2022 will be a year of political re-alignments, betrayal, political marriages and divorces in equal measure,. All for president Uhuru Kenyatta’s succession and a shot at the top office.
And already, politicians are shaking in their boots and tabling their bids and hoping for the best. Unlike 2017’s two-horse race show, 2022 will be a full stable of marauding, galloping horses.
Leading from the front is Deputy President William Ruto, with Musalia Mudavadi, Kalonzo Musyoka and Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko close at his shins.
It still not clear whether Raila Odinga who recently called the handshake truce with Uhuru will be vying considering he already has an AU post.
Political analyst and seasoned commentator Barack Muluka believes that the country must choose to either focus on matters development or focus on politics and campaigns and be worse in 2022.
“We are messed up as a country and if some of these people are already contemplating Presidency it will only get worse.” He states.
So who stands a fighting chance come 2022?
A thoroughbred horse with an immense political experience spanning over two decades. Ruto has been Uhuru’s deputy for the last seven years and is well versed with the intricacies that make the presidency tick.
Political analyst Ben Mulwa is convinced that given his days in office, his wealth and immense political connections, DP Ruto has a good shot at the too office.
But on the flip side, and the elephant in the room- Ruto’s biggest hurdle is the tribal arithmetic and a perception he has strung around since his hey days as a legislator.
“The Kikuyu kalenjin arithmetic makes him be seen as more of a tribal leader and case in point was in 2007, a clout he has not fully shaken from him.” Mulwa argues.
Mulwa further argues that politicians around Ruto are from his home turf which complicates his situation.
“Close allies of Ruto are Kipchumba Murkomen, Oscar Sudi, Governor Sang among others and all hail from his home region which makes it hard to perceive the DP as a Presidential material.” He states.
Mulwa however adds that Ruto is making entry into Western, Nyanza and the coast regions where he has for the longest times been a stranger.
The DP also has no direct control of Nairobi County, the biggest metropolitan block with at least 2.5 million votes, a factor that would cost him dearly.
“It will be very difficult for the DP to get over the 50 per cent votes given that he has zero foothold out of the potential 3M He can only get 15 per cent in Nairobi.” he adds
According to Mulwa, the ANC Party leader is most level headed politicia. Mudavadi appears versed with the issues ravaging the country. He recently announced himself the leader of the official opposition and is off to a good start.
His greatest misgiving is that he has no control of his political base and therefore cannot galvanize votes. Anywhere.
“Musalia is a party leader but his own village governor was elected under ODM . He never comes out as someone who pushes his own bid.” Mulwa says.
Musalia would only get a chance if he was facing Ruto as he would be perceived as the least tainted politician between the two,” he adds.
And although Kenyan voters care less about past political scandals, Mudavadi still strings the Golden Berg scandal.
Apparently, pundits claim that the current Nairobi Governor is one of the few politicians who enjoys organic support from all over Kenya.
Mulwa claims that his skewed way of political management would work in his favour as he appears to always get the job done.
“During the 2017 campaigns Sonko was the only politician who held a rally in Kondele not even Uhuru and Ruto had been able to pull it off, it tells you of how Kenyans perceive him.” he states.
The Nairobi Governor has been able to make entry into North Eastern, Turkana and the coast regions.
He is also considered to be a very close friend to the Muslim community and so he seems to have a footing in majorly all areas.
“His only challenge would probably be few parts of Western Kenya and then he would appease the Kamba vote with minimal struggle.” Mulwa adds.
The vocal governor also seems to have a connection with the common mwananchi,a move other politicians are yet to pull off.
“Sonko has mastered the art of reaching out to those we call hustlers unlike Ruto and Musalia both who have public relations issues pulled from their engagements.”
His track record is also a factor he would ride on in Nairobi as Governor and even as MP.
“In 2 years he has done five times more compared to what former Governor Evans kidero did in 5 years. If you compare him to Ruto, the DP has no tangible stuff tied on to his name in his tenure in Jubilee,” Mulwa says.
The Wiper Party leader would find himself in an awkward position if he vied for President in 2022 according to Mulwa.
This is based on past miscalculations that eventually led to him being nicknamed Watermelon. A political turncoat.
“Kalonzo has no control of his Ukambani region and this can be tied to the fact that he has no Wiper Governor except Makueni’s Kivutha Kibwana who has openly defied him, the party actually begged him to vie via Wiper as Kivutha did not need the party,” he states.
Kalonzo’s clean record on corruption would work is favour as he has not been publicly castigated on paper.
“Kalonzo is clean as compared to other Presidential candidates, however he has never been able to capitalize on this and ends up blowing that lifeline for his bounce back into the arena.”
The only opportunity Kalonzo has would be if President Uhuru openly disassociated with Ruto and the Mt Kenya Community would sought an alternative in him.
“If Uhuru fails to support Ruto, Kalonzo would have a chance to get Mt Kenya behind him although it is still a wide shot.” Mulwa reasons.