Uasin Gishu County Governor, Jackson Mandago, beat u-turn and claimed he now ‘welcomes’ CORD rally in Uasin Gishu County less than a week after he said he will not allow political rallies in the county.
He claimed rallies will chase away tourists!
Two events may have forced the governor to reconsider his stand. First, Rift Valley is no longer enthusiastic about the Jubilee Alliance as compared to, say, a year ago. The community is ‘stuck’ in Jubilee.
The sentiments by most Kalenjins, especially a group of outspoken leaders, is that DP Ruto is ‘eating honey and fruits alone’. Apart from just eating, the rate at which Kalenjin professionals are being sacked from jobs, or demoted, has sky-rocketed under Ruto watch.
While URP is still the most dominant party and DP William Ruto the most powerful voice, Uasin Gishu, unlike other counties, is a very cosmopolitan area. The Governor failed to see how such a simple act would weigh on his own second bid should he decide to go for a second term.
More poignantly, however, is how his ban order would affect URP.
The second thing is that his refusal to deny CORD a licence to hold a rally in Uasin Gishu, specifically Eldoret town, may have had adverse effects on his URP boss, DP William Ruto.
URP as a party is heavily concentrated in the Rift Valley and for Ruto to find new ground, he has to ‘walk outside’ his Uasin Gishu stronghold. Such belligerence as shown by Mandago could just be what his opponents need to paint him as a community zoner – a politician who cuts off his people from other political choices available.
Of course, governor Mandago had no such powers, for freedom of assembly is enshrined in the bill of rights and the constitution. Again, Mandago, a political greenhorn, cannot stop Raila Odinga from visiting Rift Valley.