Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto has disputed reports that he will defect to the National Super Alliance (Nasa) during the coalition’s first rally planned for Saturday in his county.
Mr Ruto said he will be hosting the team led by Opposition chief Raila Odinga to promote democracy.
“The claims that I will join Nasa are incorrect. People are just speculating. I have not made such a statement,” Mr Ruto told Nation.co.ke in a phone interview.
The governor, a harsh critic of Deputy President William Ruto and the Jubilee government, quit the ruling coalition a year ago and founded his own party, Chama Cha Mashinani (CCM).
FIRST STOP – BOMET
While welcoming the Opposition leaders to the South Rift, the outspoken governor said he was ready to welcome any presidential candidate seeking votes in the region, a Jubilee stronghold.
The fallout between the two Rutos has made the South Rift a critical hunting ground for the Opposition which hopes to wrestle away a considerable number of Jubilee supporters.
Mr Odinga on Tuesday announced that they will hold rallies across the country with the first stop being Bomet.
He said the rally will be held following Mr Ruto’s request.
“We will be guests of Governor Isaac Ruto,” Mr Odinga said while announcing the formation of the alliance.
WORK WITH ALLIES
On Tuesday, Mr Ruto was quoted saying he would work with his allies to deny Jubilee Party breathing space in the South Rift and beyond.
He spoke in Emurua Dikirr Constituency where he joined MP Johanna Ng’eno and his Narok West counterpart Patrick Ntutu to launch the construction of Murkan-Chebara-Soget road and distribute funds to women groups.
“We welcome Nasa because it is their democratic right to campaign anywhere in the country. South Rift is not a preserve of some political outfits that lack respect for the electorate and elected leaders,” said Mr Ruto.
“We will ensure we suffocate Jubilee in Bomet and Narok Counties. They have shown us clearly that they have no value for us,” he said.
The governor said that Jubilee has nothing in terms of development for South Rift residents and urged voters from the region to support a party that had a clear development plan for them.
“We have always told President Uhuru Kenyatta that we support him.
“But he might be in for a rude shock during the August general election if he continues sending us political brokers to intimidate, abuse and disrespect us, “said Mr Ruto.
He added that the South Rift people will not be taken for a ride again and asked Jubilee to brace for tough times in the region if the president will not heed their call.
“All that we are demanding is respect. The political brokers working with the President have always felt too big for us. We will not allow this to go on,” he said.