Ruto, practically an outsider in the administration and confronting the full power of State apparatus, is developing a campaign in Kenya and overseas as he goes all out in the search for votes and resources ahead of the 2022 elections.
He has dispatched emissaries to open diaspora offices, launched an aggressive ground operation that includes UDA party and aspirants' regional forums, regional economic forums, allowing affiliate political parties to sprout without any requirement that they fold up and merge with UDA, and assembling a diverse range of professionals.
Added to this is his relationship with churches, which was his preferred method of reaching out to the populace before to the Covid- 19 pandemic.
Murangá senator Irungu Kangáta was already in the United States, talked with Kenyans living there and identifying the liaison office that will be established in time for the launch.
Klaire Prestige, a Kenyan who owns a vernacular radio in the state, will lead the Seattle office. Dr. Ruto wants diaspora Kenyans to join UDA, develop an economic blueprint for his manifesto, and fundraise for his campaigns.
" There is no genuine candidate who does not reach out to Kenya' s diaspora and other friendly countries. That is the law" Mr Kangáta added.
According to his supporters, Dr. Ruto is putting in place the infrastructure that would frighten his opponents and allow him win decisively in the first round in 2022. The danger in his side is that a narrow victory margin in 2022 will provide his opponents with an opportunity to influence the election with the help of State bureaucrats.
Facing The Government
" We are now in opposition, and the DP must think and act like an opposition leader in the face of the State juggernaut. As a result, he will not take any chances. We aim to win by a landslide " said Nandi Senator Samson Cherargei, a Dr. Ruto loyalist.
Others close to the DP believe that the only way he can win in 2022 is to improve his ground game and operations.
To popularize his bottom- up economic model, the DP has held economic forums, ostensibly to allow regular Kenyans to express their preferences, which will inform the model. In May, he was in Kilifi for the Coast Economic Regeneration Forum, which brought together the six Coast counties of Mombasa, Taita Taveta, Kwale, Kilifi, Lamu, and Tana River to outline the region' s economic plan, with a focus on tourism, maritime economy, and land ownership concerns.
Earlier in May, he met with officials from Mount Kenya for what was labeled an economic negotiation session. Among the experts in attendance was economist David Ndii, who is now a member of Ruto' s team.
This week, Rift Valley DP allies met to discuss economic priorities for the region that they would like the DP to meet if he replaces President Kenyatta. A similar meeting is being organized for the counties of the lake region.
With his bottom- up approach and portraying himself as a follower of former President Mwai Kibaki, the DP has developed an image of a ' economic messiah, ' coming up with eight economic models encompassing those regions and managed by Turkana Governor Josphat Nanok.
According to DP Ruto, regional economic forums would aid in the identification of local economic initiatives that improve the lives of inhabitants.
William Ruto' s Political Vehicle
Along with the continuing economic forums, UDA, which has become the deputy president' s political vehicle after failing in Jubilee, has been organizing regional aspirants and leaders forums since May 20.
For the purposes of the forums, the 47 counties were divided into six clusters. The police disrupted at least three of the forums, in Nandi, Meru, and what was to be the finale of the meetings in Mombasa. The party is looking for organizers in each county to help oversee events.
South Mugirango MP Sylvanus Osoro, an outspoken supporter of the DP, and his Keiyo South counterpart Daniel Rono confirmed to the Nation that party leaders have been directed to guarantee that the UDA has interim officials ready to register as many members as possible.
Once recruited, the coordinators will play a key role in strengthening the party at the grassroots and giving it a national outlook, through membership recruitment drives and the establishment of regional offices to compete with the Jubilee party and other political outfits ahead of the race to State House.
As part of its efforts to expand its ground operation, UDA Secretary- General Veronica Maina stated that the organization plans to run grassroots elections to elect ward, constituency, and county officials. They expect contenders for various party positions, as well as those seeking elective positions in 2022, to use grassroots elections to popularize the party.
UDA' s Fight- back Plan
She said that as part of their larger strategy of cementing their bases as the succession of President Uhuru Kenyatta approaches, they would like to hear from the hopefuls on how the party should be administered best.
The Sunday Nation has verified that the just finished countrywide meet- the- aspirant tours are part of the UDA' s intricate fight- back strategy aimed at slicing a slice of the Jubilee Party' s support base ahead of next year' s elections.
Aside from the aspirants' forums, the party is running a membership registration campaign, primarily online, in order to strengthen its national presence, claiming that as a new party, they must be felt everywhere.
The DP' s ground effort began in churches, where he held numerous fundraisers each week. He has been able to reach the masses through the churches and has gained the backing of many clerics.
However, with the outbreak of the Covid- 19 pandemic and the imposition of limitations on public gatherings, he appears to have slowed.
Meanwhile, Dr. Ruto' s associates have started launching political parties in the run- up to the 2022 elections in order to popularize the ' hustler' narrative. The DP has now surrounded himself with political party leaders who appear to have no intention of dissolving their organizations, as happened when 12 parties merged to form Jubilee in 2016.
Parties that have emerged to support the DP' s ' hustler' movement include the People' s Democratic Party (PDP) led by Omingo Magara, Chama cha Mashinani (CCM) led by Isaac Ruto, The Service Party (TSP) led by former Cabinet secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri, and the People' s Empowerment Party (PEP), which recently won the Juja by- election over a Jubilee candidate.
According to Mr. Magara, discussions are ongoing to guarantee that the agendas of affiliate parties do not conflict with their 2022 presidential aim.
Bottom- up Economic Model
The DP is now surrounded by specialists and elite technocrats who assist him fine- tune his strategies. They are made up of well- known economists, political specialists, and veteran politicians from across the country.
Dr Ndii, former Central Bank Governor Prof Njuguna Ndung' u, Prof Larry Gumbe, and management consultant and strategist Eliud Owalo, who previously worked with ODM leader Raila Odinga, Prof Edward Kisiangani, Dr Mugambi Mureithi, Prof Raphael Munavu, and communications expert Barrack Muluka are among his advisers and strategists.
Given the large number of young voters, he has launched a program aimed at young entrepreneurs and given them donations to improve their lot and protect them from the impacts of the Covid- 19 pandemic.
The DP' s social involvement have been marked not only by donations to the youth, but also by his embracing of church, boda boda harambee, and other activities that have been halted by the pandemic.
Prior to the Ebola issue, Dr. Ruto used to attend more than two fundraisers every weekend around the country, giving him the image of a God- fearing politician, despite his political opponent, ODM leader Raila Odinga, constantly questioning the source of his money.
Dr Ruto' s constant delegations to the DP' s Karen mansion in Nairobi or Sugoi in Uasin Gishu are outlets for him to begin forming campaign committees from the village level in every region of Kenya in an effort to strengthen his popularity.
" We have realized that everyone should be part in the campaign; we are going the Ujamaa way of Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM), where campaign committees begin from the village levels upwards and no one is left out, " UDA chairperson Johnstone Muthama explained to the Nation in an interview.
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