Ruto visits Jackson Kibor, aims to consolidate Rift Valley base

Kibor is an ally of ODM chief Raila Odinga and is a key elder in the region

In Summary

• Ruto accompanied by allies led by Soy MP Caleb KosItany went to Kibor's home near Ziwa market on Monday where they talked politics and national issues for more than two hours.

• Kibor has told the Star the DP should go slow in his politics if he wants to succeed President Kenyatta.

DP Ruto with ackson Kibor at his home in Uasin Gishu county on February 22.
KIBOR: DP Ruto with ackson Kibor at his home in Uasin Gishu county on February 22.

Deputy President William Ruto has met veteran Rift Valley politician Jackson Kibor as he intensified efforts to consolidate his Rift Valley political base.

Ruto and allies, including Soy MP Caleb Kositany, drove to Kibor’s home near Ziwa market on Monday where they stayed for more than two hours discussing politics and national issues.

“We just went to see Mzee Kibor because he is a key elder in this region," Kositany said later. 

Kibor told the Star in an interview in October the DP should "go slow" in his politics if he wants to succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta. Kibor said his efforts to meet Ruto and advise him had not succeeded at that time.

Kibor is an ally of ODM chief Raila Odinga.

Ruto's allies have intensified negotiations to have Nandi Hills MP Alfred Keter and other rebels from the region join the DP' hustler’s movement.

Ruto is on an offensive to consolidate his political base ahead of his presidential bid next year and he is trying to weaken his main Rift rival, Baringo Senator Gideon Moi.

Keter, who has been a harsh critic of the DP, has taken a low political profile for the last two years, studying for his master's degree. Sources tell the Star Ruto's team has approached him to rejoin them.

Ruto will tour Nandi on Friday and is likely to meet Keter at an event in Nandi Hills town in Keter's constituency.

Keter did not confirm or deny the report when asked by the Star.

He did not comment on reports he plans to run for governor against incumbent Stephen Sang, a close ally of the DP.

“We will talk about that when time comes," Keter said.

Sources have told the Star, Nandi Senator Samson Cherargei had been tasked by DP Ruto to bring rebel leaders back to the fold.

Cherargei and other allies are said to have worked out a plan to unite all Nandi MPs. In addition to Keter, MP Alex Kosgey (Emgwen) and Vincent Tuwei (Mosop) were also being targeted over their perceived lukewarm support for Ruto.

Two weeks ago Tuwei made a comeback to Ruto’s team and has been attending the DP’s meetings.

Alex Kosgey, who is a son of former Cabinet Minister Henry Kosgey, was the first to declare his support for Ruto's hustler nation. Tuwei followed suit and it appears Keter will be the latest entrant to the wheelbarrow movement.

Ruto’s team is also targeting rebel MPs Joshua Kutuny (Cherangany) and Silas Tiren of Moiben to rejoin the camp

During a church service in Tinderet last Sunday, Kapseret MP Oscar Sudi said Keter would be welcomed back.

"We welcome all leaders to support the DP and soon even our brother Keter will be joining us," Sudi said at the event.

Most of the region’s leaders, notably MPs, were present and strongly criticised Governor Sang for what they called underperformance. Sang has been at loggerheads with the MPs and sources indicate they may back one of his rivals for governor.

The MPs have credited Cherargei with playing his oversight role effectively.

“It's obvious the people of Nandi are completely dissatisfied with the county government and will go for change," Cherargei said.

Lawyer Allan Kosgey is considered Sang's main rival, but other aspirants have shown interest. Their political rivalry is expected to play out during Ruto's tour.

(Edited by V. Graham)