With only 18 months left to the 2022 general elections, Deputy President William Ruto has been positioning himself as President Uhuru Kenyatta’s successor.
The second in command has been working on strategies that will see him ascend to power come 2022.
As part of the strategy, the DP has been reaping big from leaders who have been decamping from President Kenyatta’s camp to his.
Details have now emerged that a group of governors who have been leaning towards President Kenyatta’s Kieleweke wing of Jubilee Party visited the recently launched Hustler Centre in Lavington, Nairobi.
An insider intimated to a local daily that the county bosses held a closed-door meeting with the DP and his top strategists for more than an hour.
According to the source, the meeting was a closely guarded affair.
He insinuated that it is just a matter of time before they formally announce their defection to the hustler nation.
However, the source did not list the names of the County Chiefs who met DP Ruto at Hustler Centre. The Centre acts as main offices for the newly launched United Democratic Alliance (UDA) party which is linked to the DP.
Leaders allied to President Kenyatta have been recently defecting to DP Ruto’s camp.
Nominated Senator Isaac Mwaura joined Ruto’s camp and tore into the President and his family at the homecoming of Msambweni MP Feisal Bader. The DP attended the meeting.
Besieged Murang’a Senator Irungu Kang’ata on Wednesday skipped a top Jubilee meeting, triggering talk of his looming defection to DP Ruto’s camp.
Kang’ata, who had been invited to attend the meeting at Jubilee House in Pangani, Nairobi, did not show up.
The meeting was attended by Jubilee secretary general Raphael, Senate Deputy Majority leader Fatuma Dullo, National Assembly Majority leader Amos Kimunya and his deputy Jimmy Angwenyi.
National Assembly Majority Whip Emmanuel Wangwe, his deputy Maoka Maore and secretary to the Jubilee parliamentary group Adan Keynan also attended the meeting in which the party decided to pull out of three upcoming by-elections.
The no-show at the meeting – that culminated in a press conference – came a day after he reportedly rejected a push by the party honchos and President Uhuru Kenyatta’s allies to withdraw the letter to the President.
Late last year, Kang’ata shocked the nation when he penned a letter to the President discrediting BBI’s popularity in Mt Kenya region, Uhuru’s political bastion. Uhuru’s men termed the move ‘disrespectful’.
In the letter, the senator told the President that the BBI referendum might fail in the region unless Uhuru and his handshake partner ODM leader Raila Odinga change their strategy.
He affirmed the position at a press conference in Parliament on Monday despite criticism and pressure to withdraw the letter and apologise to the head of state.
He cited opposition to the expanded Executive, the involvement of provincial administrations and campaigns by former MPs as some of the issues working against the initiative.
“Let us emphasise on the soft power and art of persuasion. In my humble view, the provincial administration in BBI process should be invisible,” he said.
Sources intimated that Jubilee bigwigs hosted Kang’ata for a meeting on Tuesday evening, where he was asked to retract the letter, but he declined.
Yesterday, Tuju and Dullo confirmed Tuesday’s meeting.
Kang’ata has been one of President Uhuru’s foot soldiers and most trusted lieutenants in the Mt Kenya region.
In May last year, Uhuru influenced his election as the Senate Majority Chief Whip following a meeting at State House where senators Susan Kihika (Nakuru) and Kipchumba Murkomen (Elgeyo Marakwet) – key allies of the DP – were kicked out as Majority Chief Whip and Majority leader, respectively.
Later, Kang’ata excited key party decisions by whipping party members to among others vote out Tharaka Nithi Senator Kithure Kindiki as Senate deputy speaker.
However, his letter and skipping party meetings have triggered murmurs and talks that he was on his way out of the President’s circles.