Details have emerged of the dilemma facing Deputy President William Ruto in choosing the most suitable running mate for his 2022 bid with 12 influential and seasoned politicians floated.
Soy MP Caleb Kositany recently confirmed the dilemma stating that “it is not a walk in the park” with reports indicating that a team of DP Ruto’s most trusted allies have embarked on a mission to select the best running mate with intense lobbying in the background.
However, the announcement may not come out soon due to concerns that those who miss out on the opportunity of being Ruto’s running mate may gang up with his opponents and scuttle his 2022 bid. The team also banks on the BBI recommendations sailing through to have more slots to allocate those who miss the running mate position.
Contrary to popular belief that he is spoilt for choice with several lining up, the second in command is torn between picking a running mate from President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Mt Kenya base so as to retain the vote block and appeasing other regions that are also eyeing the slot.
The Mount Kenya headache
In Mount Kenya, Mwangi Kiunjuri has been fronted as a possible option with Nyeri Woman Representative Rahab Mukami stating that “Apart from Meru Governor Kiraitu Murungi, and Martha Karua, there is no other politician who can challenge Kiunjuri in terms of experience. He was unfairly kicked out of government by his distractors who were unhappy because of his rising star”.
Also eyeing the slot is a host of politicians from the Meru region, led by Meru Governor Kiraitu Murungi and Speaker Justin Muturi who was recently endorsed as the next Mount Kenya kingpin and who is still allied to President Uhuru Kenyatta’s faction of Jubilee.
Experts are however opposed to selecting a running mate from the Mount Kenya region to avoid entrenching the “two communities in the Presidency” narrative in which the President and the DP comes from Mount Kenya and Rift Valley that could potentially sink his bid.
Since independence, the presidency has always been held by politicians from Mount Kenya and the Rift Valley (Former Presidents Jomo Kenyatta, Daniel Moi, Mwai Kibaki and current President Uhuru Kenyatta).
Dilemma in Western
After DP Ruto’s successful charm offensive in Western Kenya where he has won key support, several politicians are lined up for the slot.
With the region maintaining that time is ripe for one of their own to ascend to the presidency (or at least become the DP), Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya, Bonny Khalwale, CS Eugene Wamalwa and Senate Speaker Ken Lusaka are among the front runners.
A setback is that DP Ruto is keen on having somkeone who will add some value to the joint ticket and must have substantial voting bloc, something that none of the politicians from Western allied to the Tanga Tanga brigade has.
Ukambani and Coast dilemma
With several governors from Coast and Ukambani serving their secoind and final terms and maintaining that they are now ripe for national leadership, DP Ruto has an uphil task in this area that could make or break his bid.
Governors Alfred Mutua (Machakos) Amason Kingi (Kilifi) and Salim Mvurya (Kwale), Hassan Joho (Mombasa) and Kivutha Kibwana (Makueni) emerging as the front runners from the region.
A concern is that none of these politicians commands the same following Ruto had when he backed President Kenyatta in 2013 and 2017. As a result, the team is reportedly considering bringing on board at least one prominent opposition figure with reports indicating that Kalonzo Musyoka is the easy target who could help DP Ruto realise his 2022 dream.