By Dikembe Disembe
Deputy President William Ruto is scheduled to tour Migori County for a fundraising event at Ranen SDA Church where he will be hosted by Migori Governor John Obado among other leaders in the region.
The Deputy President is heading to Luo Nyanza at pivotal moment in the TNA-URP pact with accusations that his URP wing is being sidelined from the government by President Uhuru’s TNA in the historic fashion, scale and manner that PNU under former President Kibaki sidelined ODM under Raila Odinga.
But the tour is set to heighten internal Luo supremacy rivalries pitting ODM party and CORD leader Raila Odinga against a renegade Migori County Governor John Obado.
It is not lost to observers that Gov Obado recently snubbed the home-coming party of Suna East MP Junnet Mohammed which was attended by former Prime Minister and Luo Supremo, Raila Odinga.
Gov. Obado and the Deputy President are long time political and ‘business friends’ whose relationship dates back to the time when the DP was Agricultural Minister and Obado the then Chairman of Kenya Sugar Board. This was, coincidentally, the height of Ruto-Raila feuds in ODM which spiralled in the Grand Coalition government leading to the final Ruto (kalenjin) walkout.
When Kobado lost to Raila’s protege, Prof Oyugi Akong’o during the (shambolic) ODM nominations, sources claim he almost went for URP party ticket but chose the then friendlier party, PDP, of former South Mugirango MP Omingo Magara. He would use this party to trounce the ODM/Raila favourite during the elections. But the war was far from over as ODM took the fight to the courts where Obado was again declared validly elected. Since then, the Governor has snubbed ODM top hierarchy.
Ruto’s visit to Migori County is interpreted (on the ground) as a continuation of this current Luo political realignment. With 2017 politics set to officially start in the new year, despite claims that Ruto will remain Uhuru’s deputy for the next 10 years, the Deputy President is one scheming politician. He may not.
Can the Luo support Ruto? First, the Deputy President’s forays in the region will depend on the role Raila Odinga decides to play in the post-2013 politics. If Raila returns to the ballot, Luo Nyanza, in its traditional fashion, will vote the son of Jaramogi almost to a man. More so, South Nyanza has remained Tinga’s core stronghold more than any other region of Nyanza.
Second, if Odinga decides to call it a day; Luo Nyanza votes may be inherited by whoever the former PM will chose to back, especially inside the CORD coalition. Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka, according to pundits, has strategically remained closer to the opposition side, waiting Â for Raila to return the 2013 favour in a pre-2017 ‘Kalonzo Tosha’ moment, as happened to Kibaki in 2002.
The third option is for the community which traditionally votes as a bloc to divide its vote; may be here is where Ruto’s calculation lies. Again, in the extraordinary Kenya style, Ruto may get that all powerful endorsement of Raila Odinga, which will be a game changer because, for all that can be seen, politically, it is only the son of Samoei who can take on Mt Kenya Mafia with a fighting chance!
Luo Nyanza still reels of the effects of the 2007 violence. Not a community that organizes to mourn for long, Luo victims were integrated in the larger community and without IDP camps or counts, Luo victims became community burdens. But the stories of Mungiki in Naivasha and Nairobi and Nakuru are are still eerily chilling, meaning, current President Uhuru Kenyatta, accused of sponsoring the Mungiki, is still a long short to inherit the Luo votes.
Quite clearly, it can be said that the Deputy President still has his chances in Luo Nyanza. He only needs to ‘respect’ Raila Odinga and stop such idiotic behaviour as failing to recognise the Flame of Freedom in public gatherings where Jakom’s presence is both conspicuous and auspicious.
Remember, I have argued here that Luo votes are ‘inherited’; forget the much hyped ‘development record’ hullabaloo. It counts to zero alongside Lake Victoria. Zilch.