The political arena in Rift Valley is headed for encouraging times after it emerged that power brokers in the region are planning to thwart Deputy President William Ruto’s plot to stamp his authority as region’s kingpin.
Several players within the political circles believe that KANU leader Gideon Moi, who doubles up as the Baringo Senator, is the most suitable candidate to fit into his father’s political shoes compared to DP Ruto.
David Chepsiror, a member of the Kalenjin Council of Elders (Myoot), argues that Rift Valley at large has two leaders who are capable of leading the country.
He notes that apart from DP Ruto, Senator Moi is capable of leading the region as evidenced by the fact that he was selected as his father’s heir during the recent burial at Kabarak.
“Currently, Mr Gideon is very powerful- he is not the same person as he used to be when his father was still alive. That is a fact that everyone is aware of,” Mr Chepsiror said.
“This means that he is now able to vie for the presidency and it is for a fact that KANU is still a party to watch in the coming days,” he added.
Speaking to Opera News, sources within the Kalenjin Council of Elders revealed that the region’s kingpin position had been declared vacant and plans were underway to get the right person who will take over.
“Until his death, the retired President served as the region’s kingpin and the position is vacant- already lobbying has kicked off with various leaders proposing who they wanted to take over,” the source stated.
The source further stated that the BBI political wing which has been holding rallies across the country had settled on Mr Gideon to be the Rift Valley point man.
He also stated that already Mr Gideon had the blessings of the Kalenjin, Maasai, Turkana and Samburu’s (Kamatusa) to spearhead their political agenda.
“Already, a number of political leaders in the communities have been meeting people and selling the Gideon agenda and there is no looking back,” stated the source.
“In future, we shall start having people visiting Kabarak and having one on one talks with Mr Gideon so that he can understand what they expect of him,” the source added.
Another plan that was hatched last week was the marketing of KANU party, which Gideon Moi is the chairman, in other regions.
The source said that a number of people have been tasked with selling its agenda in other regions with the aim of giving Gideon a national political outlook.
“Since 2013, Mr Gideon was a senator and he had to concentrate on working for the people who voted for him, but as his last term nears, we now have the agenda of giving him a national political outlook,” the source concluded.
However, Myoot chairman Mr John Seii, who is also a member of the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI), recently told a local publication that voters in Mount Kenya region should not be forced to support the DP come 2022.
He said that they had a right to vote for anyone and backing DP Ruto come 2022 should be a friendly move but not an ultimatum.
“If the voters in Mount Kenya region decide that they don’t want DP Ruto to take over from President Kenyatta and back anyone else from Rift Valley we shall go with that because politics keep on changing each new day,” Mr Seii stated.
Kipchumba Rono- a close confidant to Gideon and also a KANU official, revealed that no-one had occupied the position since it needed an agreement between four communities.
According to him, the Kalenjin, Maasai, Turkana and Samburu’s were key players in the decision is to be made on who will be the regions kingpin.
“Those are the communities that have been under the leadership of the late President and they have been united for over four decades and we don’t want to see that change,” he stated.
He also clarified that when Gideon was crowned the political heir during retired president Daniel Moi’s burial, it meant that the family had given him the go-ahead to lead them and he was the most suited to fit in his father’s shoes.
During the burial, Raymond Moi, who is the eldest son in the family and also the Rongai MP, was given the baton by elders but handed it over to Mr Gideon, explaining later it was the wish of his late father.
The plans have seen several political leaders from the region take sides with a section backing DP Ruto and the others rallying behind Mr Moi.
Political leaders from the region who are rallying behind DP Ruto include; Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen, Kapseret MP Oscar Sudi, Kericho Senator Aaron Cheruiyot, Nandi Senator Samson Cherargei and Governor Stephen Sang.
The five are said to be fronting DP Ruto to be the region kingpin.
It is worth noting that already, DP Ruto has opened up and said that he might decide not to run for presidency citing malice from his political enemies who are afraid that he might win the 2022 elections.
Speaking during a funeral in Nakuru County this week, he also raised concern that the media was spreading lots of propaganda which was being propelled by those opposed to his political ambitions.
Political analysts Onyango Ochieng told Opera News that the elders should consider a number of factors if at all they want to remain politically relevant.
According to him, it was no secret that DP Ruto is already way far ahead on matters politics compared to Gideon and that his influence was not only felt within the vast Rift Valley but also across the country.
“It is no secret that DP Ruto is a charismatic character who is smart enough to organize and have the whole of Rift Valley support his presidential bid compared to Mr Gideon,” he stated.
“When it comes to Mr Gideon what does he have to offer, what can he bring on the table apart from that his father was the second President of Kenya?” he posed.
According to him, the KANU chairman is the cultural kingpin but it is advisable he backs DP Ruto on matters politics.
Mr Ochieng argues that since 2013, the DP’s influence on matters politics was on an upward trajectory and it was evident with how he scooped electoral seats in Rift Valley with his URP party yet Mr Gideon was the chairman of KANU.
“Again in 2017 he still won a majority of the seats in Rift Valley, it is no secret that the DP is powerful politically in the region and it is advisable the elders take advantage of that,” he concluded.
Here is a video of Rift Valley elders calling for an end to the William Ruto-Gideon Moi feud