A few weeks back I wrote about the quest for President Uhuru Kenyatta’s successor in central and why it should not derail the Jubilee dream.
Over the last two weeks, there has been a lot of talks over a comment made by Kiambu Governor William Kabogo which have been linked, by some, to the scramble for Uhuru’s successor.
There are even those who have speculated that the Governor made the comments as his entry point to the race to be Deputy President William Ruto’s running mate in 2022.
As politicians gave different interpretations to Governor Kabogo’s comments, it has become increasingly clear that the issue has been misunderstood by many.
A lot has been said about the comments since Governor Kabogo uttered them and even after he clarified multiple times thereafter.
However, on Saturday, the subject of the debate – Deputy President William Ruto – put everything in perspective as he defended the Governor’s comments.
The DP indicated that he was not naive enough to think that he would sit back and wake up on Election Day 2022 and find the votes in his favour.
DP Ruto knows that he will need to hunt for the votes and not just in the Mt Kenya region but the entire country, including the Opposition strongholds.
A lot of people had said that the Governor was disrespecting the Deputy President but as we saw on Saturday, the two gentlemen are very good friends.
It is now clear that Governor Kabogo was clearly saying that DP Ruto will be the candidate of choice at the 2022 presidential election as part of the 2013 Jubilee Coalition agreement.
The only other thing that the Governor added was that DP Ruto should continue engaging the people of Central Kenya in preparation for the 2022 elections.
The DP confirmed that this was the best approach to take for Jubilee to be able to garner as many votes as possible in the upcoming elections.
This shows us that Governor Kabogo was not mistaken in his comments and was on the right path in telling Jubilee supporters that nothing should be taken for granted.
In my view, Mt Kenya region needs to listen Governor Kabogo for a number of reasons with the most important being the goal to unite all Kenyans.
Another reason why Governor Kabogo made sense is that there is need for Jubilee to continue consolidating its support.
Jubilee supporters need to be assured that their interests are protected after the change over from President Uhuru Kenyatta to DP Ruto.
DP Ruto therefore needs to ensure that the Jubilee strongholds of Mt Kenya and the Rift Valley remain intact as he prepares to run for President.
This will help ensure that Jubilee continues to attract goodwill from its strongholds while consolidating the growing support from other regions.
Another reason I support Governor Kabogo’s comments is because it is important for Jubilee supporters to realise that the Jubilee dream cannot be completed in President Kenyatta’s 10 years.
Jubilee supporters must therefore endeavour to ensure that support for DP Ruto continues to grow through President Kenyatta’s second term as this assures an outright win in 2022.
This can only be achieved if DP Ruto continues to work with Mt Kenya leaders and continuously engages them and their supporters.
The impending exit of Uhuru from active Jubilee politics in 2022 will mean that the Mt. Kenya region must start looking for a successor who carries his will and support.
This is why Ruto must continue engaging the region to ensure that Jubilee identifies the next dynamic duo after Uhuru leaves.
In conclusion, Governor Kabogo’s comments should not be viewed as self-seeking of aimed at undermining Ruto and his Rift Valley support base.
In contrast, the comments should be used by Jubilee to continue strengthening the existing union and expanding it beyond Mt Kenya and Rift Valley as it has happened in the last three years.
(The writer is a political and communications consultant. Twitter @MachelWaikenda)