Key faces behind William Ruto’s election victory

William Samoei Ruto will ascend to the presidency on Tuesday, September 13, replacing his immediate boss President Uhuru Kenyatta. Their tumultuous relationship notwithstanding, Ruto’s ascendency to the highest office in Kenya, on his first try is remarkable.

Following the contentious presidential elections in 2017, President Kenyatta choose the path of peace extending an olive branch to his fierce rival Raila Odinga, for the famous handshake. The ripple effect would see the cordial relationship between Uhuru and Ruto savored with the latter beginning his plot for the presidency.

In 2020, it was apparent that Jubilee would not back Ruto’s presidential bid, forcing him to form United Democratic Alliance Party and later the Kenya Kwanza coalition.

Kenya Kwanza began purging the other parties, bringing in Ford Kenya and its party leader Moses Wetangula, as well as ANC’s Musalia Mudavadi, Amason Kingi of The Pamoja African Alliance (PAA), Communist Party of Kenya, Devolution Party, Economic Freedom Party, Farmers Party, The Service Party, Tujibebe Wakenya Party, and Umoja Maendeleo Party.

But there is a group of men and women who were involved in the strategy, campaigning as well as communications for the president-elect. This group was vital in propelling Ruto to a win.

Veronica Maina

She is not only UDA’s Secretary General, but she is also Ruto’s Ms Fix it. She has been involved in shaping stories around the party as well as overseeing the yellow wave that has left many in Mt. Kenya scratching their heads.

She has overseen the growth of UDA from obscurity to the majority in Parliament and Senate.

Dennis Itumbi

He is another of Ruto’s bishops. The former director of digital communications at State House played a vital role in the communications team that worked for President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy during the 2013 and 2017 elections.

With social media increasingly becoming a key battleground of narratives and messaging, Itumbi led a team of online influencers that shaped Ruto’s agenda online and kept his image in the feeds of the electorate.

Hussein Mohamed

In January 2022, he was appointed Head of Communications for Ruto’s presidential campaign and quickly became the mouthpiece of the campaign.

He briefed the public on the campaign plans while responding to issues arising during the elections.

Mohammed established himself as a top-tier journalist in the country while at Citizen TV. He hosted The Big Question, where he interviewed high-profile politicians including President Uhuru Kenyatta, the DP, and Raila Odinga.

Davis Chirchir

He is the Chief of Staff at DP Ruto’s office and the Chief Executive of his presidential campaign. The former Energy Minister was involved in the planning and coordination of campaigning schedules.

Josephat Nanok

The former Turkana Governor was the Director General of the DP Ruto Campaign.  He was mandated to chair and coordinate all the activities of UDA campaign formations.

David Ndii

He led the team that coordinated all county bottom-up economic forums where UDA received the majority of issues ailing Kenyans. From the county forums, Ndii went on to coordinate the formation of county charters that helped create the manifesto.

The economy expert is the brain behind Ruto’s manifesto dubbed ‘The Plan’.

Ambassador Ababu Namwamba

He was appointed the Head of International Relations of the Ruto Presidential Campaign Secretariat. Namwamba has served as Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as well as Budalangi MP.

Others involved in the campaign are David Mugonyi, Emmanuel Talam, Munyori Buku, and Eric Ngeno in communications.

On strategy, there have been people like Linda Musumba, Korir Sing’oei, Irene Asienga, and Eliud Owalo.

Ruto also wooed into his camp political mercenaries like National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi, Professor Kithure Kindiki, Garissa township MP, Aden Duale, and MP for Kiharu constituency Ndindi Nyoro.

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