Sunday, September 25, 2011

Ruto team plot to lock out Raila party in key counties

By Isaac OngiriEldoret North MP William Ruto wants to team up with Trade Minister Chirau Mwakwere and Saboti MP Eugene Wamalwa to lock Prime Minister Raila Odinga out of counties ODM dominated in 2007.
After solidifying his alliance with Mwakwere and Wamalwa, Ruto’s team wants to negotiate a pre-election deal with the PNU Alliance to avoid a runoff with the PM.
Ruto and his allies have worked on a plan targeting more than 30 counties to strengthen his bargain for substantial influence within the G7.
The group plans to work on a pre-election sharing of Government positions to convince the alliance to merge forces in the first round of elections.
A source said some of the positions to be shared out, according to the strength of each partner, include Deputy President, leader of the majority party in the House, Speaker of the Senate and the National Assembly and positions of Cabinet secretaries.
According to the formation, Ruto will personally take charge of delivering 15 counties in the Rift Valley while Mwakwere, who is said to have agreed to be his running mate, has been put in charge of six counties at the Coast.
The PNU Alliance comprises Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka, Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and Internal Security Minister George Saitoti.
Wamalwa and Lugari MP Cyrus Jirongo will take charge of Bungoma and Kakamega counties while former South Mugirango MP Omingo Magara is to take charge of Kisii and Nyamira.
The Ruto group has enlisted current and former MPs to handle North Eastern Province, with former Assistant minister Aden Dualle set to take charge.
Political baseTo dismantle the PM’s networks at the Coast, Ruto and Mwakwere are planning a tour of Kilifi, Ganze, Kinango, Vanga, Ukanda, Kwale and Kaloleni.
In an interview with The Standard on Sunday, Ruto revealed he would dismantle the political bases that earned the PM votes in 2007.
"We are putting down machinery that will ensure victory is confirmed without need for a rerun," Ruto said.
The former Higher Education minister said he was teaming up with strong allies to ensure his presidential bid gets a boost in Eastern, North Eastern, Rift Valley and Coastal regions.
Ruto said UDM had brought in more than 50 council chairmen and mayors to drive its agenda in the grassroots.
"We are assembling a team of strong men and women to co-ordinate our campaigns and another group with substantial influence in the counties to run as governors, senators and MPs," he said.
Mwakwere, who spoke from New York where he is on an official trip, confirmed he is on a working relationship with Ruto.
"It is true I am working very closely with Ruto and together with several other people," Mwakwere said.
He added: "We shall be having tours next weekend."
Ruto hopes to use Mwakwere’s religious background to appeal to the Muslim nation.
The Matuga legislator, a career diplomat, is also expected to play a major role in boosting the Eldoret North MP’s international connections.
And Mwakwere said they had so far succeeded in cutting a working deal with Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and his Tanzania counterpart Jakaya Kikwete.
Ruto and Mwakwere are also expected to feature at the homecoming of Al-Amin Kimathi planned for Meru in the coming weeks to anchor his relationship with Muslims.
Terrorism chargesAl-Amin was released from a Ugandan prison where he was being held over terrorism charges.
Further to their plans on Wednesday, Ruto held talks with Saitoti, who has also announced he will be in the presidential race.
It is not clear what the two discussed, but sources indicated the two former foes explored ways of working together.
Ruto, former Internal Security Minister Julius Sunkuli and Jirongo are believed to have been part of the young Turks that blocked Saitoti from succeeding former President Daniel Moi after they strongly voiced support for Uhuru.
"Yes, the two met to discuss key issues including how to work towards victory in the 2012 elections," said a source.
Cherengany MP Joshua Kutuny said an elaborate plan to ensure Ruto’s UDM party spreads its tentacles beyond the Kalenjin region had been put in place.
The MP said 37 political strategists have been recruited to manage Ruto’s campaign in 37 counties.
"We are going to run a serious presidential campaign. We are now holding talks with a team from Nyanza who will connect us to that region to ensure it is not isolated," Kutuny said.
Ruto’s UDM party is also planning to hold grassroots elections in the coming months in which former National Assembly Speaker Francis Kaparo is expected to take over as chairman.

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