In Summary
  • Out of the 19.6 million voters registered by the time the country went to the elections in 2017, the areas he targets had registered half of the total vote.
  • To ensure media coverage at the events, there are occasions his communication teams are split into three and dispatched to different parts of target regions ahead of his visits.

Deputy President William Ruto is systematically executing an elaborate vote-hunting strategy to lock key Jubilee Party traditional support bases and penetrate opposition strongholds.

According to his strategists, Dr Ruto has zoned the country into three regions: red, green and battleground zones.

Red refers to Luo Nyanza, which Dr Ruto believes would be an exercise in futility in trying to win it over without a political pact with the regional supremo Raila Odinga.

He is therefore not going to waste his precious time there for now, but his strategy for the region includes securing pockets of votes in Kisii, Nyamira and Kuria in Migori County.

According to his lieutenants, some of whom spoke in confidence to the Sunday Nation, the Rift Valley and Central (green) are perceived to be behind him and all he has to do is retain support by intensifying visits and avoiding any major political blunders in the next three years.

Some experts however hold that the Central Kenya vote should not be listed as secured since there are many undercurrents.

Central support remains unpredictable with the unity of the ruling Jubilee Party and President Uhuru Kenyatta’s stand as crucial factors ahead of the next election.

REGISTERED VOTERS

The working paper further identifies Coast, Western, Ukambani and Gusiiland as battleground zones that can tilt in Dr Ruto’s favour if he bombards them continuously.

The Sunday Nation further learnt that the DP’s diary is fully packed until June next year and if need be, he will be required to address more than three counties, with fundraisers forming the bulk of the engagements every week.

“His calendar is tight until next year,” Belgut MP Nelson Koech, a member of DP’s strategy team, divulged.

Accordingly, Dr Ruto has created clusters comprising politicians on whose backs he wants to ride to market his ambition.

“Depending on how we mapped out the country, we have distinctive teams charged with areas of focus. The aim is to realise targeted messaging and to cover as much ground as possible in our development tours,” former Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale, now a key Ruto ally from Western, said.

Out of the 19.6 million voters registered by the time the country went to the elections in 2017, the areas he targets had registered half of the total vote.

Kiambu (1.18 million), Nakuru (949,618), Kakamega (743,736), Meru (702, 480), Murang’a (587,126), Mombasa (580,223), Bungoma (559,850), Kisii (546,580) and Kilifi (508,068).

Others are Trans Nzoia (339,622), Laikipia (246,487), Nyamira (278,853), Nyeri (456,949), Nyandarua (335,634) and Kirinyaga (349,836).

LOBBY GROUPS

In the Coast region, he has his eyes trained on Kwale (281,041), Tana River (118,327), Taita Taveta (155,716) and Lamu (69,776). There is also Tharaka Nithi (213,154) and Embu (309,468).

Even though Dr Ruto has repeatedly said he has not started campaigning, his strategists tell of a deliberate pattern in his visits at this early stage to have a head start over competitors.

Several lobbies linked to the campaign have also been formed; Inua mama lobby comprising the likes of Alice Wahome, Aisha Jumwa, Susan Kihika and Millicent Omanga has been charged with checkmating Team Embrace that is opposed to the idea of Dr Ruto succeeding President Kenyatta.

Our sources within the strategy team also said that from next year, there will be a vibrant youth wing, Vijana na Ruto, to endear younger population to his side.

In the past one year alone, the DP has made more than 350 tours to different parts of the country with more concentration in Central, Coast and Western, regions he is persuaded hold key to his State House ambition beyond his secured Rift bloc.

In Western, the thinking is that the continuing confusion with no clear unity plan presents attractive prospects.

CHURCH ANGLE

It explains why he has many pointmen such as Senate Speaker Ken Lusaka, Majority Whip Ben Washiali and now Dr Khalwale.

On Saturday, Dr Ruto was in Mbeere, Embu County, and is today expected in Mathioya, Murang’a, for a church fundraiser.

To ensure media coverage at the events, there are occasions his communication teams are split into three and dispatched to different parts of target regions ahead of his visits.

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