William Ruto and his allies have finally settled on United Democratic Alliance as their political vehicle in next year’s general elections.
Although for now it would be unconstitutional for the DP to form another party being a member of Jubilee, his allies have mooted a strategy to form a party that will have affiliate entities ahead of the general elections. This is informed by the fact that going by the Kenyan political history, it is hard for a single party to win the presidential elections. However, insiders in Ruto’s camp, commonly known as Team Tangatanga, believe UDA will not have affiliate parties in what it is believed to be Ruto’s strongholds.
Among the regions where UDA will not look for affiliate parties are the vast Rift Valley region, Western, Eastern, Migori and Kisii. Here, it is believed the party has a strong following unlike in Luo Nyanza, parts of the Coastal region, Central Kenya, Nairobi and North Eastern. The assumption is also that Kikuyus in Central region since introduction of multiparty want to be identified by their own party, hence the need to have one of them to work with UDA.
UDA will have affiliate parties fronted by Mwangi Kiunjuri’s The Service Party of Kenya and Transformational National Alliance Party of Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria. And in the Coast region, UDA will affiliate with Kadu Asili purposely to isolate the Mijikenda community from what is belied to be people from outside the coastal region, especially those of Asian and Arab origin. The Mijikenda feel sidelined in leadership positions by their monied neighbours and that is why in the recent Msambweni by-elections, the Mijikenda led by Kwale governor Salim Mvurya made a protest vote against outsiders led by Mombasa governor Ali Hassan Joho.
Kadu, a party that merged with Kanu in the early years of independence has roots among members of the Mijikenda community. It is only that it has been recalled Kadu Asili. Impeccable sources confided that Garissa Township MP Aden Duale will spearhead the party in North Eastern region. It is also expected that Bonnie Khalwale, Kimilili MP Didmus Barasa and his Sirisia counterpart John Waluke will be UDA faces to checkmate ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi and Ford Kenya’s Moses Wetang’ula in Western. Mudavadi and Wetang’ula have entered a marriage of convenience after ODM leader Raila Odinga betrayed his Nasa Alliance counterparties by choosing to work with Uhuru Kenyatta in what is commonly known as the Handshake.
It is on this background that UDA is planning a major scoop on the Western region vote since voters in the area lost confidence in ODM and now Jubilee. The Gusii region has been on the radar of political observers following Ruto’s increasing forays into the twin counties of Kisii and Nyamira. The visits and their frequency cemented the view that Ruto is aiming to consolidate the region’s support ahead of the 2022 elections.
Historically, Gusiiland has been considered one of the swing vote regions save for 2002 when they voted almost to a man of son of the soil, former powerful minister Simeon Nyachae then gunning for the presidency.
In Gusiiland, it will be tough bearing in mind the results of the 2017 general elections. The region is now polarised politically and does not put their vote in basket. That is why Charles Nyachae will be given a powerful seat in the party to bring voters from the region together. It is this concept that in 1992, the squabbling and political machinations in the original Ford, which led to the split, gave then Daniel arap Moi to easily retain power. In the subsequent elections, the opposition was highly polarised with many parties sponsoring candidates to run for the presidency.
But when opposition leaders came together under the umbrella of Narc in 2002, it saw Mwai Kibaki ride to State House easily. The culture in Central is also complex and Uhuru’s succession politics revolving around the Mt Kenya area will see different parties emerge for they are diehard voters who do not support the ODM leader. In 1992, Kenneth Matiba formed Ford and Kibaki had DP. Kibaki later in 2007 formed PNU and Uhuru formed TNA in 2012.
This format of forming alliances is the winning trend, which UDA wants to exhaust with the believe that once Uhuru calls it quits, Jubilee will become moribund. Sources say since Raila has on many occasions frustrated, betrayed and conned all those who made alliances with him in successive elections including late Wamalwa Kijana, Kibaki, Mudavadi, Wetang’ula, Kalonzo Musyoka among others, ODM will field a 2022 presidential candidate as a single party.
It is said leaders of other political parties do not trust the ODM leader and that Raila is hoping for endorsement for president by Uhuru to win the forthcoming election, which will be an uphill task since Uhuru does not have political say in Mt Kenya region anymore. That is why UDA wants to forge early alliances with like-minded parties to send Raila to Bondo for good. The UDA team has crafted what they call a people-driven strategy. Former Machakos senator Johnson Muthama says they are applying an “Ujamaa-style strategy,” which involves working from the village-level upwards to the national level.
In the wider scheme, the party has expanded its leadership in a list to be unveiled soon. They include party leader, deputy party leader, national chairman, national vice chairman, secretary general, national treasurer deputy national treasurer, deputy secretary general, organising secretary, executive director, director of elections and director of communication. Others are position for women, youth and the physically challenged.