Kenya 2022: Who’s who in William Ruto’s Kenya Kwanza Alliance?

In depth
This article is part of the dossier: Kenya 2022: Who will win the great race?

By Jeff Otieno
Posted on Monday, 30 May 2022 10:34, updated on Tuesday, 28 June 2022 11:18

In early April, Deputy President William Ruto, a presidential contender, admitted eight new people to his Kenya Kwanza Alliance, bringing the total number of political parties to 12. However, unlike Raila Odinga’s Azimio la Umoja - a registered coalition party - Kenya Kwanza is an alliance of parties. We outline those closest to Ruto in the alliance.

The founding political parties are Ruto’s United Democratic Alliance (UDA), Musalia Mudavadi’s Amani National Congress (ANC) and Moses Wetangula’s Forum for Restoration of Democracy Kenya (Ford Kenya).

According to the power sharing agreement, if the alliance forms the next government, UDA will get 70%, while ANC and Ford Kenya will share the remaining 30. It comprises both seasoned and young politicians from different professional backgrounds.

The 62-year-old land economist is the party leader of ANC and one of the principals of the Kenya Kwanza Alliance. Mudavadi plunged into politics in 1989 when he inherited the Sabatia parliamentary seat vacated by his deceased father, who was one of the most powerful politicians in the early post-independent Kenya. He holds the record for serving the shortest period as Kenya’s vice president – just two months between November 2002 and January 2003.

He vied for presidency in the 2013 general election, coming a distant third behind Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga. In the 2017 general election, he teamed up with Raila to form the National Super Alliance (NASA) coalition, which lost to President Kenyatta’s Jubilee party. He decamped to Ruto’s side early this year, after falling out with Raila.

The 65-year-old is the Ford Kenya party leader and a principal in the Kenya Kwanza Alliance. Wetangula entered the political realm in 1993 courtesy of a nomination ticket to parliament issued by the then President Daniel Moi.

He won the Sirisia parliamentary seat in 2003 on a Ford Kenya party ticket after defecting from Kanu. His political star shone brighter after he was appointed minister of foreign affairs in the grand coalition government formed by then President Mwai Kibaki and Raila after the highly contested 2007 general election. In 2017, he supported Raila’s presidential bid under the NASA coalition and was rewarded with an appointment as senate minority leader. He was however replaced a year later after a fall out with Raila.

The MP for Mathira, born in 1965, is one of the trusted lieutenants of the deputy president. Before trying his luck in politics, Gachagua served as Kenyatta’s personal assistant between 2001 and 2006, cementing a close working relationship. As a result, the fallout between him and Kenyatta took many by surprise.

Before meeting Kenyatta, he had already worked as an assistant secretary in the ministry of home affairs and also as a district officer in various parts of the country. The relationship between Gachagua and Ruto can be traced back to 2002 when they were both in Kanu. He is currently fighting a corruption case in court involving at least KSh7.3bn ($62,985,331) suspected to be proceeds of crime. The Assets Recovery Agency obtained orders to freeze three of his accounts holding more than KSh200m ($1,725,626).

The 51-year-old Kirinyaga county governor is another surprise entry in the deputy president’s camp having been one of Kenyatta’s most trusted allies since 2013. Waiguru, an economist by profession, served as the first cabinet secretary in the ministry of devolution and planning and was credited for establishing Huduma centres – a one-stop shop for accessing government services – in the country. She resigned from government in 2015 after her ministry was found culpable in the National Youth Service (NYS) scandal in which Kenyan taxpayers lost more than KSh1bn ($8,628,128).

She however denied any involvement. In 2020, Waiguru was impeached by the Kirinyaga county assembly for alleged involvement in corruption, but the decision was overturned by the senate. Recently, the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) recommended her prosecution over graft.

The 36-year-old is the MP for Kiharu constituency and one of Ruto’s staunch supporters. An economist by profession, Nyoro is a self-made millionaire with interests in stock brokerage, construction, communication, energy, civil works, water engineering and drilling. He rose to prominence partly as a result of his disdain for Raila, a trait which can be traced back to his days as a student leader at Kenyatta University.

He served as the chairman for Kiharu Constituency Development Fund (CDF) from 2013 to 2016. He made history in the last general election when he, the first son of a peasant farmer, was elected MP in a constituency that was famous for producing prominent politicians, including multiparty democracy proponent Kenneth Matiba.

The accomplished economist and author is an advisor of the deputy president on economic matters. Ndii is one of the brains behind the bottom-up economic model, which is at the centre of the Kenya Kwanza Alliance’s campaigns. He holds a PhD from Oxford University and co-founded the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), Kenya’s first independent public policy think tank. He has served as an economic advisor to the Rwandan government.

Ndii’s decision to join Ruto’s camp left many Kenyans baffled, seeing as he was one of the fiercest critics of the Uhuru-Ruto administration. At one time, he vowed to move out of Kenya if Ruto becomes president in 2022. In 2017, he served as a strategist for the Raila-led NASA. The economist had a brush with the law when he posted a document titled Petition for Self-Determination, which the government believed was behind secession calls by a section of NASA supporters.

The 66-year-old lawyer is the speaker of the national assembly and the Democratic Party leader. Muturi has been a very close ally of Kenyatta since their days in Kanu back in early 2000. As a result, his decision to join Ruto was viewed by some of the president’s supporters as betrayal. Muturi was elected speaker in 2013 with the backing of Kenyatta and was retained after the 2017 elections.

He was first elected as an MP in 1999 after winning the by-election for the Siakago parliamentary seat on a Kanu party ticket. In 2013, Muturi unsuccessfully vied for the Mberee North parliamentary seat on Kenyatta’s TNA party ticket. He served as a member of the parliamentary select committee on constitutional review from 1999 to 2004. Before joining politics, Muturi worked as a principal magistrate between 1982 and 1997.

The 53-year-old is the former majority leader of the National Assembly and the MP for Garissa township. He was one of the casualties of the radical surgery that targeted Ruto’s allies holding powerful positions in parliament. A teacher by profession, Duale was first elected to parliament on an Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party ticket in 2007 to represent Dujis constituency. He was appointed an assistant minister for livestock in the grand coalition government in 2008.

In 2011, he followed Ruto out of ODM to form the United Republican Party (URP), which later formed a formidable coalition with Kenyatta’s TNA party, winning the 2013 general election. He was then appointed majority leader, a position he held until his ouster in June last year. Duale is also a successful businessman with investments in real estate, hospitality and agriculture sectors.

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