Analysts opine that Deputy President William Ruto is one of the best orators in the country, a seasoned politician who has coined rhetorics that resonate with his followers.
As always, his sentiments have both attracted him praise and criticism, but Ruto has proven to be steadfast. Falling out of grace with his boss, President Uhuru Kenyatta, can be argued to be one of the lowest moments in his career.
However, he turned around, hatching strategies that touched the nerve of the President and never minced his words when trolling his main rival, Azimio La Umoja’s Raila Odinga.
From alleging that the deep state and the system was against him, to harshly criticising the media for being biased, campaigning in Uhuru’s village and making inroads in Mt Kenya, here’s how Ruto outwitted Uhuru and Raila to win the Presidency in his first stab.
After the March 2018 handshake between Uhuru and Raila Odinga, Ruto claimed that he was kicked out of the government.
Ruto thus resorted to criticising his own government and traversed the country to ready his 2022 bid.
“Hii kijana anaitwa Ruto unajua kila wikendi anatangatanga kila pahali. Atakuwa anapitia hizi machochoro. Akiona kitu inaenda konakona mmwambie. Tuhakikishe kazi ya wananchi imefanyika.
(This young man called Ruto, you know he likes roaming everywhere every weekend. He will be passing through these routes. If he sees anything that’s not going well, tell him. We have to make sure citizen duties are fulfilled),” Uhuru criticised him.
Ruto, however, stood by his stance, arguing that he attempted to reach out to Uhuru to solve their differences to no effect. Nonetheless, Uhuru birthed a political movement Tanga Tanga which Ruto used to hatch his bottom-up approach, arguing that he would create a government of the people.
Snatching Mt Kenya From Uhuru’s Grasp
Mt Kenya was projected to be the deciding factor in the 2022 General Election, years before the polls.
Analysts pointed out that Central Kenya, home to five counties, has a total of 3.1 million voters, the same as the Nyanza region which has six counties including Kisii and Nyamira.
They also noted that it would be the first election in Kenya where Mt Kenya would not front a presidential candidate.
Ruto toured Mt Kenya several times, irking President Uhuru Kenyatta and his allies. He also convinced the politicians to turn against their kingpin, Uhuru and promised them a bigger share of his government.
The DP also picked Uhuru’s former personal assistant, Rigathi Gachagua as his running mate. Above all, he convinced the region to reject Uhuru’s brainchild, the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI).
“My biggest regret would have to be BBI. It is sad that by the time I retire, the one man one shilling will not have been realised,” Uhuru lamented, citing the BBI failure as his biggest regret.
In the Kiambaa and Juja by-elections, Ruto was able to put forward candidates who competed against Jubilee Party where they eventually won.
During that period he enjoyed the support of Uhuru’s close allies turned rivals Kimani Ichungwah, Moses Kuria, Rigathi Gachagua, Ndindi Nyoro, George Kariuki and Irungu Kanga’ta among others.
Ruto was eventually forced to ditch Jubilee and formed UDA where he decamped with many Mt Kenya leaders after being accused by Uhuru of campaigning since they assumed power in 2017.
Uhuru Kenyatta campaigned for Raila in Mount Kenya, his perceived stronghold hoping to convince the electorate to vote for Raila.
Ruto, nevertheless, got the majority of the votes from the vote-rich region. Ruto was able to double the votes in Raila Odinga at President Uhuru Kenyatta’s polling station – Mutomo Primary School in Gatundu South, Kiambu County, central Kenya.