Deputy President William Ruto yesterday intensified his efforts to consolidate the Rift Valley voting bloc by meeting aspirants for various seats at his Karen residence as political temperatures hot up in the region.
He assured aspirants seeking the Jubilee Party ticket that he does not have a preferred candidate — anywhere — adding that the Jubilee primaries, which will be held in April, will be free and fair.
“One should not be worried about the nomination process because once you have convinced voters in your respective areas to vote for you, then that is all. Make it impossible for someone else to win by selling your policies to voters. By doing so, you have nothing to worry about,” he said.
He added: “But I want to assure you that the success of our party depends on competence, free and fairness. No one will be allowed to mismanage the nomination process.”
The meeting, which was attended by more than five governors and a number of senators comes hot on the heels of an onslaught by Baringo Senator Gideon Moi, who is also the chairman of Independence party Kanu. It also attracted an estimated 1,000 aspirants from all the 14 counties in a region that has become an epicentre of high octane politics in the last few weeks.
According Simon Kiprono Chelugui, a key ally of Ruto and an aspirant for Baringo Senator seat, the Deputy President gave the participants an opportunity to ask “all burning questions” in a question-answer session.
“Basically, the Deputy President told us that he doesn’t have a preferred candidate… of course you are aware that our rivals have been peddling lies to the effect that he has some preferred candidates,” he said.
Yesterday, aspirants were tasked to mobilise 1.6 million people who have national identity cards but don’t have voter’s cards to register as voters from next week.
He said the party would roll-out a high-powered re-election campaign strategy, which involves massive registration of members using superior technology in campaign to be launched by President Uhuru Kenyatta on Friday in Nairobi.
“Once our membership programme is launched this Friday, it is upon you to embark on the programme to register as many members as possible. We want the people to own the party,” said Ruto.
The battle for political supremacy between DP Ruto and his nemesis, Senator Moi came to the fore during the burial of veteran politician Mark Too on Monday with the younger Moi accusing Ruto of misleading the Kalenjin community.
DP Ruto’s Head of Communication, David Mugonyi, told the People Daily that yesterday’s meeting had been planned “several weeks ago” adding that it has no connection with what was said during Too’s burial.