Ruto targets at least 100 House seats
Posted Saturday, July 14 2012 at 23:30
Eldoret North MP William Ruto has laid down an elaborate, if ambitious, plan to bag a majority of parliamentary seats in the coming election.
The plan, politicians close to the United Republican Party presidential hopeful revealed, targets at least 100 MPs and half of the Senate.
The thinking is that if he doesn’t win the presidency, the seats will hand him and his party the powerful post of Majority Leader as well as a strong bargaining position in a post-election coalition.
The Ruto campaign estimates that after clinching at least 100 seats, the rest will be shared amongst Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s Orange Democratic Movement, The National Alliance of Uhuru Kenyatta, Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka’s Wiper and United Democratic Front of Musalia Mudavadi.
The calculation, according to Mr Ruto’s allies, is to garner sufficient numbers to ensure that the URP leader determines who becomes the next Commander-in-Chief if he does not win State House.
“Our battle is two-pronged,” says Dujis MP Aden Duale, URP’s de facto “chief whip” and a Ruto confidant.
“We want to win both the presidency and Majority Leader. If we do not get the presidency, definitely our next option is the Majority Leader which is a very powerful position,” revealed Mr Duale.
The leader of the majority party shall be the person who will have headed the largest party or coalition of parties in the National Assembly. According to Article 28 of the Constitution, the Majority Leader will be the second most powerful person in Parliament after the Speaker.
For example, it would require the cooperation of the Majority Leader for the Executive to secure parliamentary support for government-sponsored Bills and approval of key presidential appointments or decisions.
Last week, Mr Ruto opened his presidential campaign secretariat on Ngong Road, away from the party’s office in Nairobi’s Lavington suburb.
The office will be run by Dr Ogla Karan, an economist, and a former Kenya Airways pilot, Capt Ngeny Biwott. On Wednesday, Mr Ruto is scheduled to address all URP aspirants at Nairobi’s Nyayo National Stadium before heading to northern Kenya later in the week.
Sources close to him on Saturday indicated that he has procured a fleet of 10 four-wheel drive vehicles and a helicopter to help in the presidential campaign. Mr Duale and URP chairman and former House Speaker Francis ole Kaparo gave the Sunday Nation a sneak preview of the Ruto power plan.
It emerges to be the same arrangement that kept Kanu in power for two terms against a strong opposition after the 1992 re-introduction of multi-party democracy.
Simple. The Ruto strategy is to first consolidate the populous Kalenjin Rift Valley vote and reach out to the small communities mostly pastoralists. The last census ranked the Kalenjin as Kenya’s third largest community after the Kikuyu and the Luhya.
Mr Ruto also banks on the support of the Turkana with seven seats, North Eastern (21), Samburu, Upper Eastern (Isiolo, Marsabit, Moyale), sections of the Coast and some Maa constituencies.
Mr Kaparo said they were confident their presidential candidate will emerge number one in the General Election.
“We are eyeing votes from the pastoralist communities who occupy 70 per cent of the country and their populations combined beat any alliance of big communities.
“That’s how we plan to win not only the presidency but also a majority of the parliamentary seats,” said Mr Kaparo.