Kanu and Chama Cha Mashinani (CCM) seem to be courting, at least going by their latest political undertakings in Rift Valley, despite each of the parties supporting different presidential candidates, officially.
Residents say it is difficult differentiating the two parties’ interests, with Kanu supporting President Uhuru Kenyatta’s re-election and CCM backing opposition leader Raila Odinga.
The relationship seems to have been cemented a year ago during the Nyangores civic by-election in Bomet, in which Kanu backed CCM candidate Andrew Maritim.
Kanu chairman Gideon Moi and secretary-general Nick Salat teamed up with Governor Isaac Ruto to deliver the seat.
The Kanu and CCM brigade went ahead to campaign for Kanu senatorial candidate Paul Sang in Kericho who, however, lost to Jubilee’s Aaron Cheruiyot.
Mr Ruto says Kanu and CCM have had a working relationship for almost two years, especially in the North and South Rift region.
Though Kanu has backed Jubilee in this year’s election, it still has an unwritten working arrangement with CCM, he adds.
“CCM has no problem working with Kanu in this election, especially in the South Rift.
“There are areas where they ceded ground for us and we ceded for them before they were swallowed by Jubilee,” Mr Ruto said.
He added: “Kanu finds itself in a very tight spot as they are being undermined by Jubilee top guns, especially the Deputy President who does not recognise them and has planted candidates against them all over the place.”
Only recently, Mr Moi, also Baringo Senator, and other Kanu leaders threatened to withdraw their support for Jubilee Party, accusing Deputy President William Ruto of insulting a section of its members.
The leaders were in Narok South for the launch of a manifesto for Narok CCM governorship candidate Patrick Ntutu’s brother Sylvester Ntutu, who wants to be area MP on a Kanu ticket,
“We are experiencing reckless statements from the Jubilee side, which is not safe for the two sides. But I am meeting the president in person to discuss the matter,” Mr Moi said.
He added: “It is disheartening to see elected leaders threatened to the point they cannot express their views. The Deputy President should respect other leaders.”
This simmering feud between Kanu and Jubilee could be a curtain raiser for the 2022 poll battle in which the DP and Mr Moi are each set to gun for State House.
In this context, the relationship between Kanu and CCM could also be a scheme to lock out the DP in his 2022 presidential bid.
In Baringo County, where Mr Moi is defending his senatorial seat, Jubilee is backing Simon Chelugui while in Bomet, Christopher Langat has been set up against Kanu luminary Nick Salat.
When the President and his deputy were in Bomet recently, Mr Salat was neither recognised nor invited to speak in any forum.
In Narok County, Emurua Dikirr MP Johana Ng’eno is a perfect example of the gamblers.
His move to Kanu a few days to nominations shocked many, who had expected him to use CCM for his re-election.
But he defends his move to Kanu, terming it a well-laid strategy between him, Governor Ruto and Senator Moi.
“I support Isaac Ruto in his re-election bid as Bomet Governor; Gideon Moi as Baringo Senator and his 2022 presidential bid and Narok CCM governorship candidate Patrick Ntutu,” he said in an interview with Saturday Nation.
But he sprung yet another surprise recently when he made statements that hint he could be warming up to opposition presidential candidate Raila Odinga.
“Kwani tukipea Raila kura tutakufa……..(are we going to die if we vote for Raila)?” he asked in one of the rallies in Narok County.
The 45-year-old bachelor and one of the greatest critics of the Jubilee leadership says he has asked his supporters to vote for leaders of their choice, adding he would not be coerced to rally his supporters behind Mr Kenyatta.
“We were willing to support them, but they seem not to value our votes and keep on insulting us. We did not want a contest between CCM and Kanu in Rift Valley and hence we agreed on how to share the seat,” he said.
He said the decision was made long before Kanu decided to back Jubilee and CCM to rally behind National Super Alliance.
“Our deal for the lower seats was binding and we have lived by it. The top seat is on another level,” the MP said.
Governor Ruto adds: “What matters to us is how we will win as many seats as possible. Kalenjin votes are not held in a gunny bag and that we should all vote in one direction. No one will hawk us.”