Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto has declared war on Deputy President William Ruto’s Jubilee Party, saying he will not be stopped from selling his new outfit, the Mashinani Party.
On Saturday, Governor Ruto and Emurua Dikiir MP Johana Ng'eno confronted police officers at Sogoo, Narok County, accusing them of denying them a chance to hold a rally.
This happened two days after a similar episode in Sosiot, Kericho County. Police said they stopped the rallies because Mr Ruto had not applied for permits.
Last week, Governor Ruto announced the formation of Mashinani Development Party of Kenya after falling out with the Deputy President over the dissolution of the United Republican Party (URP) to form Jubilee Party.
“We will not be cowed by Jubilee’s tactics. We have a right to sell Mashinani Party.
“In 2017, I will defend my seat on a party not allied to Jubilee,” Governor Ruto told the Nation on Sunday.
The Kericho senatorial by-election will be an acid test for the vocal governor’s party as he renews a supremacy battle with DP Ruto in the vote-rich Rift Valley.
Analysts say if Governor Ruto loses in the two polls, it would give the DP an opportunity to slay him politically in 2017.
If he wins or gets a sizeable percentage, Governor Ruto would have established himself as a formidable rival of the Deputy President.
The Bomet County boss said he would back Kanu’s Paul Sang in the by-election on March 7, 2016.
Seven hopefuls have lined up for the Jubilee ticket in the January 16 primaries.
Governor Ruto would also be taking on DP Ruto in the Nyangores Ward by-election.
Area MCA Cecilia Towett died in a road accident in 2015.
MDPK’s Andrew Maritim will battle it out with Jubilee’s Richard Leitich.
In Kericho, Jubilee has asked 10 aspirants to reach consensus in order to avoid a primary.
Governor Ruto has been in Kericho on three occasions to market his party.
He has been joined twice in Bomet rallies by Mr Ngeno of Kenya National Congress.