Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga are setting up a new team for the 2022 presidential elections that is fashioned along the 2007 Pentagon team. It is on these grounds to control Jubilee say Uhuru is rooting out those allied to deputy president William Ruto. Pentagon was headed by Raila as its presidential candidate, and its other members included Musalia Mudavadi, William Ruto, Joe Nyagah, Najib Balala and later Charity Ngilu. Raila has been holding meetings with his people to find a winning formula for the 2022 polls. It is against this background that ODM chairman John Mbadi has ruled out the possibility that the coalition between the Jubilee party, Kanu and Chama cha Mashinani will negatively affect the close relationship between Uhuru and Raila.
Mbadi who was responding to the turmoil inside the Jubilee Party said that the merger will instead strengthen the handshake which brought together Uhuru and Raila after the divisive 2017 general election. However, other ODM insiders told this newspaper that Raila was holding consultative meetings with different stakeholders on how he is going to approach the 2022 presidential polls, and one of the issues under discussion is for him to assemble a team like the 2007 Pentagon that had representatives from different parts of the country. Currently, Mombasa governor Hassan Joho has emerged as Raila’s point man in the Coast region together with his Taita Taveta counterpart, Granton Samboja. Samboja, who was the first to dismiss Ruto presidential ambitions, claiming he is answerable to Uhuru and Raila.
Farah Maalim has been identified as his foot soldier in Northern Kenya, Governor Wycliffe Oparanya remains his key supporter in Western, in Ukambani governors Alfred Mutua and Charity Ngilu are said to be in his camp. In Central Kenya, Health cabinet secretary Mutahi Kagwe has gained popularity in Raila’s corner. In Rift Valley, Raila is said to have activated his close confidantes and they are working with Kanu leader Gideon Moi to check Ruto in Rift Valley. Gideon will be part of the pentagon. This strategy is similar to the one Raila applied in forming the National Super Alliance ahead of the 2017 general election.NASA consisted of Raila (ODM), Mudavadi (ANC), Kalonzo Musyoka (Wiper), Moses Wetang’ula (Ford Kenya) and the newest member, former Bomet governor Isaac Rutto (CCM). Now Raila says Nasa is dead hence the revival of another Pentagon.
The opposition game plan emerged as the Nasa finally said it would announce its presidential flag bearer later and when the time came, Raila was declared as the Nasa presidential candidate. From the three-man Coalition for Reforms and Democracy that faced Uhuru in 2013, the opposition morphed into Nasa. Raila said that with Rutto’s membership, Nasa has gained a new general, particularly for “our battle to protect and preserve devolution”. The 2007 Pentagon ran a well-oiled political machine that nearly annihilated retired president Mwai Kibaki and his PNU brigade. Raila announced that when they hit the road, their campaign machine will be like no other. But the Nasa chiefs keen to exploit the suspense for political mileage once again put off announcing their ticket. After weeks of heated exchange between Nasa affiliate parties over who would fly the Nasa presidential banner, the principals decided to extinguish the flames of speculation by settling on Raila.
It is emerging that the fight for the Rift Valley bloc ahead of the 2022 presidential race has taken a new dimension with the entry of former president Daniel Moi powerbrokers and tycoons. Rift Valley powerbrokers and tycoons that include David Langat, Gideon Moi, Joshua Chepkwony of Jamii Telecom, Joshua Kulei of Sovereign Group, Zedekiah Bundotich Kiprop aka Buzeki and Silas Simwatwo of Amaco Insurance have come together to change the political landscape in the region. They are also working with veteran politicians like Henry Koskei, Sally Koskey, former governor Rutto, MPs Joshua Kutunny (Cherangany) and Alfred Keter (Nandi Hills), Franklin Bett, Musa Sirma among others. The newfound rapport between disgruntled politicians and businessmen in Rift Valley is based on fear of the possibility of being sidelined by DP Ruto.
The fallout between Rift Valley tycoons and DP Ruto is said to be linked to denying them lucrative business deals during Jubilee’s first time as the DP favoured Chinese companies instead. Langat is among several leaders from Rift Valley who in recent times have expressed their displeasure by pro-Ruto allied leaders popularly known as Tanga Tanga team. Those leaving the DP’s camp are blaming his close allies, accusing them of arrogance and disrespect. The lead team now behind the agenda to tame DP Ruto is said to be reaching out to all Rift Valley politicians and businessmen who were frustrated by the DP when he enjoyed good relations with Uhuru. Elgeyo-Marakwet county governor Alex Tolgos is among key politicians they have recruited in their camp. This follows a previous announcement by Governor Tolgos that he was leaving the DP’s team in search of a more “accommodating” camp.
Tolgos who has had a longrunning personal battle with Elgeyo-Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen, revealed he had made the decision not to join the Tanga Tanga team, which he described as being “full of insults and arrogance”. Tolgos has maintained that he was not happy with the way those close to Ruto were treating other leaders from the region. Murkomen is one of the closest allies of the DP and a key member of the Tanga Tanga team. Buzeki has also ditched the Ruto camp citing frustration by those close to the DP. Although he is yet to declare his next destination, there are reports that Buzeki could join Chama Cha Mashinani founded of Isaac Rutto. The exit of Buzeki from Ruto’s camp famously known as Tanga Tanga paints a nasty picture of the emerging political supremacy wars in Rift valley.
In Uasin Gishu County, the home turf of DP Ruto, only Soy MP Caleb Kositany and Kapsaret counterpart Oscar Sudi are associated with the Tanga Tanga team while almost all elected leaders have either disowned the camp or have decided to take a back seat. Governor Jackson Mandago and Senator Margaret Kamar have not been seen in public for some time now associating with Tanga Tanga team, despite having been linked to the camp earlier on. Moiben MP Silas Tiren has openly differed with Ruto over maize farmers’ predicaments. Last year, Governor Mandago expressed his desire to reconcile with ODM leader Raila Odinga, an indication that he supports the handshake between Uhuru Kenyatta and the ODM boss. In a deliberate effort to lay the ground for the looming political battle, Gideon, Buzeki and Langat known for their sizeable financial war chest, are planning for mass defections from Jubilee to Kanu and CCM.