Some presidential hopefuls have started accusing each other of using dirty tricks to gain advantage over their opponents ahead of the poll.
According to Amani National Congress (ANC) Secretary-General Barack Muluka has given the party MCAs up to September 9 to show cause why they should not be expelled for advancing the ambitions of an opponent.
Party leader Musalia Mudavadi has trained his eyes on the presidency and his allies, keen to lock out rival parties from their perceived strongholds, view Mr Ruto’s tactics as “provocative and dirty”.
Mudavadi’s spokesman Kibisu Kbatesi said that, “It is Ruto’s way of destabilising other parties because you realise it was not just ANC MCAs who went there, there were some from ODM.
He further added saying, “The idea here is to destabilise his potential opponents, and MCAs are an easy prey when it comes to handouts. There is nothing ideological about it.”
However, DP Ruto’s men have maintained that their candidate is such an attractive brand that politicians from rival parties are falling over each other to get his attention.
According to National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale, “The DP is far ahead of the pack. Going by our own internal projections, he is commanding more than 40 percent support across the country, leaving the remaining percentage for more than 10 other aspirants to share. His chances of succeeding President Uhuru Kenyatta can only get better.”
It would not be the first time he is employing this approach.
At the height of campaigns last year, Mr Ruto assured Jubilee followers that they were poised to win and taunted Nasa’s supporters on why they would imagine that the incumbents would lose to a ‘disorganised, rudderless and leaderless opposition’.
Mr Duale also said they were aware of the underhand tactics the opponents were using to bring their leader down and as such they would not be caught unawares.
“You have seen them throwing dirt at the Deputy President, sponsoring opinion polls to show him as corrupt with a view to blunting his 2022 chances,” he said.
He predicted that, going forward, there would be a groundswell of such schemes.
A recent Ipsos survey showed Mr Ruto as one of the most corrupt politicians. He dismissed the poll, terming it “the handy work of (political) detractors”.
And while Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang’ula, another presidential hopeful, maintains that it is Mr Odinga’s turn to support his bid in the coming polls since he did so last year and in 2013, the latter’s lieutenants say the calls amount to blackmail.
Siaya Senator James Orengo pointed out that Mr Odinga was yet to commit on whether he would be running for the presidency and as such, it was inappropriate for his colleague to put in such a demand.
“There is no political debt that is enforceable in Kenya and history is replete with examples. As it is, this can only be possible through goodwill from both sides but not name-calling,” he said.
Mr Wetang’ula, alongside Mr Mudavadi and Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka, were co-principals with Mr Odinga in the Nasa coalition where the Orange party leader was the candidate and Mr Musyoka the running mate.
Mr Wetang’ula feels cheated – especially after his replacement with Mr Orengo as the Senate minority leader.
Sports Cabinet Secretary Rashid Echesa, another Ruto man, was also at it recently.
Keen to instil doubt in Mr Mudavadi’s supporters, he told Mr Mudavadi at a public gathering to forget his quest for the presidency, arguing he could not mobilise campaign resources, or match the DP’s war chest.
“If my brother Mr Mudavadi cannot raise Sh200 billion for presidential campaigns in 2022, let him forget it,” Mr Echesa said, drawing Mr Mudavadi’s fury.