Uasin Gishu governor aspirant Zedekiah Kiprop, also known as Buzeki accompanied by supporters. (Photo: Peter Ochieng/Standard)
Uasin Gishu independent governor candidate Zedekiah Kiprop Bundotich alias Buzeki has rejected calls by Deputy President William Ruto to drop his bid.
Mr Ruto over the weekend asked Buzeki to drop his bid and support Jubilee Party candidate Jackson Mandago, saying he (Buzeki) would be accommodated in Government if Jubilee wins the August 8 elections.
But Buzeki said the calls were unwarranted and amounted to intimidation, maintaining he would never be moved in his quest to contest for the seat and asked the DP to “let the people decide”.
Political observers in the region said the call by the DP was meant to cool down rising political temperatures and also dispel simmering ethnic undertones witnessed in public rallies.
Mr Mandago is currently under probe by the National Cohesion and Integration Commission over alleged hate speech.
Buzeki: I am not a Jubilee project
“The DP’s declaration might serve little to dim Buzeki’s bid to unseat Mandago.
As long as his name is still in the ballot in August, the political atmosphere in the county remains the same.
Ruto was playing safe to contain pressure exerted on him by Jubilee candidates in the region,” said Josiah Kemboi, a local political observer.
During President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy’s tour of Uasin Gishu and Elgeyo Marakwet counties, ugly scenes unfolded as the crowds disapproved some Jubilee candidates right before their eyes.
Elgeyo Marakwet Governor Alex Tolgos of Jubilee was forced to cut short his speech after residents shouted him down, demanding that his competitor Moses Changwony (independent) address them.
Mr Tolgos, who was standing atop his vehicle, was forced to eat humble pie and invite Changwony to speak to the crowd to wild cheers from the ecstatic residents.
“We shall campaign and vote for your reelection as an independent candidate. But let the people decide the kind of leaders they want at the grassroots,” Mr Changwony told President Kenyatta.
But when he spoke, Tolgos said: “Mr President, we are assuring you of 100 per cent votes in this county but on the issue of my seat, I will handle Changwony.”
In Ainabkoi and Soy constituencies, the script was no different as the crowds disrupted the speeches, chanting the names of William Chepkut and Robert Kemei, both independents.
Chepkut is contesting for the Ainabkoi MP seat against Jubilee’s Samuel Chepkonga while Kemei will battle it out with Professor Margaret Kamar of Jubilee for the Uasin Gishu senate seat.
Sunday morning, Uhuru held a meeting at Eldoret State Lodge with all candidates running on Jubilee tickets for elective positions in Uasin Gishu and Trans Nzoia counties.
The delegation from Uasin Gishu was led by Mandago and included Gladys Boss Shollei (Woman Rep candidate) and Kamar (Senate candidate).
All nominees for the positions of Member of Parliament and member of county assembly (MCA) attended the meeting.
The delegation from Trans Nzoia was led by the Jubilee nominee for governor, Kakai Bissau, who was accompanied by Michael Mbito (Senate candidate) and Janet Nangabo (Women Rep nominee).
The meeting was also attended by all jubilee candidates for the offices of MP and MCA in Trans Nzoia.
President Kenyatta urged the Jubilee candidates to mobilise voters to turn out in large numbers so that Jubilee wins with a decisive victory.
“Let us make sure that on the day of voting every voter comes to vote because a vote has value only when it goes into the ballot box,”he said.
Ruto and National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale also attended the meeting at the Eldoret State Lodge.
But Buzeki in a press conference, later, said: “Let the people decide at the ballot.”