The scramble for the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) ticket has intensified in the South Rift Valley region with former critics of Deputy President William Ruto defecting to the party.
Politicians, who have previously led the onslaught against the DP, have been forced to eat humble pie to save their political careers.
The move has caused disquiet among Ruto allies who have all along been drumming up support for him and the party in the region. Of concern to them is whether Ruto will abandon the old timers in favour of the new comers.
But speaking when he met UDA aspirants from the region in Nairobi recently, the DP sought to assure the candidates of a free and fair party primaries, saying no one would be favoured over another.
“We only hope Ruto will keep his word and allow people to compete freely for the tickets in UDA,” former Bomet mayor Kipkemoi Barsumei said.
CCM stand The latest to join the Ruto camp is former Kuresoi MP Zakayo Cheruiyot (pictured) who has been a member of the Chama cha Mashinani (CCM).
Former Bomet Governor leader Isaac Ruto, who is the leader of CCM, former Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) Secretary General Wilson Sossion, who is an ODM nominated MP and Ministry of Laboir Chief Administrative Secretary Patrick Ntutu.
Ruto is expected to face off with Governor Hillary Barchok and Chief Administrative Secretary John Mosonik in the race for the Bomet governor seat.
But Ruto has maintained that while he supports the DP’s presidential bid, he will not fold his party.
Sossion and Bomet Senator Christopher Lang’at will square it out for the UDA ticket for the senatorial seat. Lang’at had earlier this month described Sossion’s entry into the party as insincere, arguing that he had backed BBI which was opposed by the Deputy President’s camp.
He claimed Sossion was still an ODM member who was only riding on UDA to obtain the ticket.
In Narok, Ntutu is one of those eyeing the gubernatorial seat and wants to run on the UDA party ticket. Ntutu ran on a CCM party ticket in the 2017 election but lost Governor Samuel Tunai.