By Derrick Kiplagat
Council of Governors Chairman Isaac Ruto remains adamant and maintains that he will not join the Jubilee Alliance Party criticizing the President for turning a prayer meeting into a political rally to market the alliance. He further asked the President and his deputy to stop “thumping their chests” as they market their new party and stamp out rebellion within the coalition.
“The Jubilee Coalition consists of the United Republican Party (URP) and the National Alliance. I don’t know what this animal called JAP is and I will never join it,” he said at a news conference on Monday. Ruto added “South Rift region is not an extension of Central Province. Leaders here have their own style of doing things and this does not include being coerced.”
Ruto said that they had invited all leaders to Bomet irrespective of their political affiliations, but moved on to point out that it was wrong for the visitors to “chest thump” while marketing their political parties.
The governor was speaking to reporters a day after President Kenyatta and his deputy visited Bomet to attend a fund raising event to fund the construction of the African Gospel Church investment Centre and regional office.
At the fundraiser, the two leaders hit out at those perceived to be rebels, asking them to toe the party’s line or “the writing was on the wall” a move interpreted by many as having directed to the Bomet governor who has lately been the coalition’s biggest adversary. Ruto said that the President and his deputy went against the church’s wish that politics be kept out of the church.
“The Sunday function was purely a prayer service and it was wrong for the Head of state and his Deputy to use the podium to popularize JAP in South Rift Region,” he said.
The governor moved on to say that even though they were happy that the President and his deputy visited, it was improper for them to introduce politics in the meeting. He insisted that South Rift residents were in Jubilee coalition as opposed to JAP.
Ruto’s outburst comes even as he continues with his bid to sue the Jubilee coalition for ousting nine members of the county assembly in the Rift Valley region. The nine had been removed from office for allegedly promoting ideals not in line with the party’s ideals and aspirations. Governor Ruto has read malice in the move, noting that all nine MCAs were allied to him at the time of their dismissal. He has challenged Deputy President William Ruto to stop taking out his allies within the party and challenge him directly for the leadership of the Rift Valley region.
Governor Ruto and Senator Gideon Moi are now seen as Deputy President William Ruto’s biggest rivals in the battle of political supremacy in the rift.