Deputy President William Ruto is facing the political test of his life as Bomet Governor Isaac Rutto and Baringo Senator Gideon Moi takes him head on.
Rutto last week renewed his onslaught on the Deputy President, accusing him of being a centrist not keen on seeing devolution work and sponsoring squabbles in county governments in the South Rift region.
The Bomet governor also lashed out at the Deputy President for presiding over a corrupt regime stifling growth at the grassroots.
â€œIf the leaders in the National Government continue to sponsor squabbles in the counties, and especially in Rift Valley, then we shall be left with no option but to kick them out of the South Rift region,â€ he said.
Kuresoi North MP Zachayo Cheruiyot dismissed JAP, saying it will take away Kalenjin bargaining power in future negotiating tables.
â€œWhat is the hurry over the merger? We need to have a party that gives us political identity instead of being held hostage by some selfish individuals,â€ argued Mr Cheruiyot.
Taking cue, Baringo senator Gideon Moi, who openly declined Ruto’s order for all political parties allied to the government to dissolve and join JAP, now says he will go for the presidency. Ruto told residents their time is 2022.
Tellingly, Gideon was invited by Uasin Gishu governor Jackson Mandago to a funds-drive in Eldoret where they issued a thinly veiled ultimatum for the government to allocate the region Ksh 20 billion to rescue maize sector.
Those who understand politics of north rift know how maize politics can be costly for incumbents, and Ruto being the high ranking incumbent from the region, is being squarely blamed for the dwindling fortunes of maize farmers in the region.
The Deputy President at Kapkatet took on the two, warning them of courting irrelevance for themselves if they don’t toe the line.
Mr Ruto praised residents of Kericho, Bomet and Narok counties for staying in the Jubilee Alliance Party (JAP) and warned local leaders to follow suit or risk being dropped in the next election.
â€œWananchi seem to know where we are going and leaders who donâ€™t know will remain behind. In 2017, we will support President Kenyatta and then plan for our own entry to State House in 2022,â€ he declared.
â€œThis is our government and we must come together and build the nation. We must learn to work together or fail in all our plans. Instead of grumbling, why donâ€™t you talk to me and tell me what you need?â€ he added.