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Kenya: Ruto Hints at Rigathi Gachagua as His 2022 Running Mate

Nyeri — Deputy President William Ruto's United Democratic Alliance (UDA) has settled on its likely candidate for a running mate post in the next election.

The clearest hint was given Saturday in Nyeri by DP Ruto that he will most likely pick on Mathira Member of Parliament Rigathi Gachagua as his running mate.

"I want to ask you for one favour, allow Gachagua to accompany me to other parts of the country so that we can be able to win this seat. Free him so that he can engage in national politics," Ruto told Nyeri residents Saturday during one of his many tours to the region.

Ruto said that Gachagua is one of his trusted ally and as such he would want him in his national campaign to boost his chances of becoming president next year.

Gachagua is seen as a powerful force in Central Kenya politics due his strong mobilisation skills and deep pockets even though he faces numerous corruption battles with the government.

Loosely translated in politics, Ruto was asking the residents to allow the MP to play politics on the national stage as opposed to seeking any elective seat in the county or constituency.

Political analysts have always predicted that Ruto is likely to pick his running mate from the vote-rich Central Kenya to maximise his potential of winning the presidency in August when incumbent president Uhuru Kenyatta will be leaving office.

Kenyatta campaigned in a joint ticket with Ruto, winning two elections but fell out in this last term over the president's dalliance with Opposition chief Raila Odinga whom he favours to be his successor.

It is also rumoured that Odinga whose Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party is set to merge with Kenyatta's Jubilee will also settle on a Central Kenya running mate.

Opinion is however, divided on who the candidate will be, with others speculating on former MP Peter Kenneth, Narc Kenya party leader Martha Karua, Governors Lee Kinyanjui (Nakuru) among others.

Ruto has made inroads into Central Kenya, which he describes as his political bedrock, but Kenyatta and Raila have dismissed him as "running a sprint instead of a marathon" and vowed to defeat him in the next elections.

Other key presidential aspirants so far include Musalia Mudavadi (Amani National Congress (ANC), Kalonzo Musyoka (Wiper), Gideon Moi (KANU), Moses Wetangula (Ford Kenya), Alfred Mutua (Maendeleo Chap Chap) among others.