When over a dozen members of the county assemblies from Kakamega and Vihiga recently visited Deputy President William Ruto at his Karen home in Nairobi Amani National Congress (ANC) threatened them with sanctions as the 2022 presidential hopefuls accuse each other of employing dirty tricks to gain advantage over their opponents ahead of the poll.
ANC Secretary-General Barack Muluka gave the MCAs a timeline to show cause why they should not be expelled for advancing the ambitions of an opponent.
Party leader Musalia Mudavadi has trained his eyes on the presidency and his allies, keen to lock out rival parties from their perceived strongholds, view Mr Ruto’s tactics as “provocative and dirty”.
“It is Ruto’s way of destabilising other parties because you realise it was not just ANC MCAs who went there, there were some from ODM.
“The idea here is to destabilize his potential opponents, and MCAs are an easy prey when it comes to handouts. There is nothing ideological about it,” Mr Mudavadi’s spokesman Kibisu Kabatesi said.
But as a matter of strategy, Mr Ruto’s men maintain that their candidate is such an attractive brand that politicians from rival parties are falling over each other to get his attention.
“The DP is far ahead of the pack. Going by our own internal projections, he is commanding more than 40 percent support across the country, leaving the remaining percentage for more than 10 other aspirants to share. His chances of succeeding President Uhuru Kenyatta can only get better,” National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale, who is a close ally of the DP, said.
Mr Duale also said they were aware of the underhand tactics the opponents were using to bring their leader down and as such they would not be caught unawares.
“You have seen them throwing dirt at the Deputy President, sponsoring opinion polls to show him as corrupt with a view to blunting his 2022 chances,” he said.
He predicted that, going forward, there would be a groundswell of such schemes.
A recent Ipsos survey showed Mr Ruto as one of the most corrupt politicians. He dismissed the poll, terming it “the handy work of (political) detractors”.
Mr Wetang’ula, alongside Mr Mudavadi and Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka, were co-principals with Mr Odinga in the Nasa coalition where the Orange party leader was the candidate and Mr Musyoka the running mate.
Mr Wetang’ula feels cheated – especially after his replacement with Mr Orengo as the Senate minority leader.
Sports Cabinet Secretary Rashid Echesa, another Ruto man, was also at it recently.
Keen to instil doubt in Mr Mudavadi’s supporters, he told Mr Mudavadi at a public gathering to forget his quest for the presidency, arguing he could not mobilise campaign resources, or match the DP’s war chest.
“If my brother Mr Mudavadi cannot raise Sh200 billion for presidential campaigns in 2022, let him forget it,” Mr Echesa said, drawing Mr Mudavadi’s fury.