Gideon rolling up sleeves for race to succeed Uhuru?

Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka and Kanu Chairman Gideon Moi during a fundraiser at Muthale Catholic Church in Kitui County last weekend. [File, Standard]
Baringo Senator Gideon Moi has been making new political inroads across the country, reviving speculation about a State House run in 2022.

Although he is yet to publicly declare his intention to succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta, Gideon’s political exploits point at one thing - the presidency.

But Kanu Secretary General Nick Salat said Gideon is only interested in uniting Kenyans in the spirit of the handshake between President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga and help the President deliver on the Big Four agenda.

“The handshake has provided us (Kanu) with a very good opportunity to unite the country, reach out to like minded leaders and help the President in achieving the Big Four agenda,” Mr Salat said.

Recently, Gideon was in Kitui County where he linked up with Wiper Party leader and former VP Kalonzo Musyoka, a key political figure who served under former President Daniel Moi as Minister for Home Affairs.

What was evident during the fundraiser is that the Kanu chairman, also son of former President Daniel arap Moi, is keen to reach out to leaders who worked closely with his father during his 24-year-rule to bolster his political network.

Salat said his boss will continue with his mission to market the independence party but quickly added that Kanu is not engaging in early presidential campaigns as many would want to believe.

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“My chairman has been holding meetings with delegations of like minded political  leaders, elders and other key stakeholders at the grassroots level,” he said of Gideon’s recent political exploits across the country.

The independence party met all its elected leaders and party officials yesterday as it moved to activate its countrywide political machinery.

Positive change

“Our chairman has been in Nyanza, Western, Mt Kenya and Mombasa to talk to leaders and this weekend, we will converge in Rift Valley for a key meeting,” Salat said, adding that the meeting has nothing to do with 2022 presidential succession.

At the Kitui fundraiser, Kalonzo said he was aleady working with the Kanu chairman to bring positive change in the country. He revealed that during his visit to Moi’s Kabarak home in Nakuru, the former President asked him to work with Gideon.

“When I visited Mzee Moi accompanied by Senator (Enock) Wambua and my son Kennedy, Mzee Moi told me to work with Senator Moi and President Kenyatta. Those were precisely Mzee’s words, the only thing he didn’t tell us is how to do it,” said Kalonzo.

Kalonzo is one of the key political figures who have access to Moi’s Kabarak home in Nakuru County, where the former president lives.

Tiaty MP William Kamket, a staunch supporter of Gideon, acknowledged that the Kanu chairman is on the right track in terms of building new political networks, reaching out to other like minded politicians and strengthening the party.

“Gideon is on the right track. He is currently the talk of Kenya and with no doubt, he will succeed President Kenyatta in 2022,” he told Sunday Standard last week.

Kamket said the plan is to first galvanise support in Gideon’s Rift Valley backyard, which the Kanu chairman was doing “calculatedly”.

“He has attracted a number of elected leaders from Jubilee, he is reaching to grassroots leaders, members of the business community and other stakeholders in other parts of the country,” he said.

In recent past, Senator Moi has held consultative meetings with leaders from Rift Valley, Nyanza and Western and convinced a number of elected leaders to join him, Kamket said.

In Rift Valley, Gideon is working closely with Elgeyo Marakwet Governor Alex Tolgos, Moiben MP Sila Tiren, Cherangany’s Joshua Kuttuny, Nandi Hills’ Alfred Keter and former Eldama Ravine MP Musa Sirma.

Uasin Gishu Woman Representative Gladys Shollei is another elected leader from the North Rift region said to have a soft spot for the Kanu leader.

Influential Uasin Gishu politician Zedekiah Bundotich Kiprop, popularly as Buzeki, is another leader from the region seen to be oscillating towards supporting Gideon.

Although he joined Chama Cha Mashinani (CCM) led by former Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto, pundits say Buzeki has shown interest in the political direction Gideon was taking.

The CCM party boss is a close political ally of Gideonand the duo worked closely in the last polls. Kamket, the Tiaty MP, has been representing Kanu interests in meetings organised and attended by Kieleweke wing of the Jubilee Party.

Sirma, a former minister for East African and Regional Cooperation, is another Rift Valley politician, who has recently shifted political allegiance to the Baringo senator.

Political networks

“As much as the Deputy President may be seen as the kingpin of Rift Valley, you can never dismiss the importance of Gideon, you can only dismiss him at your own peril,” he said when asked about Gideon’srecent political exploits.

Gideon has the financial muscle to bankroll a well thought-out presidential campaign and a rich political network on his favour.

Sirma says Gideon has presidential ambitions and is expected to be a key player in 2022 succession politics.

The Kanu chairman has reached out to ODM leader and High Representative for Infrastructure Development in Africa Raila Odinga, Kalonzo, ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi and Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho and the rest.

A number of MPs in Mt Kenya and Nyanza have also been joining Gideon in meetings in their respective regions, an indication that the Kanu chairman is reaching out to as many opinion leaders as possible.

Analysts are predicting a sibling rivalry ahead of the 2022 polls, with Gideon expected to face Deputy President William Ruto in a fight for the top seat.

“In 2022, we are likely to see a repeat of 2002 when Mwai Kibaki and Uhuru Kenyatta were the two formidable candidates, both from the Kikuyu nation,” Philip Chebunet, a lecturer, said.

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Gideon MoiPresident Uhuru Kenyatta2022 elections