Isaac Ruto: CCM will play bigger role in 2022

Former Bomet governor Isaac Ruto during an interview withThe Standard. {David Njaaga, Standard}

Former Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto is gearing for a comeback to the political scene after losing in the last General Election.

Ruto believes that his Chama Cha Mashinani (CCM) party will play a key role in determining who becomes president during the 2022 General Election.

The former governor notes that the strategy is to revamp CCM to make it popular not only in Rift Valley region but across the country.

Analysts say Ruto’s move is informed by the current political happenings –revolving around the the handshake between President Uhuru Kenyatta and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga, the anticipated split in the ruling Jubilee Party and the growing influence of Baringo Senator Gideon Moi.

“If you recall sometime in November last year, a high-powered delegation led by Deputy President William Ruto’s allies visited the former governor at his Tumoi home in Bomet. This move might have made Ruto realise that he still an important figure in the politics of Rift Valley despite losing an elective position,” says Philip Chebunet, a political science lecturer at the University of Eldoret.

Democratic space

Asked whether CCM has a political working arrangement with the DP, the former governor maintains that he pledged to support President Kenyatta in September 2018. “That agreement we had at  Kapkatet still stands until President Kenyatta completes his term,” he says adding that on supporting DP Ruto that has to wait until Jubilee Party picks who will succeed President Kenyatta.

The former governor dismisses claims that he was in discussions with the DP over the sale of CCM saying the party was formed to defend and strengthen devolution as well as agitate for the rights of mwananchi.

“Why are people talking about CCM having been sold to William Ruto just because he came to Chepalungu? Why would he (DP) buy a party when he has his own Party?” he posed. The DP and the former governor have crossed paths on numerous occasions in the past.

In 2015, their relations soured after Ruto who was the chair of Council of Governors (CoG) pushed for increased allocation to counties.

The fallout led to the formation of CCM that he used to seek re-election in the 2017 General Election. The former CoG chair, who was among NASA principals in the August elections, lost to Jubilee’s Joyce Laboso.

Insiders believe that the DP is keen on consolidating his support after he send emissaries to Ruto. There was also talk that the DP Ruto was lobbying to have the former governor appointed to the National Government. But he has downplayed the issue saying his focus now is on revamping CCM.

“There many rumours being peddled by some politicians and CCM supporters should be ignore them. CCM is revamping and is focused on being relevant and influential in 2022,” he says.

The former governor also wants to push for review of the Constitution ahead of the 2022 polls.

“We be seeking the adoption of an hybrid system (semi presidential/semi parliamentary) that fuses the functions of the president and Parliament,” Ruto explains.

He proposes that losers in the presidential election be nominated to either the Senate or National Assembly. The former governor also wants leaders of political parties to be considered for nomination to Parliament to broaden the democratic space.

“We need to make our democracy stronger because a political party might send members to Parliament who are later compromised to support certain agendas that are not in line with the political party that sponsored them to Parliament. The party leaders must have a leadership position inside the National Assembly to ensure that MPs elected on the party ticket adhere to the political ideals of the party,” he says.

Ruto insists that allocation to county governments should be 40 per cent of the latest audited accounts. “CCM will be seeking increase in allocation to 45 per cent be anchored in law.