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Citizen Weekly

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Inside the burning South Rift politics

Deputy President William Ruto’s crusade in the South Rift is anattempt to consolidate his popularity and at the same time vilify Bomet governor  Isaac Ruto, the governor’s people believe.
The deputy president recently brought 10 MPs, senators and dozens of MCAs  from Bomet and Kericho  together where the team  scathingly criticised the  controversial Bomet governor.
Analysts say it was a wrong strategy and a serious miscalculation which has only enhanced governor’s popularity in the two counties. Fear is that the way Ruto and allies are handling the South Rift factor is a blessing in disguise for Kanu, which is steadily making in-roads in the regions which had voted URP/TNA, and it would be an uphill task for DP Ruto to regain. Franklin Bett has been brought on the DP side to counter the governor’s side that also has his Kericho counterpart and Kuresoi MP Zachayo Cheruyuoit.
 The popular saying making the round is that DP Ruto has introduced the Luo style of endless wrangling in the Kalenjin community, which is likely to be to his  own disadvantage.
 The Kipsigis  community a subtribe of the Kalenjin ethnic groups is the one single most populous with a record 1.4 million registered voters, and could an important region to Jap. Members of this particular community are usually conservatives but of late seem to have lost trust with their cousins from Nandi and Uasin Gishu counties on grounds they are always being used and dumped.
Politics of undercutting and undermining one another is not within the lips and vocabularies of the Kipsigis people, therefore they are viewing DP Ruto’s politics as destructive and dictatorial. The rally was held by the DP at Kapkatet Stadium in the heart of Bureti district an area regarded by the locals as the nerve of the Kipsigis politics did not attract the largest crowd as it has always been the characteristics of this particular venue.
DP Ruto spent his time criticising his foes, but miserably failed to articulate Jap’s policy to the participants who were expecting him to explain the government development programmes in the two region. Among them is the burning tea politics and on how to eradicate the swellings unemployment situation and the abject poverty afflicting the residents of the two regions of Bomet and Kericho. Problems facing the smallscale tea growers, falling global tea prices and maize farmers.
Speakers after speakers attacked governor and DP Ruto made a big political blunder when he issued a stern warning to Kericho governor Paul Chepkwony telling him not to associate himself with the Bomet boss or else he risked being voted out of office come 2017.
Political pundits however were quick in saying that MPs and senators in the Rift Valley who have joined the DP Ruto in his antagonistic crusades are the ones who will face the wrath of the voters comes 2017.
The reported new alliance between Senator Gideon Moi of Baringo and governor Ruto of Bomet, which is said to be in the offing is said be the cause of intensive panicking for the DP Ruto.
Moi and his team, which included Kanu secretary Nick Salat were reported last week to be heading for a showdown with the DP at Kapkatet..
Since Kanu has declared its noncompliance to the Jap and made it clear it will go its own way, the battleline in the South Rift is drawn, and the coming weeks will witness a lot of aggressive political activities in the two agriculturally rich regions.