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Ruto's coastal backers adopt loud silence

Malindi MP Aisha Jumwa addressing the media. [Boniface Okendo/Standard]

Deputy President William Ruto’s political fortunes at the Coast are dwindling as allies desert him in the wake of his mounting tribulations at the national scene.

Unlike in the past, Dr Ruto's erstwhile noisy supporters have either conspicuously gone silent or are not willing to declare their loyalty to the DP.

Most of them now claim it was not the right time to talk about the DP's political tribulations or what was going on in Parliament. 

Threats by the Orange party to expel or de-whip errant members and the resurgence of Governor Hassan Joho of Mombasa is said to have scared some of the leaders who had backed Ruto.

Currently, Joho enjoys the backing of the State machinery in the region following his close relationship with President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga.

After the handshake, the DP heavily invested time and resources on the Coast. He made several trips to raise funds, launch projects, and sway local ODM leaders to his fold.

He lured ODM MPs, including Aisha Jumwa of Malindi, who openly blasted Raila and even predicted ODM’s demise and the DP's triumph in the 2022 elections.

Until the end of last year, most MPs in Taita Taveta, Kilifi, Kwale, Tana River, Lamu, and some in Mombasa rebelled against their parties and rallied to the DP’s side.

But yesterday, the erstwhile ardent devotees feigned ignorance over Ruto’s political dilemma in the region or said they were focused on the war on Covid-19.

“Let’s talk politics after Covid-19 has been managed. It sounds abnormal politicking at this time when our people are dying of hunger and Covid-19,” said Jumwa.

Last week, Jumwa, however, defended Jubilee senators allied to Ruto who faced disciplinary action after they failed to attend a State House meeting convened by Uhuru.

Yesterday, Garsen MP Ali Wario, who has also been a close ally of the DP, said they were busy working towards achieving President Kenyatta’s Big Four agenda.

“We have resolved to support the president’s agenda to fight corruption and would not be detracted by partisan politics,” stated Wario in an interview.

Wario refused to discuss his past links to Ruto, saying “the government’s agenda must be supported by the ruling party’s leaders in Parliament and if the president decides to change holders of certain positions, I fully support him".

Kaloleni MP Paul Katana, who is also close to Ruto, distanced himself from the squabbles in the ruling party, insisting that he belongs to ODM and that Jubilee should sort out its problems.

It was evident that some Coast leaders had abandoned Ruto during the debate and vote to oust Senate Deputy Speaker Kithure Kindiki. All Coast senators backed Kindiki's removal.

A legislator from Kwale told The Standard that the weekly stipend they received to champion Ruto’s agenda in the region reduced before it stopped.

Pwani University lecturer Hassan Mwakimako explained that silence was a better strategy for the Coast DP backers as it gives them time to retreat and reorganise themselves.

Prof Mwakimako said the fact that most of them are from opposition parties, there was fear of possible disciplinary action particularly from ODM.

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