The genesis of the bad blood between Ruto and Kanu chairman and Baringo Senator Gideon Moi may perhaps be traced to the DP inheriting former President Moi’s political mantle more than 11 years ago.
It is however the feeling of the majority of Rift Valley residents that Moi’s family should reciprocate the support Ruto gave to their father by rallying behind his leadership instead of undermining him.
Although in the recent past supporters of Ruto and Gideon have engaged in ugly public spats, the latter must have come to terms with the fact that he would lose politically unless he works together with Ruto so as also not to deny the region another chance at the presidency.
Ruto remains the undisputed king of Rift Valley politics and enjoys support beyond the region, unlike Gideon, who sees himself as the natural heir of his father’s mantle of Kalenjin leadership.
But political realignment is taking shape in the vote-rich Rift Valley, as those perceived to be rebels against DP Ruto are now engaging in reconciliatory efforts to enable them to remain politically relevant, come the General Election.
This is why Gideon has come out forcefully to say he has no problem working with the Deputy President, a political strategy tactic to remain relevant come Election Day.
There was also a feeling among the voters that rebel MPs were being used by the NASA to divide the community’s votes to deny the Jubilee administration an opportunity for reelection.
What Kenyans need to understand is that Rift Valley politics had always been clear before the 2007 general election, when the Kalenjin community rallied behind Ruto, then Eldoret North MP, to vote for ODM candidate Raila Odinga to the last man.
It could be a tall order for Gideon, among other rebel MPs, to convince Rift Valley residents, and especially members of the Kalenjin community, to reconsider their political stand on the DP.
But the move by Gideon to declare that he is not opposed to Ruto’s leadership is welcome and aimed at remaining political relevant. Undermining the DP’s leadership would have cost Gideon dearly.
Gideon needs Ruto more than the DP needs him.
Kaino works for the Deputy President’s Press Service