CCM leader Isaac Ruto with the party’s Nakuru governor aspirant Peter Koros at a rally in Kuresoi. [FILE, Standard]
Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto’s Chama Cha Mashinani (CCM) is in dilemma over which presidential candidate to support in the August 8 elections.
A highly publicised meeting on Monday in Bomet town bringing together more than 5,000 delegates from 26 constituencies failed to settle on who to support.
Instead, Myoot Council of Elders Kipsigis Chapter, Kipsigis community clans, Kipsigis elders and grassroots leaders from the South Rift region’s four counties – Narok, Nakuru, Kericho and Bomet – mandated Governor Ruto to engage Jubilee and NASA with a view to crafting a pre-election pact.
The elders directed that results of the engagement be tabled in two weeks for deliberations and for the best option to be picked before it is presented to the delegates in a followup meeting.
“A decision on the matter, which will have far-reaching effects on the political landscape in the Rift Valley ahead of the General Election, would be a collective responsibility of the elders, leaders and members of the Kipsigis community,” said Joel Kimetto, the secretary of the Kipsigis clans council.
It is understood that Ruto is keen to join NASA, but the Kipsigis elders, led by their chairman Isaiah Cheluget, want him to first reach out to President Kenyatta before making any decision.
Mr Cheluget and some elders feel it would be wrong to abandon President Kenyatta who he says has done nothing wrong to the Kipsigis community.
The elders also gave a raft of issues that would-be coalition partners must commit themselves to before the final decision is made by CCM.
Among the issues is a commitment to devolve 47 per cent of the national budget to the counties to spur economic growth and create employment opportunities in rural areas.
“The leadership of the community must be consulted before any decision is made in regards to exploitation of resources in the region and appropriation of public land for whatever use,” Kimetto said in the meeting attended by Kuresoi South MP Zakayo Cheruiyot.
Cheruiyot said the Jubilee leadership had undermined elected leaders from the South Rift for the last five years and the region had been discriminated against in development.
“The Kipsigis community has been given a raw deal in the use of national resources and appointments to government positions. This is despite the fact that we supported the government almost to the last man in the last General Election,” he said.
Apparently, NASA has a head-start in the proposed talks and Amani National Congress (ANC) deputy party leader Kipruto Kirwa attended the Bomet meeting.
Kirwa gave the clearest indication that NASA was keen on working with CCM by stating that he was in the meeting with the blessing of the coalition’s leaders, Raila Odinga, Musalia Mudavadi, Kalonzo Musyoka and Moses Wetang’ula.
Mr Kirwa said NASA would immediately commence engagements with CCM and the coalition was considering backing the party’s candidate for the Nakuru governor race, Peter Koros.
“I want to make it clear that NASA is keen on clinching the support of residents of the South Rift region. We are aware of the high number of voters in the region, which, despite having supported Jubilee in the last elections, has been sidelined in development,” he said.