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.

Understand Africa's tomorrow... today

We believe that Africa is poorly represented, and badly under-estimated. Beyond the vast opportunity manifest in African markets, we highlight people who make a difference; leaders turning the tide, youth driving change, and an indefatigable business community. That is what we believe will change the continent, and that is what we report on. With hard-hitting investigations, innovative analysis and deep dives into countries and sectors, The Africa Report delivers the insight you need.

View subscription options
Also in this in Depth:

Kenya 2022: Voters fear election violence from resurgent Mungiki sect

With elections in Kenya just two months away, voters are worried about the resurgence of the violent Mungiki gang that unleashed ethnic violence across the country after the 2007 poll.

Kenya 2022: What to expect in this year’s most competitive elections

Political analysts have billed this year’s election as one of the most competitive in Kenya’s history, pitting deputy president William Ruto against the godfather of opposition politics Raila Odinga. There is already fear that the cut-throat competition for the top seat might fail to produce an outright winner hence forcing a run-off.

Kenya: Who’s who in Raila Odinga’s Azimio la Umoja alliance?

Presidential contender and former prime minister Raila Odinga is counting on his skills in building a coalition to take on deputy president William Ruto in the August 2022 polls. One Kenya Alliance leaders Kalonzo Musyoka and Gideon Moi have joined Raila's Azimio la Umoja coalition, setting the stage for a face-off with deputy president William Ruto and his Kenya Kwanza Alliance.

Kenya: Why Raila & Ruto remain quiet on land justice issues

For the first time in decades, Kenya’s leading presidential candidates are skirting around the explosive issue of land justice – instead of exploiting it as a way to mobilise voters to their campaigns.   Both candidates – for different reasons – have chosen to accept the status quo on legal regime on land rights

Kenya 2022: Who is Rigathi Gachagua, Ruto’s running mate?

Kenya’s Deputy President William Ruto has picked an ardent critic of President Uhuru Kenyatta to deputise him for the next five years should he win the August presidential election.

Kenya 2022: Raila promises the moon with Azimio manifesto

Presidential candidate Raila Odinga's Azimio coalition manifesto promises voters a range of freebies that many political analysts believe will be impossible to fully deliver if he wins the 9 August elections. Will Kenya's 22 million registered voters take the bait?

Can Kenya’s ‘Iron Lady’ Martha Karua push Raila over the top?

Presidential candidate Raila Odinga made Kenyan history this month when he chose as his running mate the first woman to ever join a major party ticket. But will she be able to push the Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Alliance leader to the top?

Kenya 2022: Your guide to the four presidential candidates

On 9 August, more than 22 million Kenyan voters will head to polling stations to choose who will be their leader for the next five years. Four men have presented themselves to succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta. Who are they, and what are they offering?

Kenya 2022: Is Kenyatta losing his grip to Ruto in home turf of Kiambu County?

Kenya’s general election has been billed as a contest between political dynasties versus self-made politicians. Kiambu County, which is part of the larger Mt. Kenya region, has traditionally been a vote bank for President Uhuru Kenyatta. But with Deputy President William Ruto gaining in strength, will this election mark the end of Kenyatta influence on Kiambu politics?

Kenya 2022: Electoral battlegrounds to watch during polling day

Kenya's two leading presidential candidates are banking on voter turnout in their respective regional strongholds to win the coveted prize. Final opinion polls show former Prime Minister Raila Odinga pulling ahead of Deputy President William Ruto, but a run-off — the first in the nation's history — looms as a possibility. Which regions will determine the big race?

Kenya 2022 elections: Taxes, costlier loans top concerns for businesses ahead of polls

What does Kenya's business community want from the new government that is set to be elected on 9 August?

Kenya 2022: Whose mobilising strategy will win voters?

As Kenya's election day nears, the top presidential contenders William Ruto and Raila Odinga have shifted focus on getting out the vote to ensure a first round win. Who will have the perfect strategy to deliver the knock-out blow on 9 August?

Kenya 2022: Who will be crowned leader of voter-rich Nakuru county?

Kenya’s top presidential candidates William Ruto and Raila Odinga have been competing for attention in the voter-rich Rift Valley region.

Kenya: Why arrest of Venezuelans fuels fear of post-poll turmoil

What appeared as a normal arrest of  a foreigner at Kenya’s main airport has now turned into a major row between the electoral commission and the police, threatening to throw one of the country’s most competitive elections into disarray. Will the elections be deemed credible after all is done and dusted?

Kenya 2022: Could George Wajackoyah force a runoff between Ruto and Odinga?

Kenya's fringe presidential candidate George Wajackoyah is causing shockwaves in the political battlefield with some analysts fearing that his rising popularity might force a run-off for the first time in the country’s history. Is the Wajackoyah effect real or just a passing cloud?

Kenya 2022: Debt, corruption, and living costs top concerns as Kenyans go to polls

A mix of fear and hope hangs over Kenya as more than 22 million registered voters get the chance to elect the country’s next president on Tuesday.

As Kenya voted, the East Africa region watched in awe, desperation

The East African region has been watching Kenya's recent elections unfold. In Uganda, the election evoked recollections of last year's election, which were characterised by violence meted out on opposition politicians. In South Sudan, one of the countries where Kenyans in the diaspora voted, its citizens wondered when their country will hold its first election. Meanwhile, many Tanzanians praised the maturity of Kenya’s democracy.

Kenya elections 2022: Results awaited as candidates ask why so many people did not vote

As Kenyans wait for final results of the tight presidential race pitting deputy president William Ruto against former prime minister Raila Odinga, questions still linger why Kenyans defied the clarion call to turn out in large numbers and vote. Why did millions of Kenyans stay away?

Kenya 2022: International observers praise voting, warn on disinformation

As Kenyans wait for the final presidential results, international observers – in their preliminary reports – say the voting exercise was largely peaceful, even though there has been spread of disinformation that confused some voters.

Kenya 2022: Elections marred by low-voter turnout, technology failure, bribery

After the polls in one of Kenya’s most competitive elections ended on Tuesday evening, the focus now shifts to counting the presidential votes. Who between William Ruto and Raila Odinga will win the coveted prize?

Kenya 2022: Why Kenyans must wait before results are announced

22.1 million Kenyan voters are expected to head to their voting stations to choose who their leaders for the next five years will be. However, Kenyans will have to wait nearly a week to find out who will be the winner of this highly anticipated election due to the strict legal regime of the tallying process. We break down the process and voting technicalities.

Kenya 2022: Ruto declared winner of presidential election, Raila to contest in court

After nearly a week of tallying ballots, Kenya's Independent Electoral Bureau Commission (IEBC) has officially declared Deputy President William Ruto of the Kenya Kwanza Alliance as the fifth president of the country.

Kenya 2022: Raila and Ruto are poaching star journalists as the independent media declines

With less than six months before one of the tightest presidential elections in Kenya’s history, the two main contenders have recruited journalists for leading roles in their campaign.

Kenya: Why does the electoral commission struggle with elections each time?

Despite being allocated billions of shillings every five years, the electoral body continues to fail the test of delivering a free, fair and verifiable presidential election leaving many voters worried about the country’s political future. Is delivering an uncontested presidential election in Kenya an impossible task? And what really happened this time round?