Kenya: William Ruto’s Nominations Headache Ahead of 2022

Deputy President William Ruto is facing a political headache ahead of the 2022 elections after a number of his allies showed interest in the gubernatorial and parliamentary seats in Rift Valley and Mt Kenya region, each banking on the DP to endorse them.

Already, a political battle is taking shape as Ruto troops position themselves to dethrone sitting county chiefs as well as succeed those in their final terms in Uasin Gishu, Baringo, Nandi, and Bomet — presenting the DP a hard choice on who to back.

In Uasin-Gishu, a number of the sitting Jubilee lawmakers are among those who have declared interest to succeed Governor Jackson Mandago.

Kenyan ambassador to Pakistan Julius Bitok, Nairobi County environment executive Veska Kangogo, Eldoret businessman Jonathan Bii, former TSC commissioner Cleophas Tirop and Uasin Gishu assembly chief whip David Sing’oei are angling for Mr Mandago’s seat. Soy MP Caleb Kositany and county assembly speaker David Kiplagat are also reported to be eyeing the seat.

Mr Kositany told the Nation that he is being pushed by the electorate to vie.

“It’s the people who want me to succeed Governor Mandago and we will cross that bridge when the right time comes,” he said.

In Nandi, Senator Samson Cherargei is determined to square it out with Governor Stephen Sang after the two fell out over alleged mismanagement of public funds. This is despite attempts by the DP Ruto to reconcile the duo.

Governor Sang has previously accused Senator Cherargei of attacking him in public forums instead of serving the people.

“You’ve been going around attacking me. Why don’t you use that energy to improve the lives of our people,” he said in a past interview. In turn, Mr Cherargei has accused the governor of misappropriating public resources.

Yesterday Mr Cherargei was non-committal on whether he will face Mr Sang in the polls.

A similar scenario is likely to play out in Bomet County between Governor Hillary Barchok and Senator Christopher Lang’at, both Ruto allies. The two have said they will vie for the seat on a UDA ticket, come 2022.

Kiptis cheered

Mr Barchok took over the leadership of Bomet after Joyce Laboso’s death in July 2019.

In Baringo, former Governor Benjamin Cheboi will be battling it out with current county chief Stanley Kiptis for the UDA ticket — both support the DP.

During the Ruto rally in Kabarnet on Saturday, the political rivalry between Mr Kiptis and Mr Cheboi played out as residents heckled the current governor while cheering Mr Kiptis.

The DP faces a similar tough balancing act in Nyeri, Murang’a, Kirinyaga and Kiambu, where aspirants are aligning themselves with the DP to curry favour with him.

In Murang’a, Kandara MP Alice Wahome and Senator Irungu Kang’ata, who recently rejoined the DP’s camp, are both said to be angling to replace Governor Mwangi wa Iria. It will even be a bigger dilemma for the DP if Kiharu MP Ndindi Nyoro throws his hat in the ring.

UDA has ‘its owners’

In Tharaka-Nithi, businessman Muthomi Micheni wants to unseat Chuka/Igambang’ombe MP Patrick Munene. Mr Micheni recently accused the MP of insinuating that UDA has its “owners”.

“You can’t claim that you’re assured of UDA ticket in 2022 because you’re close to DP Ruto. All the aspirants will battle it out for the ticket through transparent nominations,” Mr Micheni said.

Marimanti MCA Susan Ngugi, who is eyeing the Tharaka-Nithi Woman Rep seat, recently accused the incumbent, Ms Beatrice Nkatha, of trying to block her from accessing the DP .

In Meru, Bishop Kiogora Magambo has expressed interest in the Imenti Central seat, currently held by Kirima Ngucine, an ally of the DP.

Leaders allied to the DP have said UDA will field candidates in all regions across the country in the 2022 General Election.

Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen said they had embarked on popularising the party to ensure it wins the majority seats in the county assemblies and Parliament.

“We’ve been abused by the party we so much believed in. We will not make that mistake in coming times with UDA,” Mr Murkomen said.

Additional reporting by Alex Njeru and Gitonga Marete


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