The emergence of the Kieleweke group has led to the crystallisation of team Tanga Tanga, a fiercely ambitious mix of youthful politicians backing Dr Ruto.

They got their name when President Kenyatta remarked that Dr Ruto goes around the country akitanga tanga (roaming around), in what was interpreted as a rebuke to Dr Ruto, but which they took as a licence for him to tour the country.

With no clear leader except the DP himself, and as slippery as a Mt Kenya trout, the group harangues anyone perceived as a threat to the DP. Their political machinery is well-oiled.

HARAMBEE

Every weekend they put up posters online outlining Dr Ruto’s activities, their message backed by bloggers across the jungle that is social media. They have cash and splash it at harambees.

Tabulations by the Nation mid last year showed that the team was contributing at least Sh7 million a month, mostly during church harambees.

Dr Ruto has also gone on overdrive to launch projects across the country, unavailability of cash notwithstanding.

They have also launched a dynasty versus hustlers political storyline, insisting that those opposing a Ruto presidency are the old-guard who do not want the son of a peasant to ascend to power.

The other main political figures in the country, including President Kenyatta, Nasa leader Raila Odinga and ANC chief Musalia Mudavadi, come from aristocratic and mostly wealthy families with name recognition, a privilege Dr Ruto does not enjoy.

“Rich political brokers are only thinking about how to grow their wealth and do not trust the hustler son of a peasant. But votes belong to the common hustler and Wanjiku, who will back Ruto in 2022,” a member of team Tanga Tanga said.

ACCESSIBILITY

Their aim is to ensure that the DP becomes president in 2022. “Our business is Ruto and Ruto is our business. He brings development to us,” Mr Nyoro added.

But Dr Ruto’s allure goes beyond development.

They argue that Dr Ruto is more accessible and pressures ministries and parastatals to fast-track projects, while getting an appointment with the President is not easy.

“The DP is more available. He even picks our calls,” Mr Linturi said.

Others, like Mr Gachagua, accuse the Murathe group of fronting Mr Mudavadi to succeed President Kenyatta.

“The same fellows who were pushing for Mr Mudavadi in 2013 are back. They want to edge out Dr Ruto the way they tried to keep Uhuru from the Presidency,” he added.

The third force comprises those eyeing the Presidency in Jubilee but are prepared to bolt if the party “shortchanges” them.

CONTENDERS

As the only governor who was re-elected in Central Kenya, Mr Wa Iria has set his eyes on the presidency or deputy presidency.

His allies have registered the Civic Renewal Party and are marketing the new political outfit.

Others are reviving old parties like PNU (Party of National Unity) and DP (Democratic Party). Though some remain cagey about their plans, Mr Kuria has come out in the open.

“I will run for the Presidency in Jubilee as a progressive candidate who offers practical solutions, not theories and dreams,” he said early this week in an interview with this writer.

But critics accuse him of running half a race, with the aim of being appointed deputy president or CS in the next government. “Why can’t someone be my deputy? I am not going to be anyone’s running mate. Wacheni nyinyi,” he responded, in typical Kuria style.

TRUCE

But Mr Ngunjiri has a political punch for the Kieleweke operatives.

“The people who will move ahead with Jubilee are those who toe the line and support the anti-graft war, “handshake” and reduction of political noise,” he added.

The infighting was further fuelled by the March 9 “handshake”. Political analyst Philip Kamau and former Subukia MP Koigi Wamwere said the making of the rebellion started when the President made peace with his competitor and accommodated him in government.


“The President and other Jubilee leaders were elected on the platform of an anti-Raila campaign. President Kenyatta was not elected on the platform of development legacy or anti-corruption war,” Mr Wamwere said.

Additional reporting by Joseph Wangui

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