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Citizen Weekly

Monday, 13 April 2015

SPECULATIONS RIFE AS DP RUTO'S FOES MEET




BOMET: A Sunday ‘breakfast meeting’ of key political figures in Rift Valley has set tongues wagging about a possible political realignment in the vote-rich region. Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto, his Kericho counterpart Paul Chepkwony, Baringo Senator Gideon Moi, his Narok counterpart Stephen ole Ntutu and Kanu Secretary General Nick Salat met at the Fairmont Mara Safari Club at the weekend. And although the leaders downplayed the meeting as a forum to exchange thoughts on development in the area, it is not lost that the leaders have been some of the fiercest critics of Deputy President William Ruto’s leadership in the region. POLITICAL RIPPLES Sources at the meeting told The Standard they were working on a political force that could cause major ripples in the region, largely considered a stronghold of the Deputy President. Mr Salat also hinted at this yesterday. See also: Leaders want rangers arrested “We are trying to develop a close working relationship in preparation for 2017,” the Kanu secretary general said. “We will not be working this out only in Rift Valley. We are also heading to Taita, Meru and Kakamega,” he added. The meeting lasted two hours but they declined to divulge to the Press exactly what they discussed. They later left in two helicopters. When the media arrived at the hotel following a tip-off, Ruto, Chepkwony and Gideon were already seated at a table and were later joined by Salat and Ntutu. “The political dynamics in Rift Valley are changing fast and today’s breakfast meeting of senior politicians from Bomet, Kericho, Narok and Baringo counties is one of the things (political) that are about to hit you,” Salat said yesterday when The Standard spoke to him. “Thank God we are able to come together and have discussions on how to solve the myriad socio-economic and political problems facing the region,” he said.
Ruto, who usually does not shy away from talking to the Press on any matter, was uncharacteristically tight-lipped. “Hey gentlemen, what brought you here today?” he jokingly asked members of the Press who were busy clicking their cameras. “We only came here for breakfast, nothing more,” he said. Ntutu said he lived in the neighbourhood and had gone to the hotel for breakfast with his colleagues. “This is a public place and anyone can come in for a meal or refreshments. That is basically why I am here,” he told journalists as he walked away. However, sources privy to the goings-on in the region revealed to The Standard that the leaders agreed to reach out to like-minded leaders. “It is a fact that there is a wide crack in the Rift. If you look at the Kipsigis, Tugens, Pokot and Maasais, you will realise there is a problem,” said one of the sources with information on the meeting. See also: Leaders want rangers arrested The sources also revealed that the leaders agreed to hold a series of meetings in the coming weeks to review the issues discussed and chart the way forward. The leaders also plan to hold joint political rallies across Rift Valley after the team has been expanded. The Sunday ‘breakfast’ meeting took place a day after Governor Ruto hosted Gideon for lunch at his home after the burial of General Service Unit officer Benard Tonui in Cheleget village, Bomet County. POLITICAL FALL-OUT During the burial, Salat called on Ruto to reconsider joining Kanu following the folding up of URP. There has been intense political activity in the Rift valley in the wake of a political spat between Governor Ruto, Gideon and the Deputy President, which analysts say is likely to result in a major political fall-out expected to alter the voting pattern in the next General Election.