Talk of the presidency being in Rift Valley not outside, eyeing the Kalenjin vote and fear of ethnic violence is the major reason majority of the elected MPs in Nakuru county are backing William Ruto for the top seat in 2022.
For now, elected legislators in the county are fighting to catch Ruto’s eye due to the influence the DP enjoys in the region.
The legislators have repeatedly pledged to support Ruto’s 2022 presidential bid, saying he has remained loyal to Uhuru Kenyatta. According to them, with Ruto being president, they will be power brokers at State House.
Those supporting the DP include Francis Kimani of Molo, Charity Kathambi, Njoro, Martha Wangari, Gilgil, Joseph Tonui, Kuresoi South, Moses Cheboi, Kuresoi North, Samuel Gachobe, Subukia, Samuel Arama, Nakuru Town West, David Gikaria, Nakuru Town East and Jayne Kihara, Naivasha. Arama is a Kisii and defected to Jubilee aware of the Kikuyu, Kalenjin vote bloc added to that of Kisii brethren would help him win.
According to Justice Phillip Waki Report, Nakuru was the epicentre of violence during 2007 postpoll chaos when Kikuyu militias supported by members of the outlawed mungiki sect and angry displaced youth armed with pangas, knives and petrol bombs attacked Kaptembwa, Kwa Ronda, Mwariki, Free Area and Kiti estates to flush out ‘enemy’ communities.
Kikuyu dominated areas area of Kaptembwa, Mwariki and Githima all with substantive vote bloc were mostly affected.
Majority of the elected leaders in Nakuru, apart from Raymond Moi (Rongai), are in Ruto’s Tanga Tanga team. Raymond backs his brother, Baringo senator Gideon Moi for the presidency.
However, Wangari, Kihara and Kinuthia have now adopted a wait-and-see attitude as they study the political developments in Mount Kenya region before making the next move.
Nakuru senator Susan Kihika leads the troops supporting Ruto in the region. She has been close to the DP since her days as Nakuru county speaker.
But the most vocal supporter of Ruto is Bahati MP Kimani Ngunjiri who recently had to fight off claims that he was paid by the DP to criticise Uhuru’s development record in Central region.
Ngunjiri maintains Mt Kenya region has an obligation to return a hand to Ruto for supporting Uhuru in his two terms.
Last year, he was arrested for leading protestors to Nakuru Town from the Railways Grounds clad in a white T-shirt printed ‘Mimi Ni Mshenzi, Je Wewe?’ and branded ‘Team Washenzi’ this in reference to an insult on Central Kenya leaders by Uhuru who called them shenzi for saying that Uhuru had not developed Central.
Ngunjiri started the ‘Mshenzi Movement’ in protest of Uhuru’s response to criticism from Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria over claims of underdevelopment in the Central Kenya region which caused a political storm.
The outspoken MP described the movement as a vehicle tailored to pile pressure on Uhuru to honour his 2013 pre-election pact to support Ruto once he completes the agreed on two terms in office.
Ngunjiri is at war with Kihika as they battle to win Ruto influence is concerned.
Ngunjiri threatened to mobilise his fellow MPs to impeach the head of state over what he described as the president’s failure to rein in on his ally, David Murathe, who had vowed to move to the Supreme Court to block Ruto from ascending to power in 2022.