• Apart from the BBI report, the leaders will also use the retreat to make a declaration on 2022 succession.
• There are reports that Deputy President William Ruto is likely to attend the two -day retreat
Deputy President William Ruto’s Rift Valley allies have organised a two-day retreat expected to culminate in a declaration on the 2022 presidential succession.
The leaders will also use the retreat to study the Building Bridges Initiative report — whose implementation has split the ruling Jubilee Party — then adopt a common position.
The meeting comes at a time the DP has faced tough times, with complaints by his allies that he was humiliated during the BBI report launch at the Bomas of Kenya.
There is also speculation that President Uhuru Kenyatta is grooming Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi as his successor, dealing a blow to Ruto who has been banking on his boss’s support.
The Star has learnt that the meeting in Naivasha from Thursday this week, will bring together elected leaders, professionals, religious and opinion leaders.
As of last evening, the organisers were contemplating expanding the attendance to involve leaders from the Kalenjins, Maasai, Samburu and the Turkana under the Kamatusa umbrella.
Last month, Uhuru held a similar meeting with Gema leaders, bringing together Gikuyu, Embu and Meru leaders.
“We will meet to go through the report sentence by sentence and analyse what the recommendations mean to us as a community,” Soi MP Caleb Kositany who is among the organisers told the Star yesterday.
According to Kositany, the meeting is open to all leaders from the Rift Valley irrespective of their political persuasion.
“All Rift Valley leaders have been invited to attend be it from Jubilee, Kanu or Chama Cha Mashinani, they are all welcome,” Kositany said.
But Jubilee nominated MP David Sankok said they will also use the retreat to review Ruto’s 2022 presidential bid.
According to Sankok, all the Rift Valley counties will back one presidential candidate.
“As a region, we want to approach 2022 as one of the most organised regions ever. We have our son and brother, the Deputy President running for President and we must support him fully,” he told the Star.
Cherangany MP Joshua Kutuny, however, dismissed the planned meeting as "irrelevant and for self-seekers pushing their individual agenda".
“For all these years they have been in power, none of them has called a meeting for the community to discuss key issues including the problems our people face,” Kutuny told the Star.
Kutuny said plans are underway for a parallel meeting which will scrutinise the report and rally the region to support it.
He said the splinter group is headed by former Bomet governor and Chama Cha Mashinani party leader Isaac Rutto.
There are growing concerns in Ruto’s camp that Uhuru has reneged on his pledge to back the DP’s 2022 presidential bid and has been openly contradicting his second in command.
While Ruto, for instance, insisted that ODM leader Raila Odinga should apologise for the violence witnessed in Kibra, Uhuru said the poll was peaceful, terming it a “win for Kenya”.
But the elephant in the room is the growing influence of Matiang'i and the President’s camaraderie with Raila.
On Friday, Matiangi led a delegation of 50 MPs and six governors to Kirinyaga where he declared that he and his PS Karanja Kibicho are only answerable to Uhuru.
Matiangi is believed to have the backing of some powerful individuals, including within the First Family.
Yesterday, Ruto’s allies called on the President to rein in Matiang'i or they would impeach him.
Nelson Koech (Belgut), Caleb Kositany (Soy) and Samson Cherargei (Nandi Senator) on Monday accused the CS of disrespecting Ruto and intimidating them.
“We want to call on our President to rein in his Cabinet Secretaries. It is time the President gives a voice on this issue because it is really bad. We are now joking. It is like we are in a kindergarten where kids do whatever they want to do,” Koech said.
He added, “We also want to tell Matiang'i and his team that when we went into an election, there was no separate election for Ruto and Uhuru. If you respect both, you respect them. If you disrespect one, you have disrespected both of them.”
Koech warned Matiangi of dire consequences including impeachment if he continues to disrespect the DP.
“This issue of him seeing us MPs as nothing is very unfortunate because today, Parliament can decide to send you home. And we will send you home if we decide in this House that you do not deserve to be a CS anymore,” Koech said.
MPs who spoke to the Star said during the retreat, the DP's allies are expected to issue a joint communiqué on whether the implementation of the BBI report requires a referendum or Parliamentary approval.
Over the weekend, Ruto backers from Mt Kenya held a meeting in Embu county where 57 MPs resolved that Parliament is the way to implement the report.
Already the DP has said that about 99 per cent of the report can be implemented by Parliament. The other one per cent can be effected by administrative action, Ruto said.
Koech said the meeting during the weekend will formalise the position that the group has already taken.
“We have said the best way to implement it is either through legislation in Parliament or the Executive taking actions on the recommendations, nothing requires a referendum,” Koech said.
Pokot South MP David Pkosing who confirmed that he will be attending the retreat concurred with Ruto that the report unveiled last Tuesday is a product of public participation.
He said ODM leader Raila Odinga and his brigade should admit that they were outfoxed and the report did not meet their predetermined outcome.
“The problem here is that we are dealing with a group of individuals who had formed a narrative that BBI was about locking out Ruto. Now they failed to get an express provision in the report calling for a referendum,” Pkosing told the Star on the phone.