After months of agonizing on whether to jettison out of the sinking Jubilee party or not, Deputy President William Ruto has finally bitten the bullet and formed a new political party. Ruto’s decision followed what insiders say were numerous meetings of his advisers, mostly the legal team held in his private Karen residence, Weston Hotel, Nairobi and his Sugoi home, Uasin Gishu county. Ruto’s inner circle includes Senator Kipchumba Murkomen (Elgeyo Marakwet), MPs Caleb Kositany (Soy), Oscar Sudi (Kapseret), Farouk Kibet (personal assistant), Ken Osinde, the chief-of-staff and private secretary Reuben Maiyo and David Muge, the financial controller-cum-fundraiser. Former Moi university vice-chancellor Richard Mibey acts as the team secretary. Other prominent faces are Langata MP Nixon Korir, representing the youth, senators Samson Cherargei (Nandi), Susan Kihika (Nakuru), Aaron Cheruiyot (Kericho) and Aden Duale, the national assembly majority leader.
Sources say that the DP’s long term legal adviser Korir Singoei leads the team of strategists and is behind the new party. Singoei is based at the Ruto office as a legal adviser. He is also the head of policy. He operates a law firm, Singoei, Murkomen and Sigei with offices in Nairobi and Eldoret. The DP’s son, Nick Ruto, who was admitted to the bar, is also in the strategy team. Ruto’s recent dawn rituals with Talai elders was aimed at blessing his new political outfit. The visit split the Talai elders into two factions, with one group for the cultural rituals, and the other against. Stephen Sugut, a Talai elder, termed the event a “fake ceremony,” as the clan’s culture rites were not followed.
Sugut said Talai elders were not consulted ahead of the ceremony presided by Talai Council of Elders’ chairperson retired Reverend Canon James Baasi. But Baasi argues five subclans with powers to install and bless Kalenjin leaders, consulted, and agreed Ruto to lead the community at the national platform. Weekly Citizen has information that what is dividing the Talai elders is the amount of money the DP dished out before and after the function running into millions. Back to party matters, Ruto, insiders noted, has accepted the reality that his chances of contesting the presidency on Jubilee party ticket are nil, and hence registered the United Green Party to be his vehicle in the 2022 presidential election.
The DP tentatively plans to unveil the new political party early next year in a grand launch to be held in Nairobi. Strategists are said to be currently working on the recruitment, party structure, branch composition and offices. The plan is to revive the network of the dissolved URP to be inherited by UGP. The initial plan was to have URP revived but the Registrar of Political Parties ruled out such a scenario. According to insiders, the party constitution allows it to enter into an alliance with like-minded parties. To remove the Kalenjin tag, the party has a national outlook with Senator Kindiki Kithure likely to be deputy party leader to take control of Mount Kenya East vote bloc that is currently dissenting.
Governor Salim Mvurya of Kwale features in the lineup just like that of Bonnie Khalwale, MP Ben Washiali, Cecily Mbarire, Mithika Linturi, and Mohammed Ali of Nyali, just to name the no ending list. Prior to the launch, the deputy president will tour all the 47 counties opening offices and marshaling support for the party. Next year, Ruto is likely to step down as deputy president to concentrate on marketing the new outfit. He intends to take the position of the official opposition, leaving ODM leader Raila Odinga, who has ousted him in corridors of power to enjoy. Ruto timing to resign is based on the understanding, by then political temperatures will be high, and the office of a deputy whose budget has been cut and powers trimmed in the recent Uhuru Executive Order will be of no value.
Whereas others want the party launched late next year, after his resignation, a section of them are pushing it for early next year with machinery put in motion. They say Ruto resignation, and those allied to him from the government will send shockwaves across the political terrain as it happened prior to 1992 election when Mwai Kibaki resigned on Christmas Day to form Democratic Party. The timing is also aimed at cashing in on the unpopularity that Jubilee is facing from the people who feel that the party has failed totally. Ruto, it is said, will package himself as the people’s representative and become the opposition which is now a vacuum after Raila was compromised by Uhuru to abandon the people and go to bed with the oppressor.
