Deputy President William Ruto has crafted a “war council” for his 2022 presidential bid, with the team made up of old and new allies.
The list of advisers and strategists includes former allies of Orange Democratic Movement leader Raila Odinga.
It also has State officials and beneficiaries of the Jubilee government who are keeping a low profile until the “right time” comes. The “war council” is expected to be unleashed ahead of the looming referendum and the General Election.
The Team Ruto council consists of political and technical advisers, religious leaders and trade unionists.
It is expected to offer day-to-day advice on how to tackle opposition and endear him to Kenyans. The team of technical advisers consists of technocrats that will offer advice the country’s economy.
FORMER ELECTED LEADERS
Dr Ruto has taken some advisers from the Raila-led National Super Alliance (Nasa) on board, including two members of the steering committee — former senators Boni Khalwale (Kakamega) and Johnson Muthama (Machakos).
Also in the team is former Mombasa Senator Hassan Omar. Mr Muthama is leading a team of former elected leaders who have pledged their loyalty to Dr Ruto.
The DP has also befriended Mr Caroli Omondi, the businessman who was Mr Odinga’s chief-of-staff during the Government of National Unity. Until recently, his building — dubbed the Orange House — was the ODM headquarters.
Contacted, Mr Omondi was non-committal on his role in the plan.
“We are going to surprise our opponents as soon as the lockdown and cessation of movement are lifted,” Dr Khalwale said.
Mr Muthama said: “There are only two teams competing for the presidency. One is with Uhuru Kenyatta, Raila and Gideon Moi while the other is with Ruto and Kenyans.”
Mr Omar said there is need for Kenyans to stand against oppression and other ills affecting the country.
“As a nation, we need to rethink our position in many matters,” Mr Omar told the Nation.
The technical advisory team is led by former Energy Cabinet Secretary Davis Chirchir, the Jubilee presidential chief agent in the 2017 election.
The committee also has former diplomats, university lecturers, rights activists and lawyers. The team is working alongside advisers on government contract and some employed by the DP.
It is expected to come up with a manifesto and campaign strategies for 2022.
The advisers will cover many issues, including gender, agriculture and food security, social, youth affairs and politics.
The others are policy formulation, ICT and Infrastructure, media and public relations, climate change and environmental matters.
On women and gender issues, Dr Ruto will rely on Ms Beverly Moss and Ms Rebecca Tongei.
Youth matters will be spearheaded by Secretary of Youth Affairs in the Office of the Deputy President, Anthony Kibagendi, and Mr Dennis Itumbi, the former director of digital media in the Office of the President.
Mr Kibagendi and Mr Itumbi have been behind the drive to donate tanks, washing machines, motorbikes, car wash equipment and other stuff to young people.
Mr Itumbi has also been included in the DP’s media and public relations advisory team that also has Mr David Mugonyi and Emmanuel Talam, both journalists. Dr Ruto is setting up an online TV station.
Agriculture and food security issues will be articulated by Mr Augustine Cheruiyot, a development economist. He will also handle the “strategy” for the South Rift.
A strategy to deal with health and other social issues will be coordinated by former Turkana County Assembly Speaker Geoffrey Kaituko.
Dr Korir Sing’oei, the head of law and policy at the DP’s office, will handle political and legal affairs.
Dr Sing’oei, who previously worked with Katiba Institute, has also been charged with talking to the civil society to support Dr Ruto’s ambitions.