Ruto’s big dilemma in ODM-K poll

As the clock steadily ticks away to the crucial 2007 poll, the thorny issue of the ODM-K presidential candidate nomination is by day becoming a harrowing subject within the top ranks of a party that boasts a constellation of 8 presidential hopefuls.

Three of the hopefuls, former vice president Musalia Mudavadi, Raila Odinga and Kalonzo mUsyoka are now said to be burning mid-night oil dangling a carrot of running mate to none other than Kanu's secretary general William Ruto.

What attracts the three to Ruto is the huge Kalenjin vote that would apparently give one a head start in the general elections slated later in the year.

Mudavadi who had been banking on Raila's support for the presidential ticket going by the recent un-foldings it is evident, he must have realized that the latter this time round is taking nothing to chance.

Mudavadi has been on the roll, hitting the campaign blitz that is swelling by the day where he has categorically indicated that he is the best for the presidency and that he is not turning back. Mudavadi's calm composure and articulate way of objectivity appears to be winning him more supporters.

Sources say he has already reached for Ruto looking for the support of the fast rising start and a presumed Kalenjin kingspin at the moment.

And as if to tear Ruto from the other side Raila Odinga is seriously considering roping in Ruto on the same promise.

Although Raila did not personally attend Ruto's blue print launch at the Bomas of Kenya, it is instructive that ODM-K interim secretary general Prof Anyang nyong'o a key Raila ally was present.

Whether Raila will succeed in bagging Ruto is anybody's guess as at one point he told a public rally that he was the one who prodded the youthful Ruto to declare his candidature for the ODM-K presidential ticket.

Another man eyeing Ruto is none other than an independent looking hopeful, Kalonzo Musyoka.

Kalonzo who ahs been described as likely to fall-out with his colleagues if he does not win the ticket is leaving nothing to chance as he believes that his association with the African Inland Church (AIC) a household name in the Kalenjin community would boost his vote hunting in Rift Valley.

With this, he believes that retired President Daniel Moi a key pillar of the church has widespread roots in Kalenjin land would throw his weight behind such an arrangement.

Kalonzo believes with Ruto behind him, the latter would be assured to reconcile with Moi who in the recent past has been very critical about Ruto's political stand and association with ODM-K. Moi's opinion is that such a move is destructive to his former party Kanu that is well grounded across the country.

Besieged with such numerous overtures the biggest question that Ruto has to deal with is; which way will he go?

It also casts doubts on Ruto's seriousness in the race for the big job. He is even on record having said that he is ready to back any other hopeful given that he was still young with his time still ahead, unlike Raila who already feels age is catching up and waiting another five years will be too late.

Ruto as a catch is one that another presidential hopeful Uhuru Kenyatta cannot ignore. Although Uhuru is not considered as a favourite word lately has been doing the rounds that he might be cobbling a working arrangement with Ruto and to an extent Kalonzo Musyoka.

For other presidential aspirants in ODM-K like Nazlin Omar, Najib Balala and Julia Ojiambo they have not been visible in their quest for the ticket.

The Kalenjin voter appeal has lately been sweetened even within government circles where a calculating president Kibaki it is suspected has a hidden hand in egging on cabinet minister Kipruto Arap Kirwa to vie for Narc Kenya chairmanship.

Regardless of whether Kirwa will succeed or not, analysts say his move is meant to raise his stakes politically while at the same time ensure he keeps afloat and is first among equals.

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