BOMET Governor Isaac Rutto has started the process of registering his own political party.
In an effort to wrest the South Rift region from Deputy President William Ruto, the vocal county chief is quietly building his new political home — Chama Cha Mashinani Kenya — ahead of the 2017 polls.
The details emerged amid renewed political activity by Rutto and Baringo Senator Gideon Moi, backed by nearly all elected legislators from Narok county, led by Senator Stephen Ole Ntutu.
The CCM-Kenya file has been handed over to the investigative agency by the Registrar of Political Parties for scrutiny, standard procedure after a formal application is made, a source said.
“The Governor is on top of things but is operating behind the scenes,” another source familiar with the manoeuvring told the Star.
The former head of Council of Governors, Rutto has been traversing Bomet, Kericho and, Narok counties, mostly occupied by the populous Kipsigis community, to the chagrin of his political opponents.
Last week, he held a series of consultations at his rural home with the Kipsigis Council of Elders and former civic leaders from counties in the South Rift region.
Registrar of Political Parties Lucy Ndungu yesterday confirmed to the Star an application for CCM-Kenya is pending but declined to disclose the names of those spearheading it.
“Yes, there is an application and we are yet to issue a provisional certificate,” Ndungu said.
However, Rutto's private secretary Ben Siele distanced the governor from the new outfit, dismissing it as mere speculation.
“There is no political party at the moment. Maybe in the future,” he said.
The Star has established there are about five new political outfits whose full registrations are pending.
They include the Devolution Party of Kenya, Double Double Alliance and Liberal Democratic Party.
Maendeleo Chap Chap associated with Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua is said to have been turned down for unspecified reasons.
Rutto has openly stated he will not join the Jubilee Alliance Party even as the JAP affiliate parties, URP and TNA, plan to merge by December this year.
Speaking in West Pokot on Saturday, he ruled out joining JAP and hinted at the possibility of teaming up with the Kanu brigade for 2017.
“Wanataka weka sisis kwa gunia, alafu wanashona juu kama viasi, anabeba akichoka, anaweka chini na kukalia. Hii ni upuuz ("They want to put us in a sack and seal its top. They would then carry it around and when tired, put it down and sit on it. This is nonsense"), Ruto said.
Rutto has forged comradeship with politicians who have fallen out with DP Ruto.
They include Senator Ntutu (Narok), MPs Johana Ngeno (Emurwa Dikirr), Korei Lemein (Narok South), Patrick Ntutu (Narok West) and Moitalel ole Kenta (Narok North).
Rutto is also said to be reaching out to Kuresoi MP Zakayo Cheruiyot and Kericho Governor Paul Chepkwony.
Cheruiyot was quoted last week saying the new party will accommodate members who decamp from the United Republican Party.
He said that together with Ruto, he will lead other like-minded people in the Rift Valley to form a home of their own.
"There are so many of us who have refused to be forced into joining the so called JAP because that is not our home. We cannot accept to be forced into a house that has been constructed by others," Cheruiyot said.
However, DP Ruto's allies have said Governor Ruto is committing political suicide and will be swept aside by the JAP wave in 2017.