There are even those in ODM who fear that Raila will become the face of Uhuru failure in the next elections if he has Uhuru backing him. Ruto’s new party, alongside the Grand Dream Development Party, and Party of Development and Reforms, have for long been associated with the DP as his 2022 political vehicle though his allies have repeatedly denied the claims. Those at the driving seat in the new party at the behest of Ruto include MPs Cornelly Serem (Aldai), Senator Cherargei, MPs Sudi and Kositany. The latter is the Jubilee Party deputy secretary-general. Insiders revealed that UGP registration application was forwarded to the Registrar of Political Parties at the height of Uhuru’s supposed war on graft when he ordered a lifestyle audit for civil servants.
Cherargei has openly stated they were shopping for a new vehicle for the DP for the purposes of 2022 polls. Sources say Ruto decided to take the bull by the horns after Uhuru took control of the ruling Jubilee Party after officially kicking out officials affiliated to him and replacing them with his allies despite objections from his second in command. Ruto and his allies had mounted an aggressive campaign to stop the changes, but the secretariat went ahead and confirmed the new appointees. Those appointed included Lucy Macharia, Marete Marangu, former Kitutu Masaba MP Walter Nyambati, Jane Nampaso and James Waweru. The matters got more complicated for Ruto after the Political Parties Disputes Tribunal threw out a case his allies had filed challenging the change of officials in Jubilee’s top decision-making organ, the national management committee.
The tribunal ruled the case was prematurely filed by Kositany, Kihika and then majority whip Washiali. The DP was relying on a favourable ruling by the tribunal to overturn the NMC changes, regain control of the ruling party and thwart attempts by Uhuru’s allies to diminish his influence. The deputy president suffered another setback after his allies were dropped from senate leadership. Sources say the deputy president has been using the break brought about by the coronavirus to explore various options on how he will enter the 2022 presidential race with guaranteed success. With his new party, he will be able to form a new alliance with key political players opposed to the March 9 2018 handshake between Uhuru and Raila.
Among those he is eyeing is ANC leader Mudavadi and his Ford-K counterpart Wetang’ula. The two were co-principals in Nasa that fronted for Raila presidential bid in 2017. Ruto believes Mudavadi and Wetang’ula will never join Raila bandwagon 2022, and hence, he has intensified his bid to win them over. Initially, the deputy president was toying with the idea of taking over Economic Freedom Party that was established in March 2017 by politicians from Mandera county who included then Senator Billow Kerrow and MPs Mohamed Huka and Fathia Mabub after they left URP and the Jubilee Alliance. The Umoja Summit Party whose party leader is former cabinet secretary Suleiman Shakombo had also featured on his list.
Insiders add that Ruto is now crafting the lineup for the new party. In Rift Valley, Murkomen, Kositany, Kihika, Cheragei and Bahati MP Kimani Ngunjiri will be the torchbearers. In Central, Kirinyaga woman representative Purity Ngirici, Kiharu MP Ndindi Nyoro, Mathira’s Rigathi Gachagua and Kikuyu’s Kimani Inchung’wa are featuring prominently in the list of those to be considered for top posts. In Western, Mumias East MP Benjamin Washiali, Sirisia’s John Waluke, former Kakamega senator Kwalwale are set to lead the troops. In Eastern, Ruto’s troops will be led by Isiolo woman representative Rehema Jaldesa, Kitui South MP Rachael Nyamai, Meru senator Mithika Linturi and his Tharaka Nithi counterpart Kithure Kindiki.
Others set for big seats include Narok woman representative Soipan Tuya and Nyaribari Chache MP Richard Tongi. Former Agriculture Cabinet secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri is also expected to fold his new party, The Service Party, to join the new outfit. In Nairobi, Ruto is planning to give embattled Governor Mike Sonko the torch to lead the troops. In Coast, Ruto plots to have Taveta MP Naomi Shaban and woman representative Lydia Haika occupy key seats alongside Malindi MP Aisha Jumwa. Former woman representative, Joyce Lay is also said to be warming to Ruto’s camp.
Others earmarked for plum posts include Nyali MP Mohammed Ali and Lungalunga’s Khatib Mwashetani. In Kisii, one of the senior posts will go to deputy governor Joash Maangi. Initially, the deputy president wanted Nyaribari Masaba MP Ezekiel Machogu and his Bonchari counterpart John Oyioka to take key seats but they have developed cold feet after being coerced by the state operatives to denounce him. In North-Eastern, Ruto wants Duale to lead the troops. Duale is sitting on the edge after Kieni MP Kanini Kega collected over 120 signatures from MPs to impeach him. It is just a matter of time before he is kicked out. Ruto
Joho works on Coast 2022 lineup – Weekly Citizen
Mombasa governor Hassan Joho has renewed his war against Coast elected leaders who are perceived to be supportive of William Ruto’s 2022 Presidential bid. Currently, Kwale Governor Salim Mvurya is under siege from hostile MCAs suspected to be under instructions of Joho through county speaker Sammy Ruwa.
