Rift Valley Council of Elders have dismissed as “a big joke” the installation of Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto as the Kipsigis community spokesman.
Council chairman Gilbert Kabage described it as ‘a big joke taken very far’, adding that it had no political significance in the region.
Governor Ruto was on Saturday installed as the Kipsigis spokesman by the Kipsigis Clan Association during a rally attended by National Super Alliance (Nasa) leaders at the Bomet Green Stadium.
Nasa Presidential flag bearer Raila Odinga termed the installation as significant, saying it would further elevate his status and dent Deputy President William Ruto’s influence in the region.
However, Mr Kabage said the installation was not an endorsement by Rift Valley elders, but by “hungry people” and political brokers.
He said the installation was not done according to the Kalenjin culture.
“Installation of any leader as a Kalenjin or Rift Valley elder must be a sacred affair, which should be conducted after thorough preparations,” added Mr Kabage.
The installation has sparked a debate in the South Rift region with a section of elders distancing themselves from the activity.
Mr Kabage, who was flanked by council Secretary Peter Charagu maintained that Deputy President Mr Ruto was the recognised spokesman of the Kalenjin community.
“Governor Ruto is on a mission to divide the Kalenjin vote. I warn Kalenjins to keep off the Chama Cha Mashinani Party leader and his associates as they are mere political brokers and selfish leaders,” said Mr Kabage.
Mr Charagu also dismissed claims by the opposition that Rift Valley has shifted support to Nasa.
“The Rift Valley is firmly behind President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy Mr Ruto. Any person opposing the DP is an imposter,” said Mr Charagu.