Says former Eldoret South MP, David Koros: “ODM has intensified its campaigns in the region. This development is a source of major panic among some presidential hopefuls. In the event the PM picks a running mate from here, then it would be game over!”
However, Ruto denies being alarmed by ODM’s activities in Rift Valley.
“What some of you term as pitching tent in my backyard, was actually a campaign tour programmed a long time ago,” he says. He said it has been seven months since he last campaigned in the region. “It was a mere coincidence that it came up this week.”
Ruto argues Bett and Kosgey are lightweight politicians, “incapable of tilting the scales” in the Rift Valley. He says ODM has successfully “lied” to both they can have the deputy party leader, and running mate slots.
ODM plans tours of Salgaa, Ngata Bridge, and Nakuru town estates early today before heading to Afraha Stadium. Tomorrow, Raila will attend a church service in Kabarak, before heading to Kambi ya Moto, Muserech, Esageri, and Kambimoi before winding up with a rally in Ravine town.
Despite losing his Cabinet post in 2010 and being an ICC accused, Ruto has maintained high profile in national politics. The backbencher remains almost as visible as the PM and Deputy PM Uhuru Kenyatta, who enjoy high status and privileges in Government.
Yatta MP Charles Kilonzo describes him as a “mobiliser” who is smarter than many of his political seniors and peers. This, he says, is partly demonstrated by his choice of running mate: Cabinet minister Chirau Mwakwere, who is older than him, and higher ranking.
“One must give credit to William for being a leader who has a way with crowds,” Kilonzo says. “Despite his persistent differences with the PM, he can still go to Kisumu town and cheer up a crowd.”
There have been reports of secret meetings to talk Ruto into returning to ODM. The Standard On Saturday has established these overtures are still ongoing. Asked of the possibility of regrouping with the PM, he is evasive.
“That is not part of my brief at the moment,” he said. “My focus is to sell my candidature to Kenyans and win them to my side. Hayo mengine tutajulia huko mbele (Other concerns shall be addressed later).”