Ruwa has been a longtime Joho sidekick and has also acted as his legal adviser in the past. He has been fronted for governor seat twice but rejected. He is speaker for a second term. Towards the end of Mvurya’s first term, he has been a Ruto man. He has no time for Joho, insisting Kwale is not an extension of Mombasa county. In the last general elections, Joho had vowed to ensure Mvurya was defeated at the ballot. But this was never to be after the Mombasa governor fell out with Chirau Mwakwere who was a sure bet against Mvurya on the then popular ODM ticket.
After Mwakwere bolted out of ODM to Wiper, Joho turned to little known Issa Chipera as party candidate. Chipera literally became minced meat for Mvurya who easily beat him and made a comeback on a Jubilee ticket. Mvurya is grooming his deputy Fatuma Achani to succeed him in the next general election but observers say this is a tall order. Joho on the other hand is reportedly pushing Crop Development PS Hamad Boga for the Kwale seat against Mvurya’s candidate and Mwakwere. Another Ruto man on Joho’s radar is Kaloleni MP Paul Katana. Recently, the legislator was discharged as a member of the parliamentary investment committee in actions said to have the Mombasa governor’s hand.
Ironically, Katana was Joho’s PA when he served as Kisauni MP. But it appears other than fighting Katana for aligning himself with Ruto, he never wanted him to be MP in the first place. In the 2013 general election when Katana first contested and lost to little known Gunga Mwinga, there were allegations that ODM insiders had rigged him out. Currently, Joho is said to be financing the political activities of Mwinga to undermine Katana in the constituency. Katana has said severally that his cooperation with Ruto is because of the handshake between Raila Odinga and President Uhuru Kenyatta. “I’m a loyal member of ODM with full respect to my party leader. I also support the handshake and that is why I have been working with DP Ruto to further development in my constituency,” the legislator was quoted as saying.
He has also said his cooperation with Ruto is not for selfish reasons but for the benefit of his constituents. He says the DP has presided over high profile funds drives towards public projects in his constituency. The MP says some of the people fighting him have never assisted Kaloleni to move forward but wants leaders who can bootlick them.“I’m independent-minded and I work for the interest of my people who elected me and have no time for sycophancy,” Katana says. Mohammed Ali of Nyali constituency and a close ally of the DP is another one whom Joho is scheming against. He is pushing his cousin Said Abdalla aka Saido against the Jicho Pevu.
Jicho Pevu’s recent rising political profile after he filed a motion to impeach transport CS James Macharia over chaos at Mombasa port has alarmed the Joho camp. In spite of the rejection of the motion by Speaker Justin Muturi, Ali has become a hero in Mombasa. Last week, pro-Joho Mombasa MPs led by Mvita’s Abdulswamad Nassir were doing damage control. They toured the port and pleaded with the KPA management to put out a notice affirming that usage of SGR for containers upcountry was optional. This was meant to cool the heat against them after residents began collecting signatures to recall them for failing to support Jicho Pevu motion. Another Joho political foe Aisha Jumwa of Malindi constituency is politically wounded and the Mombasa governor no longer cares what she does or says. The Malindi MP’s self-inflicted woes have dimmed her 2022 Kilifi governor bid.
Fresh political formation in Siaya ahead of 2022 – Weekly Citizen
There are plans afoot to drop Alego Usonga MP Samuel Atandi from a leading role in Senator James Orengo gubernatorial campaign team. Observers point that the surprising decision was reached after it became clear that the controversial legislator was no longer appealing to the majority of voters.
There were earlier reports of an inside analysis conducted within Siaya senator campaign inner circle that hinted the disadvantages of trusting the MP with a major role yet he was also facing stiff opposition from notable politicians in the region. The development debate comes hot on the heels of a video that went viral showing the evidently intoxicated legislator dancing suggestively during a house party attended by women, as his Gem counterpart Elisha Odhiambo cheered. Weekly Citizen has established that political formations are already regrouping in Siaya ahead of 2022 general election and a section of political leaders including top ODM party officials from Alego Usonga are not happy with Atandi’s quick move to front Senator Orengo for the county’s governorship.
