Deputy President William Ruto has a new set of close political advisers who are meeting regularly to strategise and execute his political moves.
The new Kitchen Cabinet, as is popularly known, was informally assembled early this year and is behind some of the DP’s major decisions and stealthy actions.
The group reviews the DP’s weekend activities and plans ahead for him. It also manages his parliamentary agenda, where his allies hold all the key positions.
Although he does not call all of them to meetings at the same time often, Ruto speaks to them individually to bounce off his plans and seek advice on various issues.
The give him strategies on how to deal with emerging political issues and coordinate responses to day-to-day debates.
“These people separately meet the DP almost on a daily basis and the DP has a lot of time for them,” said a source in Ruto’s office.
Apart from the politicians Ruto also relies a lot on his staff, including his Private Secretary Reuben Maiyo, Spokesman David Mugonyi, his deputy Emmanuel Tallam and Personal Assistant Farouk Kibet to execute his official and political undertakings.
The leader of Majority in the National Assembly has been Ruto’s close confidant since 2010 when the two teamed up to campaign against the adoption of the draft constitution during the referendum.
The Moi University-trained teacher of Economics and History decamped from Raila Odinga’s ODM with Ruto and joined UDM but their attempt to take over the party failed after months of squabbling. They formed the United Republican Party (URP) and went out on a full throat campaign, styling themselves as the party of pastoralists. As elections approached and Ruto could not take a stab at the presidency, URP formed a coalition with Uhuru Kenyatta’s TNA branded as Jubilee Alliance.
He was re-elected the Garissa Township MP and named Majority leader in the 11th Parliament. Since then he has remained one of the most vocal defenders of the Jubilee administration and the DP, with whom is close.
According to informed confidential sources, Duale has been at the centre of the planning and execution of the DP’s political strategies. He has been used to launch and respond to attacks by ODM leader Raila Odinga, where the DP himself does not want to comment.
The Senate Majority leader has become one of the the DP’s most trusted lieutenants. Ruto, we understand, likes Murkomen “because he is young, sharp and willing to take instructions”.
Their relationship blossomed during the ICC trials when the Elgeyo Marakwet Senator worked closely with lawyers and others involved in defending Ruto.
Murkomen, the leader of the Rift Valley Parliamentary group, is often dispatched to crucial functions.
For example, in March 2016, Ruto dispatched him to lead the election campaign for Senator Aaron Cheruiyot during the by-election occasioned by the appointment of Charles Keter as Energy Cabinet Secretary.
Even though Jubilee recorded a resounding win in the polls through Cheruiyot who garnered 109,358 votes against Kanu’s Paul Sang with 56,307, Ruto had to work extra hard to contain the then resurgent Kanu party led by chairman Gideon Moi. Moi had teamed up with Isaac Ruto who was then governor of Bomet and was fighting the DP.
The National Assembly Deputy Speaker’s relationship with the DP goes back to 2002 when he first unsuccessfully tried a hand in politics.
The soft-spoken lawyer not only provided legal advice to the DP over the years but also held his interests in whichever party he moved to.
His election as Deputy Speaker was part of the bargain Ruto’s side got from Uhuru once the President proposed Justin Muturi to remain Speaker. He had previously been a member of the speaker’s panel.
He manages and pushes for Ruto’s agenda in the House especially in committees where business is transacted. He is a frequent visitor at the DP’s Harambee House Annex office.
The Nakuru Senator has been very close to the DP since her days as Nakuru County Speaker. Seen as Ruto’s future candidate for Nakuru gubernatorial seat, she has been one of his most vocal champions.
One of the 40 or so children of the late politician Kihika Kimani, she left a lucrative law career in the US where she had founded the Kihika Law Firm to come back home and join politics in 2013.
Besides batting for Ruto in other political errands, Kihika’s main role is to assist Murkomen in the Senate and use her networks in county assemblies to push for the DP’s issues.
The self-declared General is the first MP with Kalenjin roots to win a seat in Nairobi. Ruto worked hard to ensure that he won the Lang’ata constituency, effectively becoming the DP’s MP in Karen. Until the last election, Korir worked in Ruto’s office as the secretary for youth affairs.
He takes care of party affairs in Jubilee and any other party that his boss has interest in. Word has it that if the DP is to pick, register or takeover a new party he would be the man assigned to do the job.
A graduate of the University of Nairobi, Korir was the founding chairman of URP and before then the Executive Director of UDM.
In his new role, he is also the link between the DP and various youthful organizations like university associations having previously worked with youth groups under Uwezo Fund, Youth Enterprise Development Fund, the National Youth Service and the Kenya National Volunteers Programme.
The first term Soy MP is the younger brother of the late Stephen Kositany, son-in-law of former President Daniel arap Moi who perished in a road accident. He had married Jennifer Moi. Kositany was Ruto’s candidate for the constituency curved out of the one he represented previously, Eldoret North, in 2013.
Seen a sober, mature and well-grounded, Kositany has earned the DP’s trust as the man to send to handle stormy situations according to sources.
The Kericho senator has lately become a vocal member of the DP’s inner circle. The youthful second-term senator is a frequent visitor to Ruto’s office and his main role is to propagate and defend the DP’s positions in TV and radio talk shows. He is a regular panelist in NTV.
The Moi University graduate of Marketing and communication was until his Senate debut in 2016, a businessman running a chain of enterprises including a hotel, tour firm and cleaning company. -The Star