Payback time: Mt Kenya's expectations from William Ruto

He also managed another 455,864 votes in Nakuru, 119,142 in Laikipia, 148,310 in Narok, 148,449 in Kajiado and 562,775 in Nairobi.

It is those figures that are being used to claim that Mt Kenya may have given the president up to 3.5 million, dwarfing 1,678,142 million that the President received from his main backyard in Uasin Gishu, Elgeyo Marakwet, Nandi, Kericho, Bomet, Baringo, West Pokot, Samburu and Turkana counties.

Top four counties

The 630,282 votes that Ruto polled in Western Kenya counties of Busia, Kakamega, Bungoma, Vihiga and its diaspora in Trans Nzoia is almost a sixth of the Mt Kenya votes.

The Central Kenya figures are a statement on how the region turned the tide in favour of Dr Ruto and probably an expression of the expectations the region has from the so-called hustler government.

Dr Ruto himself on Sunday, at a thanksgiving prayers in Maua, Meru county, recognised Mt Kenya's contribution to his vote basket, saying Nairobi, Kiambu, Nakuru and Meru were the top four counties that gave him statement votes.

Other than Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua, Mt Kenya has already benefited from the position of Deputy Speaker of Senate Kathuri Murungi (Meru senator) and several others are looking forward to prominent positioning in the Ruto administration.

They include Kithure Kindiki, the former Tharaka Nithi senator, former National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi and United UDA Meru gubernatorial unsuccessful candidate Mithika Linturi.

Rewarding allies

Prof Kindiki was long promised a top position in Ruto government since he was persuaded not to oppose Muthomi Njuki in his gubernatorial reelection bid.

Other Mt Kenya leaders eyeing top positions include former Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria and economist David Ndii.

Also expected to benefit are those who joined Ruto's camp after election like former Meru governor, Kiraitu Murungi and his Devolution Empowerment Party leadership, and Kenya Kwanza alliance partners such as Mwangi Kiunjuri's The Service Party of Kenya, the Democratic Party (DP) and Farmers Party.

Will it be difficult for Dr Ruto to manage the Mt Kenya expectations?

President William Ruto's motorcade snakes along Ngong Road ahead of his inauguration at Kasarani Stadium on September 13. [Stafford Ondego, Standard]

"In the run-up to the parliamentary elections, Kingi's election was facing considerable setbacks with at least one senior parliamentarian and UDA insider being propped by some quarters until the President-elect vetoed what would have been the first betrayal," says a UDA insider.

It is also expected that ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi will be taking over the Chief Cabinet Secretary post as per the Kenya Kwanza agreement despite a poor showing in his Vihiga and Kakamega backyard.

Lowering expectations

Political commentator Edward Kisiangani, however, says there is need to temper expectations with reality. He says the last thing the new government would do is compromise competence to reward loyalty, and that leaders understand it is about the national cake.

According to Prof Kisiangani, even Mr Mudavadi and Mr Wetang'ula should lower expectations on the promises made before the elections. The Kenya Kwanza MoU stated the two leaders and their parties would get 30 per cent of government positions.

"Did they deliver? When it comes to Western, only Bungoma gave us a shot in the arm. Can you talk about Busia? Ruto is a gentleman and he will give them the seats he promised individually. But on Cabinet slots how do you give western seven seats when they failed to deliver and you have a whole country to consider?" he says.

At the end of the day, he argues, it is a delicate balancing act that should see service delivery prioritised, loyalties and effort rewarded.

There are murmurs that Mt Kenya East counties of Meru, Tharaka Nithi and Embu will each get a Cabinet slot, with the most likely beneficiaries being Mr Linturi, Prof Kindiki and Mr Muturi.