raila. The only two politicians in Kenya who command fanatical following are Uhuru and Raila. The rest have a mountain to climb to chart their own territories,” the strategist said.
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