Turf wars: Ruto targets Mzee Moi's inner circle
After months of mounting a charm offensive in an effort to rally other regions to back his presidential bid, Deputy President William Ruto is now trying to win over senior figures in the Rift Valley to cement his place in his political backyard.
The DP is seeking to woo to his camp tycoons, political strategists and opinion shapers who held sway during former President Daniel arap Moi’s rule.
The Nation on Tuesday established that the second-in-command is out to dismantle senior Moi’s political empire to ensure it doesn’t benefit his son, Baringo Senator Gideon Moi, who is also eyeing the presidency.
Insiders say the DP and his lieutenants made their intentions known when he met Mzee Moi’s long-time press secretary Lee Njiru late last year. They say the meeting discussed how Mr Njiru would help the DP approach Moi’s former advisors.
“We want to ensure the DP has no strong competitor in Kalenjin land and that’s why we’re targeting those who were powerful in Mzee Moi’s regime. Gideon [Moi] will only remain with Tiaty MP William Kamket and Kanu Secretary-General Nick Salat,” a Rift Valley MP privy to the plans said.
Some influential personalities on the Ruto radar include Mr Joshua Kulei (the former President’s personal secretary), Mr Franklin Bett, Mr Benjamin Sogomo (a former permanent secretary), Mr Henry Kosgey, and Mr Silas Yego, who was Mzee Moi’s pastor and spiritual leader.
Yesterday, Soi MP Caleb Kositany told Nation of planned intensive grassroots mobilisation campaigns. “We want to ensure that the region rallies behind Ruto to a man,” he said.
“Lee [Njiru] is an asset to our camp because of his connection to influential figures in Mzee Moi’s regime,” Keiyo South MP Daniel Rono said.
Kapseret MP Oscar Sudi and his Aldai counterpart Cornelius Serem said the former leaders had no option but to join the Ruto camp because of his popularity in the region.
Reached for comment, Mr Yego and Mr Sogomo told Nation that they had not been approached by either the DP or Senator Moi.
Mr Bett admitted that he has met Senator Moi, but insisted that the talks were not about 2022 politics.
He further said if the younger Moi will approach him over his candidature, he will lend him an ear and the same to DP, thereafter, he will have to make a decision on who to support.
I’ll listen to both
“I’ve met Senator Moi several times but we’ve never discussed 2022 politics. I’ll listen to both of them should they approach me and make a decision,” Mr Bett said.
Kanu Secretary General Nick Salat, Senator Moi’s ally, said the party is reaching out to senior Moi’s allies as well as new ones to shore up its candidate’s chances of clinching the seat.
“Mr Moi is not only reaching out to friends of Mzee but to new allies as well,” Mr Salat said .