A fresh political battle within Deputy President William Ruto’s United Republican Party is boiling up in Rift Valley following the on-going military operation.
A clique of leaders from Pokot region have vowed to bolt out of the jubilee administration URP wing over what they term as failure by its party leader Mr Ruto to stop the on-going military operation in the region. West Pokot Deputy Governor Titus Lotte, who leads the onslaught, expressed dissatisfaction over the manner in which the Government handles military exercise citing bias and selective application of the law.
“We are not against flushing out of bandits but we are wondering why the deputy president has not cautioned the officers against injuring and displacing innocent Kenyans in the name of an operation, a solution is found on discussion and not using force,” he said.
Lotte said regional leaders have been holding discussions since Monday to chart the community’s political destiny and were about to decide on their 2017 political vehicle.
The Pokot community, he said, were on the hunt for “appropriate political party” after failing to get assistance from URP that received a fanatical following in the region during last year’s General Elections.
” URP got over 89 per cent of the seats in the region and is controlled by Ruto, why has he let the region suffer at the hands of the officers yet other regions have been left from the operation?” he posed.
“We are surprised that Mr Ruto and the entire Kalenjin leaders visit Pokot land during general elections campaign in the guise we should vote as a block. But we now feature nowhere when it comes defending the interests and natural rights of the Pokot. We are being used as ladders to climb the highest office. This has to stop,” said Mr Lotte.
The deputy governor maintained that they will compel leaders who were voted on URP tickets to ditch the party and seek fresh re-elections from another party. “The idea was mooted after Mr Ruto came to Kapenguria for the Peace race and most leaders snubbed the meeting because of the anger against the Jubilee government and let down in resolving the conflict amicably,” he added.
Efforts to reach Pokot senator John Lonyangapuo bore no fruit as the calls went unanswered and he did not respond to Short Message Texts (SMS) sent to him.
The move by the Pokot community is likely to complicate the close-knit political marriage between The National Alliance and United Republic Party in the expansive Rift Valley.
ODM’s Otieno Kajwang’ has led a spirited campaign in stopping the ongoing operation and this the Pokot governor indicated was a sign of like-mindedness with ODM.
Earlier on, Kacheliba MP Mark Lomunokol ( URP) and his Pokot South counterpart David Pkosing ( URP) indicated they will review their stand in government if the jubilee administration turns a deaf ear to their calls.
“We will not attend any national function in the county only until the Government withdraws the military and hold meeting with community leaders,” said Pkosing.
Last week, there were clear indicators after the leaders boycotted a peace meeting presided over by Deputy President to register their displeasure with the on-going military operations.