President Uhuru Kenyatta visits Uasin Gishu today as fierce rivalry between two gubernatorial candidates threatens to destabilise a region that was at the centre of the 2007/08 post-election violence.
Governor Jackson Mandago, the Jubilee’s candidate, is facing Mr Bundotich Zedekiah Kiprotich, better known as Buzeki, who is running as an independent.
The rivalry between the two has raised tension between some communities in the county considered one of Jubilee Party’s strongholds.
Mr Mandago, has accused other communities of ganging up against his administration by supporting Mr Buzeki.
He has threatened to ask his supporters to quit Jubilee and support Nasa.
However, the President, who will be accompanied by his deputy William Ruto, is expected to intervene in order to avert a destructive fallout in one of his dependable voting regions.
BUZEKI RIGGED OUT
The rivalry started after Mr Buzeki convinced other communities in the county who feel marginalised by Mr Mandago’s administration to support his candidature making the incumbent feel threatened as he only relies on his community to vote in the coming polls.
The two faced each other in the nomination but the governor won with 126,681 votes against Mr Buzeki’s 82,869 votes.
Mr Buzeki however insists he was rigged out as the governor’s votes in many polling stations far outnumbered those of other aspirants.
Mr Mandago has always defended himself against accusations that he is tribal, saying he had members from all communities in his Cabinet.
However, last week Friday he made remarks directed at communities he claimed were working towards his ouster.
“We will count the first 100 votes and if we see that they have gone to our rival then we will tell our supporters to vote elsewhere.
“It is not a must that we are in the government,” Mr Mandago said without elaborating how votes locked in a ballot box would be counted before polling stations are closed.
The remarks were echoed by two other MPs: Alfred Keter (Nandi Hill) and Oscar Sudi (Kapseret), who are close allies of the governor.
However, in an attempt to quell the tensions, the DP held a two-hour closed meeting on Tuesday night with all Jubilee aspirants from Uasin Gishu, Nandi and Elgeyo-Marakwet counties at Boma Hotel in Eldoret Town, where he spoke firmly against leaders fuelling animosity in the region ahead of the August 8 General Election.
Mr Ruto is said to have cautioned the leaders against making reckless remarks likely to breach peace in the area ahead of the August 8 polls.
He is said to have been particular about the conduct of politicians from Uasin Gishu County.
“Leaders must be leaders in all aspects. We do not expect divisive remarks from any person calling themselves a leader. I come from Uasin Gishu and you must respect that. You cannot go around talking as if you are not leaders,” the DP told them.