Some allies of Deputy President William Ruto in northern Kenya have opposed the recently unveiled Upya Movement, which seeks to unite pastoralist communities ahead of next year’s General Elections, terming it divisive.
The movement which was launched recently in a ceremony graced by Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yattani faction, expressed the need for the region to speak in one voice and join other regions in the sharing of the national cake so that they do not lag behind.
But Isiolo Woman Representative Rehema Jaldesa said the recent backlash against the movement was because of its failure to bring on board all leaders from the region, claiming that the group had sinister motive of dividing residents.
“The few leaders came together to spread hate and divide our people and that is why some of the elected leaders from certain communities like me were not involved,” said Ms Jaldesa, who supports Dr Ruto.
Speaking at a fundraiser in Isiolo town — which was attended by former Mombasa Senator Hassan Omar — Ms Jaldesa said there are plans by MPs under the Pastoralist Parliamentary Group, who were not invited to CS Yattani’s event, to unite the region and champion for the welfare of the residents.
Ms Jaldesa said focus should be on the biting issues bedevilling the region such as drought and championing for increased allocations to the grassroots to support pastoralists and not pushing for political interests.
“We should concentrate on the challenges that the region faces for improved livelihoods. We are finding ways on how to unite the region and form one house,” she said.
CS Yattani earlier said the region had for a long time suffered marginalisation and therefore needs to have a political vehicle to champion its interests in the next government.
The group, which comprised of elected and non-elected leaders, pronounced support for President Uhuru Kenyatta and said they will follow the political direction he will give them.
But Mr Omar termed the seclusion of some communities in the pact as injustice, calling on the Muslim community to unite and seek political muscles to stop the discrimination.
“We are in the country legally and everyone’s rights must be respected. We must, going forward, elect leaders who will champion for the Muslims and minority communities’ rights,” he said.
He said pastoralists should be keen not to be misled into getting into political alliances but elect leaders of integrity and who have community interests at heart like Dr Ruto, whom he said will end tribalism and the ills bedevilling the Muslim community.
Embattled Samburu Governor Moses Lenolkulal recently said the Yattani faction seeks to block the region from voting for DP Ruto in the 2022 General Elections.
The Upya Movement is faced with internal wrangles on who between Mr Yattani and Eldas MP Adan Keynan, who is also the Jubilee coalition parliamentary group secretary, should lead the team and negotiate on behalf of the region.