Jubilee leaders in Bomet on Monday dismissed a homecoming rally organised for Governor Isaac Ruto, which was attended by top opposition leaders and used to portray the South Rift region as shifting to the opposition.
The leaders said nothing would move South Rift away from the Jubilee administration, promising to do all they could to ensure the region votes as a bloc for President Uhuru Kenyatta next year.
National Assembly Deputy Speaker Joyce Laboso, who is in the recently-formed Jubilee campaign team, said the governor had gone alone to the opposition. She will vie for Bomet governor’s seat next August.
The rally planned to welcome Mr Ruto after a two-week stay in South Africa, where he sought treatment following a scuffle during a football match, was held on Sunday at Bomet Green Stadium.
Wiper Leader Kalonzo Musyoka said the region was no longer supporting Jubilee. The rally was also addressed by Amani National Congress Leader Musalia Mudavadi, Kanu Chairman Gideon Moi, ODM Chairman John Mbadi and a number of Jubilee rebel MPs.
Ms Laboso, also the Sotik MP, said Bomet voters had taken note of who their incumbent governor was hobnobbing with.
“We thought it was a prayer rally but it seems it was a political rally. We are wondering if the governor was truly injured or he was just playing games. Bomet County is a Jubilee zone and the governor cannot continue lying that he supports President Kenyatta when he is befriending the opposition,” she said.
Dr Julius Kones, also an aspirant for the governor’s seat under Jubilee, said the rally would not sway his supporters. He added that the county would solidly vote for President Kenyatta next year.
“Most people have not been swayed. They will still remain with Jubilee but we will redouble our efforts to ensure no one leaves,” said Dr Kones.
PRAY FOR PEACE
Bomet Woman Rep Cecilia Ng’etich said it was sad that the inter-denominational prayers for Mr Ruto had been turned into a political rally.
“The main theme was to thank God for the governor’s return. It was meant to pray for peace, unity and tolerance among leaders. But the event was turned into a platform to hit out at the Jubilee administration,” she said.
Ms Laboso also dismissed Kisumu Governor Jack Ranguma’ advice to her to instead seek Kisumu’s gubernatorial seat, where her husband comes from. During the rally, Mr Ranguma said African traditions did not allow women to vie for leadership in their birth homes once they are married. He said they could only vie in their matrimonial homes.
Ms Laboso, a two-term MP whose husband comes from Kisumu, was born in Sotik in Bomet and is seeking to unseat Mr Ruto next year. Yesterday, she said Mr Ranguma was stooping too low.
She said the governor “should first put his house in order before venturing out to give unsolicited advice”.
“Ranguma cannot advise the people of Bomet on who they want to be their governor. He is busy traversing counties to give unsolicited advice yet his ground is so shaky. From what we hear, he could easily be defeated next year. I am asking Bomet people not to listen to such advice from people who are facing problems in their backyards,” she told the Nation on phone.
Ms Laboso said she would challenge Mr Ruto and that her campaign for the seat was steadfast. “If you talk to most people in Bomet, they will tell you whom they want to be their next governor and whom they don’t want. They know I will deliver and that is why they want me to unseat Isaac.” she said.