Mathews Ndanyi for the Star
There’s an effort to reignite rebellion in the Rift Valley against Deputy President William Ruto.
He and President Uhuru Kenyatta are facing allegations they have unfairly fired key Kalenjins, sidelined and shortchanged the Kalenjin community, a critical vote bloc.
The allegations are contained in anonymous list circulating widely on social media among the Kalenjin community.
It is not clear who authored the list but it creates the impression 15 high-profile Kalenjins have been unfairly removed from powerful positions in the four years Jubilee has been in power.
Whereas some Kalenjins have indeed lost positions, many more have been given plum jobs in government. In some cases, those removed have been replaced by other Kalenjins.
This effort to stir up Kalenjin resentment appears to be an attempt to revive last year’s Rift Valley revolt against Ruto and Jubilee. It apparently aims to drive a wedge between Uhuru and Ruto, hurting Jubilee in 2017 and Ruto’s bid for the presidency in 2022.
Last year, politicians, professionals, residents and farmers said Ruto had not used his high office to help Kalenjins. They said the community had lost key government positions, maize and other farmers were suffering, Ruto was inaccessible and treated them like “sacks of potatoes”. Campaign pledges had not been met, they said.
The insurrection was intense around May, June and July but later subsided, partly because of Jubilee administration beneficence. Between January and March this year, Ruto met most leaders of the mutiny, sorted out problems and appeased most of them.
However, conspicuously unappeased was Bomet Governor Isaac Rutto, the DP’s former UDF ally. He has launched his own Chama Cha Mashinani party.
Yesterday, Kanu official Paul Kibet said Jubilee is likely to suffer another rebellion in the Rift Valley region, mainly because of the way it has mismanaged the agriculture sector, along with appointments in government.
“Residents of the region are questioning why Kibaki was able to pay farmers Sh3,000 per bag of maize when Kalenjins were considered to be out of government. But with Ruto up there, maize prices are going down,” Kibet told the Star.
The inflammatory list of job losers includes;
former police IG David Kimaiyo, former Agriculture CS Felix Koskei,
former Registrar of the Judiciary Gladys Boss Shollei,
former director of the National Youth Service Kiplimo Rugut,
former Supreme Court justice Philip Tunoi,
former acting CEO of Kenya Airports Authority Yatich Kagungo,
former Energy CS Davis Chirchir and
former Kenya Pipeline Corporation CEO Charles Tanui.
nine senior employees of the University of Eldoret, including Finance official Hosea Sitienei, Professor Ezekiel Kiprop and Security officer Edward Cherogony, among others.
Those circulating the list blame Ruto for the job misfortunes of professionals and allege that farmers in the Rift Valley have suffered more under the Jubilee regime than under President Mwai Kibaki.
Although Kimaiyo, Koskei and Shollei are interested in running for election next year, only the former police boss openly blamed Ruto, along with Senator Kipchumba Murkomen, for his removal from the police service and the KAA.
“How can they claim I was incompetent? I will vie for the Senate seat in Elgeyo Marakwet next year and, God willing, my name will also be on the presidential ballot in 2022, like others” Kimaiyo said.
Yesterday, Murkomen, who is a key ally of Ruto, denied involvement in Kimaiyo’s exit, saying he did not appoint him.
“People will look for all kinds of reasons to fight Jubilee but it will not work. Ruto is not a petty person to hound individuals. He has worked well with President Kenyatta to ensure that all Kenyans, including people of Rift Valley, benefit from government initiatives and opportunities.