By Beauttah Omanga
Presidential aspirant William Ruto is in a quandary as he ponders over the best way to sustain his political support in South Rift following a clash between MPs Julius Kones and Isaac Rutto over United Republican Party affairs.
Ruto’s dilemma is how to ensure the two MPs’ tiff does not end up splitting the support he enjoys in the region. He is aware of the onslaught by his critics led by Roads Minister, Franklin Bett, who says his party is not as promising as Raila Odinga’s ODM.
Bett recently crossed his community’s border to the neighbouring Nyamira, where he told worshippers at Bosiango South SDA Church that the Eldoret North MP has slim chances of winning the presidency compared to Raila. “I can tell you the Kipsigis are solidly in ODM contrary to Ruto’s posturing that the entire region is with him in URP. I am not ashamed to bring it to your attention that Ruto is going nowhere and Raila will be the next president,” said Bett.
He said infighting in Ruto’s camp was evidence enough that they have no order in running a serious campaign. During the Nyamira tour, Bett won support from local ODM delegates led by Charles Sagwe and councillor Stanley Charana in his bid to be Raila’s running mate.
In the URP Bomet supremacy wars pitting Isaac Rutto against Dr Kones, the row widened with the Chepalungu MP’s move to open a URP office in Konoin constituency.
The two MPs have vowed not to stop at anything in their bid to be URP candidates for the governor’s seat. The move worries Ruto that the infighting could undermine his support. Initially, Ruto had to deal with the discomfort by the Kipsigis community, who seemed restless that they were politically being taken for granted by their North Rift kin.
The two MPs, as they moot their strategies to fight it out for the governor’s seat, are engaging in mudsling against each other.
“He should have known that I am not his equal. I play hardball. It’s either he joins me or he waits for a humiliating defeat,” said Rutto. He says Kones should join his camp.
But an adamant Kones has laughed off Rutto’s invitation, saying it was such posturing that would deny him a chance to be elected governor of Bomet. “Bomet people are very peaceful and want leaders they can bank on. Such arrogance by Isaac is not going to translate into votes,” said Kones.
He says it’s in bad faith and a sign of disrespect of the Chepalungu MP to go opening party offices in other MPs’ constituencies.