Former Kiambu Governor William Kabogo and Murang’a Senator Irungu Kang’ata have defended their move to accompany Deputy President William Ruto to Nakuru last weekend, saying it did not mean they have joined his camp.
Mr Kabogo insisted that he was neither in Tanga Tanga, Kieleweke or in Jubilee Party but the leader of an independent movement of a group of people “who would not run away from a function because the Deputy President was present.”
Dr Ruto’s overtures to win the support of his opponents appeared to be bearing fruit on Sunday when Mr Kabogo, who had earlier indicated the DP would not enjoy automatic support for the presidency from the central region, accompanied him to an event in Nakuru.
The two even boarded the same helicopter, leaving many guessing about their political plans.
“I was not invited to Molo by the deputy president but by the area MP but since Dr Ruto was heading there, I asked for a lift and we went there using his chopper. Should I have failed to attend because Dr Ruto was going to the same function like what the Nakuru governor did?” Mr Kabogo posed.
The former governor said he is an independent thinker who can attend to both Mr Kenyatta’s and Dr Ruto’s functions.
Mr Kabogo fell out with Mr Ruto after the 2017 Jubilee Party primaries in which he was defeated by Mr Ferdinand Waititu who went on to win the Kiambu governor’s seat.
Mr Kabogo and many others in Mt Kenya region who lost in the primaries, blamed Dr Ruto, who oversaw the polls at the national level, for their defeat.
Mr Waititu has been Dr Ruto’s key point man in the populous Kiambu County and has been accompanying him to various events.
Most governors from the region who previously rarely missed Dr Ruto’s events have, however, been recently giving them a wide berth.
Speaking to the Nation on Tuesday, Mr Kabogo was quick to scold the Jubilee administration saying that should it fail, both President Kenyatta and Dr Ruto will be to blame.
He said Dr Ruto’s failure was also the President’s and that Kenyans will never listen to one leader blaming the other over massive corruption in the Jubilee administration since they were elected as a package.
He asked the government to sack, arrest or charge Dr Ruto if they think he is corrupt rather than giving empty threats.
On his part, Mr Kangata, who accompanied Dr Ruto him to Kabarak for the burial of Jonathan Moi, told the Nation that the DP invited him in his capacity as the Senate Deputy Chief Whip.
“The Deputy President had not called me for politics. We went to Kabarak with him to represent the government [since] the President was absent. I’m not part of any fights. I’m for peace, love and harmony,” he told the Nation.
The Murang’a senator has maintained a neutral stand in the changing Mt Kenya politics that have seen two camps emerging – one backing Dr Ruto and the other solidly behind President Kenyatta.
Gatanga MP Nduati Ngugi, Nyeri Town’s Ngunjiri Wambugu and Kigumo’s Ruth Mwaniki, who are in the Kieleweke team that is backing President Kenyatta and are opposed to early campaigns for the 2022 elections, said they have been approached on several occasions to join DP Ruto’s camp.
Ms Mwaniki confirmed that she has been receiving calls from leaders affiliated to the DP. She maintained that she is not against him but wants the President to be given time and space to deliver his promises to the electorate in full recognition of the fact that the President is the region’s spokesman who will show the future political direction.
“I have been approached severally but I don’t understand why we must continue politicking barely two years after the President was sworn in. Let us allow the President to deliver his promises to the electorate before embarking on 2022 succession politics. In any case, I have not heard the President withdrawing his support for the deputy president in his 2022 presidential ambition,” she said.
She urged leaders from Mt Kenya region not to understand that Mr Kenyatta is the only leader with massive following in the region and who can lead in bargaining for the region’s stake in future governments.
“No one has a problem with supporting the DP for the presidency; even the President promised him support but we must do so in proper, structured negotiations,” Ms Mwaniki noted.
She also reiterated that she is either in Kieleweke or Tanga Tanga.