HARD BALL

Anti-Ruto Jubilee MPs pressured to join UDA or lose careers

Person-person public warnings and relentless coercion from social media

In Summary

• Most of the MPs have taken a low profile, skipping most functions due to the pressure they are openly subjected to at such functions.

• UDA dominates Rift Valley. 

MPs Alfred Keter (C), SIlas Tiren and Joshua Kutuny during a farmers meeting in Eldoret.
UNDER PRESSURE: MPs Alfred Keter (C), SIlas Tiren and Joshua Kutuny during a farmers meeting in Eldoret.
Image: MATHEWS NDANYI

Jubilee MPs criticising Deputy President William Ruto in Rift Valley are under pressure to join his UDA party if they want a chance of reelection.

Most of the MPs have taken a low political profile, skipping most functions due to the duress they are openly subjected to at the events.

The anti-Ruto MPs include Jubilee deputy secretary general Joshua Kutuny who is also MP for Cherangany, Silas Tiren (Moiben), William Chepkut (Ainabkoi), Alfred Keter (Nandi Hills), Dr Swarup Mishra (Kesses) and Senator for Uasin Gishu Prof Margaret Kamar.

At a recent function in Ainabkoi area, Chepkut openly clashed with UDA coordinator Paul Kiprop who asked the MP to join the party if he wished to save his political career.

“We have said we will back DP Ruto and those like Chepkut who are still buying time should know that time is running out," Kiprop said.

But the MP retorted, "We know what we are doing and one is opposing the DP to stop his ambitions. Unless you just want to play pschophancy because it's unnecessary to engage in such arguments." Chepkut is a close ally of Baringo Senator Gideon Moi, the Kanu boss.

Kutuny's critics in Cherangany have taken to social media to pressure him to join the DP’s camp. Last week he denied claims he had been recorded indicating he was buying time but would eventually join the DP’s camp.

He reportedly said he would not betray his Kalenjin community that stands with DP Ruto.

“I cannot respond to such propaganda," Kutuny said. This week he is expected to lead those hosting President Kenyatta who will tour Western Kenya and parts of Trans Nzoia.

Dr Mishra who is a wealthy politician has also openly declared his support for Gideon Moi and President Kenyatta. He faces an uphill task to retain his seat.

He is rated, however,as one of the best performing MPs in the region who may go against the grain and still retain the seat either through UDA or another party.

“President Kenyatta has done a lot for this country and I support him. Gideon is also my friend and will soon visit this area,” he recently told a function at Cheplaskei in his constituency.

Tiren and Kamar have taken a low profile in Uasin Gishu politics. The region is home to DP Ruto and UDA is expected to dominate politics in the county.

Kamar is an experienced politician and her allies say she is considering making another stab at the governor's seat.

Her decision to take up the deputy speaker's position in the Senate when Ruto’s allies were being removed caused heavy criticism against her by the DP’s allies. They accused her of betrayal but Kamar has never talked about the issue.

Keter is active in Nandi county politics and last week he was hosted on a local radio station when he spoke extensively in parables about politics in Rift Valley.

The pressure on the legislators  is likely to intensify as elections approach.

(Edited by V. Graham)