Deputy President William Ruto’s decision to dare the “system” is one of his new campaign tactics, his allies say.
Keen to use the realisation that he is going to be the outsider in the 2022 election to his advantage, Dr Ruto is seeking to alter his message – shifting from being President Uhuru Kenyatta’s principal assistant to a man running against Kenya’s established dynasties.
“The easiest way for anyone to lose a presidential election is to be a candidate of the so-called system,” Tharaka-Nithi Senator Kithure Kindiki said Wednesday.
Prof Kindiki added that Kenya’s history is littered with failures of projects backed by the establishment.
“The system backed Uhuru Kenyatta against a popular Mwai Kibaki in 2002 and lost. In 2007, it was behind Kibaki, forcing a short-lived narrow win. A coalition government had to be formed,” he said.
“An attempt by the system to force Musalia Mudavadi on Kenyans ended terribly in 2013.”
Jubilee Deputy Secretary-General Caleb Kositany said the Ruto team has the people behind it.
“The real deep state is the people. A majority will vote for change now that Ruto is proving to be the one to help the down-trodden,” the Soy MP said.
Leaders allied to Dr Ruto are excited about “a big boy who is just about to join our camp”.
“We are going to shake Kenya’s political landscape next year,” a lawmaker who did not wish to be named said.
Elgeyo-Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen said the Ruto camp has the numbers and “fate”.
“Every time a popular leader has stood with the people, the system has lost,” he said.
Interior PS Karanja Kibicho said the “deep state” is a creation of people who do not understand what they are saying.
“There is no deep state. The government is structured in a manner everybody can see,” Dr Kibicho said in a radio interview.
Arguing that the DP has people in government, including security organs, political analyst Herman Manyora said his path to the presidency has taken a different approach.
“Ruto’s strategy is to sell the ‘hustler’ narrative and play the victim. In dealing with Mr Kenyatta and Mt Kenya, he will add the betrayal card,” the University of Nairobi don said.
National Assembly Minority Whip Junet Mohamed described as irresponsible Dr Ruto’s claims of deep state.
“He should tell everybody what this thing is. Kenyans don’t know what he is talking about,” Mr Mohamed said in his office Wednesday.
Reported by Patrick Lang’at, Ibrahim Oruko, Onyango K’Onyango and Justus Ochieng