By Osugo Moseti
Emboldened Bomet Governor Isaac Rutto and team became more daring as the week closed with increased onslaught against Deputy President William Ruto.
The governors, pushing for Pesa Mashinani, accused the Deputy President of being the greatest stumbling block to devolution as he still want to thrive in politics of patronage.
â€œOur biggest problem with William Ruto is his mindset of patronage. He doesn’t respect other leaders yet he demands loyalty from them,â€ the governor said on Friday.
â€œTo drive home his agenda, he assigns some MPs and senators to go around the country spewing vitriol to besmirch governors and attack devolution. He grins when (National Assembly Majority Leader) Duale abuses us. Check all the photos,â€ an angry Mr Ruto said on Friday.
Ruto faces the reality of internal revolt as most of those agitating for more funds are the Kipsigis, the largest sub-tribe of the Kalenjin community.Â The Kipsigis, who occupy Kericho and Bomet counties and are also found in significant numbers in Nakuru, Narok and Nandi, are the biggest Kalenjin group and any defection en masse or even in part, to the Bomet governorâ€™s camp, will dent Mr Rutoâ€™s political clout.
It is this reality, of numbers, that Gov. Rutto seems to be banking on. In fact, this isn’t the first time that the Kipsigis have shown the desire to pull out. Prior to the formation of the grand coalition government, the Kipsigis had, at their apex, Hon. Kipkalia Kones who unfortunately perished in a plane crash just some months into power.
The death of Kipkalia propelled William Ruto as the de facto Kalenjin leader and consolidated his grip in South Rift, thanks in part to the support of Isaac Rutto, Zakayo Cheruiyot and others.
In fact, more daring South Rift leaders remained in ODM, including Franklin Bett and former Kipkelion legislator Magerer Langat.
That South Rift is slowly drifting away is in part informed by Kipsigis history of support to majimboism since independence. However, the drift has also been fuelled by petty disrespect to the community’s leaders by non-kalenjin politicians close to William Ruto, especially the Jubilee Majority leader Aden Duale.
On Friday, the south Rift leaders maintained they are in Pesa Mashinani for the long haul with Nandi Governor Dr Cleophas Lagat dismissing as rumours reports that he was switching camps.
â€œIt is a rumour being spread by our opponents. We are in it for the long haul. This is about the people of Nandi. I am asking for the money to serve them whether I am removed or not,â€ Dr Lagat said through his director of communications Gideon Birgen.
The leaders also tore into Ruto to be the last person to accuse counties of corruption as he himself has several court cases touching on theft of public utilities and corruption. Rift Valley politician and former Kenya National Library Service chairman William Kettienya attacked unnamed URP leaders, saying they had no moral authority to lecture governors on accountability â€œyet they had been hauled before the courts for theft and all manner of crime.â€
Mr Kettienya said the DP thinks of the Kalenjin as his property that â€œhe can put in a bag and walk around with to sell to the highest bidder”.
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