The Kikuyu Council of Elders wants Deputy President William Ruto to retire together with Uhuru Kenyatta when his term expires in 2022.
Yesterday, the council’s national secretary general Peter Munga said that Ruto is part and parcel of the current presidency and should therefore prepare to exit with the Uhuru administration.
“As a Council we are very serious that he [Ruto] has to pack with Uhuru. If Uhuru has to leave in 2022, the deputy should follow suit.”
It was the clearest signal yet of the fluid nature of the DP’s support in Central Kenya, which has been sending mixed signals.
Munga said Ruto should be satisfied with his 10-year tenure as DP because he has always been vowing to give his best advice to his boss [Uhuru].
“If he has given his best, what would he be doing after 10 years? He would be obsolete,” Munga said.
The elders’ statement appeared to deepen the tension in the Jubilee Party, which exploded on Sunday after Senate Majority leader Kipchumba Murkomen, a key Ruto ally, publicly protested that officials in the presidency were undermining the DP.
Murkomen warned that Jubilee would disintegrate if the President doesn’t rein in top government officials who are out to scuttle Ruto’s 2022 presidential bid.
“Unfortunately, because these people have a responsibility on policy direction of government, we have a situation where things like policy on lifestyle audit are announced without the knowledge of anybody governing Jubilee,” Murkomen said.
Politician Simon Mbugua had alluded to a powerful team calling itself ‘Putin’, which he claimed was supporting calls for a referendum on restructuring and broadening the Executive, as part of a scheme to shortchange Ruto.
The infighting in Jubilee comes amid reports that some individuals purporting to be allied to the DP are in the process of registering another party as Plan B for 2022.
The Registrar of Political Parties Lucy Ndungu said they have received applications for the registration of two political parties this year — the United Green Movement and Grand Dream Development Party.
“We haven’t registered fully any political party but we have received applications and two have received interim certificates,” she told the Star.
However, she could not immediately disclose the interim party officials.
The Star separately established, however, that some political actors from the Rift Valley had also sought unsuccessfully to register another — Hustlers Democratic Party — whose names and symbols were rejected for bearing close resemblance to Jubilee and the disbanded URP.
The green light was eventually given to register the Party for Democratic Union, although the Star could not establish if it has any connection with the DP or his close allies.
The anti-Ruto sentiment in the Mt Kenya region has gained momentum since Uhuru shook hands and signed a unity pact with Opposition chief Raila Odinga on March 9.
The truce is credited with returning calm to the country but it has received lukewarm support from Ruto’s inner circle, which believes it has complicated his political arithmetic.
In a possible pointer to deep-seated grievances, Kikuyu Elders official Munga claimed that the DP’s share in government has been shared solely among his Kalenjin community, while the President is forced to apportion his ‘share’ with the entire country.
He warned Central Kenya politicians accompanying the DP on his political travels to stop and concentrate instead on economic development for the benefit of their constituents.