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2022 POLITICS

Fresh rebellion against Ruto in Rift Valley

Three camps including Ruto's loyalists, hard critics and the neutral group emerge.

In Summary

• Three camps including Ruto's loyalists, hard critics and the neutral group emerge in the region.

• Critics argue the DP is surrounded by a cartel of arrogant allies who are a liability to him and jubilee

MPs Kutttuny, Keter and Tiren at a farmers meeting in Eldoret on January 16th
MPS MPs Kutttuny, Keter and Tiren at a farmers meeting in Eldoret on January 16th
Image: MATHEWS NDANYI

Deputy President William Ruto is facing a fresh revolt in his Rift Valley backyard which threatens to crush his 2022 presidential ambitions.

The Star has established that some of the DP's former allies are secretly scheming to jump ship from Jubilee. Others have silently kept away from his political activities.

The battle against Ruto is being fashioned around corruption and allegations that farmers in the region have for the first time since independence been impoverished after the Jubilee administration took over.

“Farmers are poorer like most residents and they do not see any benefits of their own at the top in the government,” protested Moiben MP Silas Tiren.

The anti-Ruto brigade also accuses powerful individuals in the ruling party of importing maize to frustrate local farmers and also thwart the government’s subsidies programme on fertiliser aimed at helping farmers.

“Out there people think all Kalenjins are corrupt yet it’s just a few individuals engaging in graft and protecting cartels, thus damaging the name of the community,” business tycoon Bundotich Kiprop alias Buzeki told the Star.

The details came to light as it emerged that former Bomet Governor Isaac Rutto and Buzeki have finalised a strategy to revamp Chama Cha Mashinani (CCM).

CCM, according to the strategy, will team up in an alliance with other parties including Baringo Senator Gideon Moi’s Kanu in a bid to whittle down Ruto’s grip on the vote-rich Rift Valley.

WAR ON GRAFT

The battle against Ruto is being fashioned around corruption and allegations that farmers in the region have for the first time since independence been impoverished after the Jubilee administration took over.

The Star has established that some of the DP's former allies are secretly scheming to jump ship from Jubilee. Others have silently kept away from his political activities.

The Rift Valley headache comes at a time when Ruto is fighting tooth and nail to hold onto the Jubilee support in Central Kenya.

Close allies of President Uhuru Kenyatta have openly stated the DP is not fit for State House.

 

Sources said CCM will consider talking with ANC's Musalia Mudavadi, Ford Kenya's Moses Wetang'ula and leaders of other parties to form a new political alliance.

In a deliberate effort to lay the ground for the looming political battle, Buzeki, known for a sizeable financial war chest, will on Saturday lead a 500-strong delegation from the North Rift to a meeting with Rutto and CCM officials.

The meeting will take place at the home of the former Bomet county boss three weeks after Buzeki publicly denounced Jubilee.

Buzeki and Rutto have agreed on a political deal that will see the former governor remain the party leader while Buzeki becomes the secretary general.

“We will be in Bomet to unveil our new plan for the party following discussions that have been going on for some time now,” Buzeki told the Star yesterday.

The plan is to revamp the party through massive rebranding and recruitment of new members ahead of a face-off with Jubilee in 2022.

Buzeki campaigned for Jubilee in the last election but claims that the ruling party is being run like a cartel.

 “They are running Jubilee like a cartel and they think Rift Valley is their property. There is nothing like that and they will be shocked to look behind and find no one following them,” he said.

Sources said at least three sitting governors, six MPs and five senators in the region along with with a Mombasa-based tycoon from North Rift back the revival of CCM after falling out with Ruto.

Elgeyo-Marakwet Governor Alex Tolgos ditched Jubilee in favour of Kanu a few days ago.

Many other leaders have opted to take a neutral stand in what has alarmed Ruto’s inner circle.

Among those who have retreated from Ruto’s activities is the vocal Uasin Gishu governor Jackson Mandago.

Other neutrals are Uasin Gishu Senator  Margaret Kamar, Woman Representative Gladys Boss Shollei, Aibkoi MP William Chepkut and Kesses MP Swarrup Mishra.

Tellingly, Ruto’s rural MP Janet Koech (Independent) has remained aloof in local politics.

Jubilee candidate in the area during the last elections Kevin Okwara has also jumped ship from Jubilee, blaming the DP and his allies of “snatching” his victory just because he is not from the area.

“I wonder how the DP will convince people in Western to back him come 2022 yet he could not allow my win in Turbo just because I am from Western,” Okwara said.

Some of those disgruntled with the DP blame some of his close associates for displaying "high-level arrogance, dictatorship and cartel-like tendencies” that have frustrated other leaders.

Soy MP Caleb Kostany, Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen and Ruto’s powerful aide Farouk Kibet are among those who have been blamed.

The three have denied the accusations.

Cherangany MP Joshua Kuttuny told the Star the revolt was real and unstoppable.

“If they are clever they must look back and find out where the rains started beating them. The DP is surrounded by people who are a liability to him and the Kalenjin community,” Kuttuny said.

He said the DP had for the last few years been losing his trusted political allies who have been replaced by sycophants who only chase their personal interests.

“The cartels around the DP fear the truth but the revolt in Rift Valley is a clear message to the DP that he is in trouble politically,” said Kuttuny.

“If they are clever they must look back and find out where the rains started beating them. The DP is surrounded by people who are a liability to him and the Kalenjin community
Cherangany MP Joshua Kuttuny

“I am in Jubilee party but what is happening cannot be ignored. It tells you the disaffection and frustration in wananchi. They are in a dilemma because there is no one articulating their issues. They are actually trying to find political direction for someone to represent their views.” 

Kuttuny, along with Nandi Hills MP Alfred Keter and Moiben MP Sila Tiren, early this year kicked off a storm when they demanded that the DP be investigated for alleged involvement in graft.

The rebels also blame the DP and his allies for the woes farmers are facing and corruption that has tainted the name of the Kalenjin community.

They have openly told off the Tanga Tanga team that is associated with DP arguing that come 2022, Kenyans would not elect anyone associated with graft to occupy State House.

Tiaty MP William Kamket, who is a close ally of  Senator Moi, has been heavily been critical of the DP.

Kostany, Murkomen, Kapseret MP Oscar Sudi, Nandi Senator Samson Cherargei and Nandi Governor Stephen Sang are among the few leaders who aggressively stand with the DP.

The Ruto allies fought back yesterday and dismissed the new formation as a non-starter.

 “In Rift Valley Ruto is the kingpin. Come 2022 no one will run for any seat and succeed without Ruto’s blessings," said Kostany who is one the close allies of the DP in the region.

He went on: “There is no revolt against the DP in Rift Valley. If anything Ruto is stronger in Rift Valley than at any other time. We only look forward to teaming up with other Kenyans in 2022.”

Sudi said the Kalenjin nation will walk hand in hand with Ruto.

 "The people opposing Ruto in Rift Valley are part of the Kieleweke team out to scuttle the DP's presidential ambitions. They should know that their goose is cooked and they will lose terribly in 2022.

"As the Kalenjin nation, we have no party. Our party is William Ruto. If Ruto crossed over to another party even if it is Chama cha Mashinani we shall all follow him there. Let no one be cheated," Sudi said.