Elections 2017

It’s battle of egos for political groups allied to Uhuru, Ruto

Deputy President WIlliam Ruto during the homecoming ceremony of Tharaka MP Gitonga Murungara in Mukothima,Tharaka Nithi. [DPPS]

Five political groups allied to President Uhuru Kenyatta, Deputy President William Ruto and opposition leader Raila Odinga are spoiling for a supremacy battle ahead of the 2022 succession contest.

The movements of the teams comprising governors, senators and MPs are upping the stakes for the political duel.

The realignment, political pundits argue, are early in the day but will influence political thinking and could bloom into political parties soon.

“The teams might easily decide to tighten their arrangements into political units as they seek to take over power after Uhuru, all these are succession politics,” said political analyst Javas Bigambo.

Team Wanjiku, the latest entrant into the murky waters of Kenyatta’s succession will host their second crusade at Alidina grounds in Jomvu Constituency, Mombasa County today.

Led by Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko and Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria, the team is fashioning itself as the ‘voice of people’ ahead of the next polls.

Protect the interests

The group that also comprises Eala MP Simon Mbugua and former MPs Kalembe Ndile (Kibwezi) and Reuben Ndolo (Makadara) claims that if the current politicking is not stopped it will derail President’s Kenyatta’s efforts to unite the country and deliver his pledges.

Others are MPs Patrick Makau (Mavoko), Julius Mawathe (Embakasi South) and politician Stanley Livondo.

“We vow to protect the interests of all Kenyans, especially the most vulnerable in the society,” said Kuria.

Team Wanjiku now joins, the other groups - Kieleweke allied to Kenyatta and Raila, Tanga Tanga allied to Ruto, Inua Mama and Team Embrace on the political bickering table.

Team Tanga Tanga works closely with Inua Mama in backing the DP’s 2022 presidential bid.

On the other hand, Kieleweke team, has been traversing the country pushing for the implementation of Jubilee pledges.

Kieleweke was formed to counter Tanga Tanga, whose name emanated from the President’s reference to Ruto’s criss-crossing the country ostensibly to initiate development projects. While Team Embrace comprising women leaders, supports the handshake between President Kenyatta and Opposition leader Raila.

Each team has been crisscrossing the country to sell their agenda to Kenyans a move that has heightened political temperature ahead of the 2022 General Election.

As the Sonko and Kuria team pitch camp in Mombasa, Tanga Tanga that has now covered 44 counties according its its leaders, were in Marimanti constituency in Tharaka Nithi yesterday where the DP led thirty MPs in a funds drive.

Tanga Tanga’s sister group Inua Mama led by Malindi MP Aisha Jumwa, Kirinyaga Woman Rep and Kenya Women Parliamentarians Association chair Purity Ngirici,  Kandara MP Alice Wahome and Nakuru Senator Susan Kihika have for the last two weeks traversed Coast and North Eastern.

Ms Ngirici said their agenda is to empower women majority living in poverty.

“Despite our big numbers women have not capitalised on their strength to gain political ground, as women we can no longer dance for the political class mostly men but still lag behind in decision makings they are left out,” she said.

Team Embrace held a meeting on Friday in Migori County while Kieleweke will not have any activity at the weekend according to Nyeri Town MP Ngunjiri Wambugu.

Punitive fines

In their Mombasa meeting coming just a week after another in Gilgil town, Team Wanjiku said they will fight for the low income earners, poor Kenyans and those in small businesses against any punitive fines or charges from the government.

“We are going to support the President 100 per cent in the implementation of the Big Four agenda. But we also believe that this should not come with any punitive policies that will frustrate efforts by small traders to do business,” Sonko said.

One of the driving force behind the formation of the team, the Nairobi Governor told the Sunday Standard, was the realisation that after the handshake, the opposition became dormant and while the President was focused on the Big Four agenda, some key decisions touching on poor Kenyans economically, could still be passed even against his wishes.

“There was a gap and this was dangerous for the people, especially those who have no means. Pro-poor policies would never be formed or supported. We are coming to fill the gap,” said Sonko.

In pursuit of being seen as an independent voice, Team Wanjiku insisted that though the handshake was a welcome relief, it should not mean that Kenyans stop to defend their rights.

Kuria noted that there is need to advocate for delivery of government projects across the country without politicising the process. The Gatundu South MP said by advocating for better service delivery to mwananchi the President will achieve his agenda. He said all Cabinet Secretaries must work hard to ensure that every Kenyan can access government services and have their living standards improved without discrimination.

“We must protect and defend everyone and that is why we came together to advance the development mission and vision the President has for this country,” he said.

“When people politick every day, the poor citizen is left to suffer and that is what we are trying to fight,” Kuria said.

Eala MP Mbugua said, this can only be achieved through ending graft and putting in place policies that will protect farmers and traders.

“We need to protect our agriculture and have our industries running to create more jobs for the youths. This can only be achieved by the supporting the ongoing purge on graft,” he said.

See related story (New Mt Kenya grouping formed, what’s cooking)