KANU re-brands aims at slashing DP Ruto’s political clout in Rift Valley

KANU leader Gideon Moi and Raila Odinga

The KANU event marks the start of a fierce battle to wrest control of the vast vote-rich Rift valley from the iron grip of deputy president William Ruto

By The Weekly Vision Online

The former ruling party KANU has re-branded into a new outfit ready for the epic duel 2022 presidential elections. KANU, therefore, becomes the first political party in the country to hold an Annual Delegates Conference ahead of the 2022 transition elections. Delegates as expected endorsed Gideon Moi as the party’s presidential flag bearer but allowed him to “negotiate” with other parties (read form a political coalition).

The colourful event held at the Bomas of Kenya was yesterday was attended by former prime minister ODM opposition leader Raila Odinga, Musalia Mudavadi and Kalonzo Musyoka.

The KANU event marks the start of a fierce battle to wrest control of the vast vote-rich Rift valley from the iron grip of deputy president William Ruto. In the 2013-2017 elections that fronted a Uhuruto ticket, almost the entire region voted for the Jubilee party.

The wide belief then was that Uhuru’s central Kenya would reciprocate support as he steps down in August 2022. But the fall-out that has seen Uhuru part ways with Ruto appears to have thrown the region into a political cauldron of sorts even as the DP remains the undisputed kingpin.

That message was widely made clear to Gideon when his home county Baringo became the only one where MCAs rejected the BBI bill that seeks to amend the 2010 new constitution.

President Kenyatta has been pushing former NASA co-principals to unite under the One Kenya Alliance (OKA) to face off with Ruto in next year’s presidential election. President Kenyatta is widely understood to be rooting for a Raila candidacy but other players seem unconvinced saying the four-time presidential contender should be the one to reciprocate their support since 2013.

After the BBI flop in the courts, Kenyatta has increasingly appeared to be running out of options as his “rebel” deputy raids his central Kenya home-turf winning one by-election after another. Ruto is widely expected to face off with Raila Odinga with both men camping in central Kenya where a critical block of swing votes is at stake as the region is not fronting any serious presidential candidate next year.

Both men have been on a charm offensive, Ruto hosting one group of “hustlers” after another, while Raila hosts elders and addresses traders from the Mount Kenya region.

Political watchers say, unlike the 2013-2017 two-horse race, 2022 could be a 3-horse race due to the central Kenya actor where voters will for the first time in decades not be putting their votes in one basket.

Musalia Mudavadi of ANC, Moses Wetangula FORD Kenya, and Kalonzo Musyoka Wiper hold critical block swing vote. This will be good news for Ruto strategists with many predicting “victory” in the morning of polling day, a fact that Kenyatta seems well aware of as he battles to save the OKA political flagship.

At any rate, the 2022 race is now gathering momentum with the critical question being how to win support in the Rift Valley and Mount Kenya vote-rich regions. Will it be achieved through re-inventing parties or selling the “political debt” gospel being spread by the Raila bandwagon?

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