The battle for Kibra MP’s seat has been judged as a testing ground for DP William Ruto and ODM leader Raila Odinga.
Foot soldiers, especially on DP Ruto’s camp, are keen on weighing the might of Baba, who will presumably give another shot at presidency come 2022.
DP Ruto’s camp bases on the assumption that a footballer McDonald Mariga’s win in Kibra will herald the self-proclaimed ‘hustler’ dawn as a national leader.
However, the campaign team should not rest on their laurels, even if Jubilee Party (JP) wins the seat, wrestling it from ODM, and in its perceived stronghold.
A JP win in Kibra (a sort of miracle) does not represent the entire country. if anything, Baba shall still maintain influence in ODM zones, just as Rift Valley people will maintain their allegiance to DP Ruto.
If the building Bridges Initiative (BBI) is anything to go by, the calls for a referendum will effectively test DP Ruto’s influence should it pit Raila against DP Ruto.
The handshake has been repeatedly dismissed by DP Ruto’s camp and should the BBI report recommend a referendum, that will be Ruto’s chance to showcase his might against the former premier.
DP Ruto through his aides has repeatedly talked of the handshake being used to sabotage the ruling party , JP. The decision by President Uhuru Kenyatta to support McDonald Mariga was celebrated wildly by supporters of Jubilee Party and was seen as a coup against the handshake.
In the long run, a JP party win in the Kibra by-elections will not be solely attributed to DP Ruto, but the entire ruling party. As such, it is not a sufficient measure of DP Ruto’s rising political star.