Political rivalry in the Rift Valley pitting the North – which has the Nandi and a cocktail of other sub-tribes – on one side and the populous Kipsigis on the other – is far from over.
The Standard On Sunday has established that Kipsigis MPs drawn from URP and ODM have in the last two weeks been meeting in Nairobi and Kericho to chart the future of their community, which they claim has been given a raw deal in sharing of the national cake.
The Kipsigis MPs have so far held two meetings and are planning a third one in a fortnight at an undisclosed location.
The first one was held at Fairview hotel in Nairobi and was attended by MPs Isaac Rutto (Chepalungu), Julius Kones (Konoin), Franklin Bett (Bureti) Magerer Langat (Kipkelion) Joyce Laboso (Sotik) and Beatrice Kones (Bomet). Only two MPs were absent, Charles Keter (Belgut) who was in Eldoret attending to his ailing mother and Benjamin Lagat (Ainamoi) was on official engagement in Ethiopia.
The agenda at Fairview was aimed at marshaling House support for the candidacy of Mr Ronald Ng’eny to the East African Legislative Assembly (Eala). Sources disclosed that other issues were discussed including the future of the community in successive regimes, party affiliations notwithstanding.
“In deed we met and Rutto will tell you that the greatest resolution we made was that the Kipsigis, irrespective of party affiliation, have a right to self-declaration,” said Kones.
The leaders met again in Kericho at Samred estate and more than 150 councillors, mayors, county council chairmen from Bomet and Kericho counties were present.
Speaking to The Standard On Sunday Roads minister Frankin Bett said the community has unanimously agreed to claim their rightful share in the region and will hold more talks towards achieving the same and dismissed as simplistic claims that they are splitting the Kalenjin nation.
“We are only described as the ‘populous’ community but short-changed at the behest of the North Rift,” he said.
“When the Grand Coalition Government was formed, out of six dockets only one went to us, the late Kipkalya Kones at the time. Even appointments to State corporations under the Agriculture docket, despite being many, nothing was given to us. The recent appointments to constitutional commissions went to the North Rift again – Micah Cheserem (Commission on Revenue Allocation Chairman) and Irene Serem (Salary and Remuneration Commission),” lamented the minister, saying the Kipsigis are christened as ‘changmbuch’ meaning ‘many for nothing’.
The perception that it was the North Rift legislators led by Eldoret North MP William Ruto who fought against Ng’eny’s candidacy to Eala has intensified the rivalry between North and South.
Ruto and his URP lieutenants have however maintained that they supported Ng’eny and faulted Bett for engineering a split within the Kalenjin nation, something the Roads minister has dismissed as simplistic.