BY NAMULONGO PETER,NAIROBI,1ST JULY 2022-Azimio La Umoja One Kenya leader Raila Odinga’s presidential prospects might enjoy a boost from the public spats his main rival and Deputy President William Ruto is having with his boss, President Uhuru Kenyatta.
This is according to research analyst Dr. Tom Wolf, who is a political analyst for research firm TIFA. Dr. Wolf said in a Sunday interview with Citizen TV that the fight, which has escalated to murder accusations, might make Kenyans lose trust in DP Ruto in favour of Mr. Odinga.
“As methodical as the DP is in his campaign strategy, I don’t think his response to the president’s camp is just spontaneous. I am sure that with his think-tank they have decided that this is the best approach; to counter it head-on,” Dr. Wolf told the host Sam Gituku.
“I think with the barbs being exchanged between the president and his deputy, in a way it makes Raila – who is not in the middle of this – look more sober and relaxed. Given the fact that more Kenyans are conservative in their personal relations, they might be put off a bit by this mud slinging. I am not sure,” he added.
President Kenyatta’s public disagreements with his deputy – who is seeking to succeed him on a Kenya Kwanza alliance ticket – have courted rebuke from parties like the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) as well as the clergy.
The two have been primarily arguing over who is to blame for the Jubilee government’s 10-year tenure’s wins and losses, together with Mr. Kenyatta’s endorsement of Mr. Odinga as his preferred successor, despite Dr. Ruto previously supporting him (Uhuru) in the 2013 and 2017 elections.
According to the pollster, President Kenyatta’s endorsement of Mr. Odinga could be used in favour of Ruto’s bid because of Kenyans’ frustration with the current economic situation.
However, Dr. Wolf noted that the DP risks losing that chance if he continues trading salvos with his boss.
“The DP is aware that Kenyans are unhappy with the status quo… so in a way he might think; If the president represents the status quo and if the president represents the status quo and is supporting my opponent, that supports me. But does it, really? I’m not sure,” he argued.
In recent developments, the president on Sunday responded to Kenya Kwanza’s camp’s recent salvo of attacks in which they asked him to stop interfering in their political affairs.
President Kenyatta told the camp to stop dragging his name into their campaign trails and instead, focus on drumming up support for their bid.
“Campaign for yourself and leave me alone. I am doing my job, I finish, you go and ask for votes, if Kenyans vote for you it is okay, if they don’t we go home together where is the problem. The world will still go on.”
Last week, President Kenyatta attacked his deputy, terming Dr. Ruto unfit to succeed him.
“Hata hawa wengine ni wetu lakini inaonekana they need time kutulia, kuwacha matusi ,kutulia, kuwacha speed mingi na kujua kazi na ukweli washinda matusi na chuki,” said Mr. Kenyatta.
In response, his deputy fired back on Thursday asking the president to stop mentioning his name in his campaigns.
DP Ruto, however, raised it a notch on Friday in an angry outburst in Kapsabet, asking Uhuru to stop issuing threats and leave his people alone, claiming that a plot was being planned to harm him alongside his family and allies.
“Mimi nataka nimwambie rais, wacha kuniletea maneno wewe skuma candidate wako, Mr President stop talking about me, talk about your candidate, I supported you and if you do not want to support me leave me alone,” said Dr. Ruto.
Meanwhile, the most recent TIFA poll placed Odinga as the most preferred contender in the August 9 race to State House with a popularity rating of 46.7 percent.
DP Ruto came in second with a popularity rating of 44.4 percent while his Roots Party counterpart Prof. George Wajackoyah was third at 1.8 percent.
Agano Party presidential candidate David Mwaure’s popularity stood at 0.1 percent according to the survey conducted between July 21 to July 26, 2022.