Area governor Cornell Rasanga has confronted the lawmaker on a number of occasions describing his early campaigns in support of Orengo as a lack of respect for his office. The protest by the governor sparked off an anti-Atandi wave as he was immediately joined by a host of formidable politicians from Alego Usonga in castigating the MP accused of overstepping his political mandate. The local ODM party leadership led by Alego Usonga branch chairman John Orwenjo, and secretary Paul Jura reaffirmed that the party had crowned Rasanga as their bona fide patron and it was, therefore, his duty to offer political direction on matters regarding his successor. The Orengo-led group which also brings together Gem MP Elisha Odhiambo and his Rarieda counterpart Otiende Amollo has been roundly accused of leading early full-scale political activities at the expense of development.
MCAs chairman Sylvester Madialo warned Atandi to stop creating confusion among voters, adding he should hold his horse and wait for the party whistle to be blown or prepare to equally lose his seat at the ballot. The leaders including Township MCA Obiero Otare, Vincent Odawa (North Alego), Judy Okumu (West Alego), Joseph Mboha (South East Alego), and Winnie Otieno (nominated) have loudly questioned how Atandi would deliver for Orengo when he is standing on a politically shaky ground. It is claimed that the Siaya senator blocked Atandi from using his chopper to escape from a crowd that turned rowdy during a food distribution to flood victims in his constituency. It is reported that trouble started after the MP barred Usonga ward MCA Madialo from addressing his voters after the food distribution. People with disabilities who had attended the event reportedly bayed for his blood after he gave them a paltry sh100 prompting Orengo to deny the lawmaker a chopper ride in fear that associating with him would jeopardize his 2022 governorship bid.
Rogue Kisumu NGO’s money minting gimmicks – Weekly Citizen
Various stakeholders and residents of Kisumu county have called upon Nyanza regional police commander Noah Mwivanda and his DCI counterpart Daniel Kipsoi, to investigate the activities of the chairman of an NGO called Magnum Environment Network Michael Nyaguti. The NGO, it is claimed, is a briefcase one with no donor funding surviving fully on extortion and threats. By last week, a victim was planning to institute private criminal charges against the NGO.
They are accusing Nyaguti of extortion and blackmail of people under the guise of encroaching on water catchment areas and flouting environmental laws failure of which he always resorts to going to courts as an interested party of the said social vice. One of the victims narrated that sometimes back, he was developing rental houses near Lake Victoria and had been given all the required documents from the county, Nema, and all relevant authorities to commence his work only for Nyaguti to appear menacing at the site with a group of people he called officials of Magnum Environment Network accompanied by some people who looked like police officers who demanded that I show them documents in regard to what I was doing. Most developers ranging from real estate to hospitable industries are saying that they are really undergoing rough times in the hands of the said Nyaguti who on most occasions is accompanied by some rogue police officers who intimidate and threaten their respective targets with arrests. The said Nyaguti had sometimes back attempted to extort Sh5 million each from former governors Evans Kidero and Jack Ranguma, together with a senior leading civil servant under the guise that they had bought land which should have been part of Lake Victoria.
When the trio was adamant that they would not give him any money, he sued them saying they had encroached on wetlands. The same Nyaguti also sued the Kisumu county government and Nyanza Golf Club which he accused of reclaiming the wetland at the mouth of River Kisat without convening a public participatory forum, as part extortion antics but his bid has fallen on deaf ears. He had also sued Kenya Ports Authority, Kisumu after the parastatal had ordered beach management units out of its land after collecting thousands of shillings from the said victims. Recently together with other activists, they stormed Western offices of Kenya Wildlife Service demanding that they investigate a ring of cartels believed to be working in cahoots with officers to defraud victims of wildlife attacks of their compensation. After his request was rejected, he called a meeting in Kisumu with some of the victims who had not been paid and tried to convince them to give him the power of attorney so that he could press them for their payment. Efforts to get Nyaguti’s comments were fruitless while a senior KWS officer said that they have a clear policy on how KWS compensates. “KWS has no agreement with anyone to peruse payments,” he said.