Rift rebels to DP Ruto: Bring it on!

William Ruto

Deputy President William Ruto during the Nyamira Economic Forum at Nyamaiya Stadium in Nyamira County on May 5, 2022.

Photo credit: Ondari Ogega | Nation Media Group

Politicians who have rebelled against Deputy President William Ruto in his Rift Valley backyard have dared him to a duel, saying they were confident of re-election despite the DP’s and his allies’ campaign against them.  

They have accused the DP of doublespeak by calling for unity of the country during this electioneering period while at the same time, inciting residents in his backyard against those not supporting his State House bid.

Leaders who have been earmarked by the DP’s team are Joshua Kutuny (Cherang’any), Alfred Keter (Nandi Hills), Sila Tiren (Moiben), Dr Swarup Mishra (Kesses) and Elgeyo Marakwet Governor Alex Tolgos.

Mr Kutuny is defending his seat on Jubilee ticket while Mr Keter is running as an independent after his United Democratic Alliance (UDA) nominations ticket was snatched from him through an appeal process. Governor Tolgos is eyeing Senate on Jubilee ticket. Both Mr Tiren and Dr Mishra are vying as Independents.

DP Ruto on Sunday while on a campaign trail in his political bastion of Uasin Gishu County called on his supporters not to elect his critics in the forthcoming General Election, saying they had turned against him after riding on his wave to get their seats in 2017.

He said the political critics have been part of the scheme to undermine him, termed them as epitome of pride and arrogance and should be voted out in the August general election.

“When we shall be sending Azimio La Umoja One Kenya alliance leader Raila Odinga to Bondo in August general election leaders including Mishra should be voted out. We gave him votes in 2017 but have since become full of pride and arrogance,” said Dr Ruto.

He added: “We elected some of these leaders (his critics) without any bias and we gave them a platform to represent and work for wananchi. They have plundered public resources and some cannot even walk and time is nigh they are shown the door.”

But on Tuesday, Mr Kutuny who is also Jubilee deputy secretary general told the Nation that DP’s camp has realized that the ground has become slippery hence they have embarked on dirty politics of smearing and mudslinging those not dancing to their tune.

The Cherang’any said there is no way they will succumb to what he described as ‘intimidations and dictatorship’ being peddled by Dr Ruto in Rift Valley arguing that electorates should be allowed to vote whoever they want based on their track records.

“DP Ruto’s sentiments are inconsequential. Our people are going to elect a track record and will elect their representatives not party representatives. We want to make it very clear that people should be left to exercise their democratic rights,” said Mr Kutuny.

He added: “What is said is a characteristic of dictatorship and we will not entertain dictatorial tendencies in our region. Voters should not be intimidated but should be given the opportunity to choose.”

He accused the second-in-command of double-standards arguing that when he is in other regions, he champions for unity but when he comes to Rift Valley, he incites the community against those with divergent views pertaining to his presidency.

“There is no way Ruto will keep on attacking President Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga on national unity but when he comes home, he incites those on the ground against some of us. We will not be cowed, consultations are in top gear on a formidable force in the region which will be unveiled very soon to counter that faction of DP,” he told the Nation.

Mr Kutuny, a fierce critic of the DP, accused Dr Ruto for employing coercion and intimidation to leaders who are opposed to his Statehouse bid.

“DP has realized that the community is not with him and some of us who have being against their theatrics are being heard and now they have started inciting people against us, they have deployed a lot of coercion and intimidation tricks to target us in order to scare us,” said the Cherang'any MP.

The lawmaker, an ally of the president, has been on record accusing DP Ruto for failing the Kalenjin community in terms of working closely with other tribes for the sake of the community's political position in the future.

 He said they had agreed on ways of “doing what DP Ruto has not done.” for the sake of locking Dr Ruto out of Rift Valley politics.

“Instead of building bridges, he has been destroying bridges. We are now focused on how to wrest the region from DP because he has failed the community,” disclosed Mr Kutuny.

Mr Tolgos, who has had a long-running personal battle with Senator Kipchumba Murkomen, recently asked that those surrounding the DP should desist from chest thumping and undermining any leader who does not agree with them.

“They claim that I am a docile politician but one thing they need to know is that I only need to be popular in this county because this is where the electorate have employed me. With their popularity, they fought me during 2017 elections but they were unsuccessful,” he said.

Kanu Secretary General Nick Salat says that DP Ruto should not start intimidating leaders from the region as if he has formed the government.

Mr Salat goes ahead to argue that since the presidency is pegged on mountain and Rift Valley which gave them victory both in 2013 and 2017 against Mr Odinga, the irreversible difference between the duo now is likely to catapult the former Prime Minister.

“After the fall-out with Uhuru, the entire Ruto campaign machinery is focused on winning the Mt Kenya vote. But this is a vote which he already had in 2013 and 2017, so ideally Ruto should not be struggling to win what he supposedly has! And if Mt Kenya is now a struggle for him, where will the 25 percent in 24 counties come from for Ruto to be President?” he posed.

“This simply means that the DP has lost its grip on Mt. Kenya voted and even the Rift Valley is not secure for him because the Rift is not only for Kalenjins,” he added.

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