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Presidential bid: Ruto now targets youth

Saturday July 04 2020
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Deputy President William Ruto addresses mourners at the burial of Mzee Nyogosei Tarus in Chepkatet Village, Nandi County, on July 3, 2020. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By JUSTUS OCHIENG'

 Deputy President William Ruto has drawn an elaborate multi-pronged strategy to overcome a system that is determined to puncture his 2022 presidential bid.

The DP wants to fulfil the ambition of becoming the country’s chief executive despite determination by some quarters send him into political oblivion.

Following weeks of an onslaught against him and his lieutenants by the State and his Jubilee party, Dr Ruto has devised strategies to reach out to the ordinary Kenyans by his campaign brigade.

And for the second day in a row, Deputy Dr Ruto yesterday told off those targeting his supporters in and out of Parliament. 

Speaking at his Sugoi home in Uasin Gishu County, Dr Ruto said leaders who support for him are being hounded out of House committees and investigated by the government.

GRASSROOT OPERATIVES

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Bearing in mind the huge number of youthful voters, he has rolled out a programme targeting the young entrepreneurs and given them donations to improve their lot and cushion them against the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The DP has revived his church meetings and has already hit the ground running ahead of the possible lifting of the cessation of movement.

Dr Ruto is crafting grassroot teams to spearhead his “Hustler Nation” narrative.

He recently met Mr Stephen Odhiambo and Mr Dennis Otieno, the makers of the table that can be folded into a chair.

The innovation by the two young men went viral on social media, with many placing orders for the furniture.

“I was privileged to interact with Odhiambo and Otieno, two enterprising Kenyans with innovative ideas on garden furniture. I was thrilled by their cutting-edge skills and efforts,” Dr Ruto tweeted on June 25.

The DP’s de facto spokesman and Jubilee Deputy Secretary General Caleb Kositany told the Sunday Nation that his team has come up with several strategies to beat his opponents that he referred to as dynasties.

HUSTLERS

“Dr Ruto has decided to help the hustlers – the forgotten ones. We never get to them even when making budgets,” the Soy MP said.

“It is a good move. Dr Ruto is going to people who need help the most.”

Mr Kositany added that leaders supporting Dr Ruto stopped distributing food and embarked on a new strategy “after some unscrupulous people attempted to poison innocent Kenyans in Kiambu County”.

Belgut MP – another ally of the DP – said young people “should be taught to catch fish rather than give them ready fish”.

“This is a programme we will sustain. We will go to casual workers. It is part of our grand plan to reach out to the grassroots,” Mr Koech said.

“We want to help them feed their families. Dr Ruto has rolled out that plan silently.”

According to Mr Koech, the idea is to reach out to the majority of Kenyans who struggle to make a living.

With those born in 2004 expecting to cast their ballots for the first time in 2022, the Dr Ruto is determined to hold onto the youthful voters, he said.

The teams of grassroot operatives that have members up to the ward level are to be made public alongside a panel of technical advisers once the lockdown and cessation of movement come to an end.

COALITION BUILDING

The grassroot teams, according to insiders in Dr Ruto’s camp, are meant to check the influence of President Uhuru Kenyatta, Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader Raila Odinga, Kanu  chairman and Baringo Senator Gideon Moi and Wiper party chief Kalonzo Musyoka.

Dr Ruto’s team has also set up a committee for coalition building to help him form a formidable alliance to rival that led by the President and Mr Odinga.

“With the certainty for the expansion of the Executive through the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI), this team will help us identify a formidable force and work out a power-sharing formula to enable us face off with our opponents,” a senior member of the Ruto camp who did not want to be named told the Sunday Nation.

“As the referendum date approaches, we hope to unveil it through rigorous campaigns. The referendum campaign will be a dress rehearsal for 2022.”

Former senators Johnson Muthama (Machakos), Boni Khalwale (Kakamega) and Hassan Omar (Mombasa) have been assigned the key role of crafting the DP’s grassroots team.

Mr Muthama told the Sunday Nation that Kenyans who see Kenya as a country that belongs to them stand with Dr Ruto.

“There are only two teams competing for the presidency and leadership of this country. One is with Uhuru, Raila and Gideon and the other is with Ruto and Kenyans,” Mr Muthama said.

Dr Khalwale said Dr Ruto has teams in the 47 counties and are in the process of cascading them to the 290 Constituencies and 1,450 wards.

SAVE THE COUNTRY

“We have teams in almost 70 per cent of the constituencies. We have not finished identifying pointmen in the constituencies but have coordinators in the counties,” he said.

“We are also done with a majority of the wards. All Mt Kenya and the Rift Valley wards are on board. The same is the case in western Kenya, except two constituencies in Busia.”

Dr Khalwale said they have done the wards in Ukambani, Kwale, Mombasa and Kilifi.

He added that the 47 county coordinators double up as regional bosses.

He said there are regional coordinators for Northeastern Kenya, Nairobi, Coast, Western, Rift Valley, Mt Kenya and two in Nyanza.

“Their role is obvious. The man or woman who steers a region is responsible for the programmes and projects in that area,” he said.

The former senator claimed that senior politicians associated with BBI have been using coronavirus challenges to their advantage.

“We we are going to surprise them as soon as the lockdown and cessation of movement are lifted,” Dr Khalwale said.

“Kenya is an enterprise that cannot be taken lightly. That is why we have put this capable team in place,” he added.

“We have moved away from the toxic divisive approach of putting tribes together.”

NOBLE CAUSE

He said the coalition building team has approached Amani National Congress leader Musalia Mudavadi and his Ford Kenya counterpart Moses Wetang’ula.

The two have, however, maintained a studious silence on the matter.

“I don’t sit on that team but it is talking to Mudavadi and Wetang’ula. They are not the only leaders our team is talking to,” he said.

“It is also talking to people beyond Mudavadi, including players from Nyanza. There are credible people we are holding discussions with, in terms of coalition building but this excludes ODM,” Dr Khalwale said.

He said he and Mr Muthama learnt a lot when they were in the National Super Alliance steering committee.

Mr Omar said Kenyans must vote to save their country from the ills affecting it.

“The country should not be let to collapse. We must all work towards achieving this noble cause,” Mr Omar said.

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