Top Stories / National
Tuesday, 14 Jun 2016 08:20 EATnewsdesk@kenyafreepress.com
Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto has asked Kalenjin leaders to reconsider the community’s future in the Jubilee Alliance, warning that deputy president William Ruto might not get the support he’s banking on from his Jubilee allies after President Uhuru Kenyatta’s retirement.
Reacting to the recent declaration by Kiambu Governor William Kabogo, a top ally of President Uhuru’s, that the deputy president would not be the automatic choice for Uhuru’s supporters after the president's term expires, Governor Ruto said Kalenjins have no recourse but to chart a new political path.
Speaking during celebrations to mark the 8th anniversary of the late Lorna Laboso in Sotik, the governor said, “We have to chart our political future now. You heard what Kabogo said, he was clear about what the plan is, but now everyone from that region is at his neck accusing him of spilling the beans.”
Ruto also used the event, held at the Lorna Laboso Memorial Girls’ School on Friday, to declare his intention to decamp from the URP party during the next elections. He said he would be defending his post in the ticket of Chama Cha Mashinani, which was formed by his allies last year.
“I won’t wait to be locked out of the seat because JAP (the new party being fronted by deputy president Ruto) will not clear me. I would rather look for better option in securing the seat,” he said.
DP Ruto is by far the most influential Kalenjin leader, but Governor Ruto has been at loggerheads with him for most of the post-2013 election period. While the governor continues to be a member of the DP’s URP party, he has rebelled against the party’s dictates on policy and political issues.
The governor carved a niche as a fierce critic of Jubilee’s policies early into his term when, as chairman of the Council of Governors, the lobby for all 47 governors, he took positions diametrically opposed by the national government, of which the DP is a key player.
Their differences have permeated the Kalenjin political scene, with Governor Ruto emerging as the titular leader of a camp of govenors, MPs and local representatives critical of the DP’s leadership.
Kiambu Governor Kabogo’s remarks raised tensions in the Jubilee Alliance. Kalenjin grassroots leaders have demanded that President Uhuru should restate his commitment to support his deputy Ruto when the president’s term lapses, as per the Jubilee coalition agreement. Kikuyu leaders have said Kabogo did not speak for the community.
Under pressure, Kabogo himself has had to clarify his statement, saying he had only meant to say that Jubilee would be very competitive after President Uhuru retires.