A section of MPs drawn from the Luhya and Gusii communities yesterday fought allegations that they had received bribes from Deputy President William Ruto to support the newly formed Jubilee Party.
The bribery allegations emerged as Mr Ruto hosted a delegation from Kisii and Nyamira counties, comprising several Cord MPs, at his Sugoi home in Eldoret on Thursday.
Mr Ruto is also due to hold another delegation from six constituencies in Kakamega county, led by MPs hitherto allied to Amani National Congress leader Musalia Mudavadi, at the same venue on Friday.
The bribery allegations were first raised by Lugari MP Ayub Savula, who accused his colleagues from Kakamega County of leading delegations to the DP’s home to receive cash handouts.
His claims were supported by Busia Woman Representative Florence Mutua and South Mugirango MP Manson Nyamweya who are both allied to Cord leader Raila Odinga.
“The DP called me personally asking me to be part of the delegation but I told him off. He should know Luhyias cannot be bought like goats at Kimalel market. Those who are going to Sugoi are being bought cheaply to undermine Musalia Mudavadi in Western, I cannot be part of that scheme,” Mr Savula told Nation.
He claimed that Mr Ruto was giving the MPs “cheap money” to ferry delegations to his home to proclaim their loyalty to the new Jubilee Party.
Separately, Ms Mutua accused Mr Ruto of seeking to divide Western by “buying” some of the elected leaders.
“They can buy the leaders for Sh1 million but they cannot buy the people, let them know that,” she said during a press conference at Mr Odinga’s Capitol Hill offices in Nairobi.
Mr Nyamweya, who spoke separately, condemned the Kisii and Nyamira delegations for allegedly accepting bribes from Mr Ruto to defect to the Jubilee Party.
He described Thursday’s meeting at Sugoi as self serving and a throwback to the Kanu era.
“Someone needs to explain from which account they drew the expense because I am sure they did not use personal funds,” Mr Nyamweya told Nation by phone.
“We want to know if they are truly in the party or they are turncoats.”
He said it was shameful that “even in the current constitutional dispensation people travel to seek handouts from leaders.”
But MPs, who attended the meeting at Sugoi, maintained that they had not been given any “inducements” by Mr Ruto.
They included Mr Jimmy Angwenyi, Mr Joel Onyancha, Mr Stephen Manoti, Mr Richard Onyonka, Mr Elijah Moindi, Mr Richard Tongi, Mr Zebedeo Opore, Mr Hosea Ochwang’i (nominated Senator) and Kisii Deputy Governor Joash Maangi.
“We have come here on our own volition without any form of inducement from any quarters,” said Mr Maangi, who led the group.
He said the Gusii leadership was keen to work with the government and join the new Jubilee Party.
Mr Onyonka said: “We have learnt our mistakes and we will not afford to remain out of the government come the next general election. We are putting our house in order so that we become part and parcel of the Jubilee Party.”
For their part, Western MPs denied claims that they were receiving bribes to take delegations to Mr Ruto’s home.
“I can confirm that the trip is on. There will be delegations from six constituencies namely Mumias East, Mumias West, Navakholo, Ikolomani and Lurambi.
I categorically state that this has nothing to do with being bought, we simply agree with the ideology of the Jubilee party,” Navakholo MP Emmanuel Wangwe.
Mumias East MP Benjamin Washiali said preparations for the trip had been finalised.
Mr Wangwe wondered why Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale had not been branded a sell-out when he ditched Mr Mudavadi’s former party United Democratic Forum (UDF) for Cord.
“Musalia too left ODM for UDF, a party whose origin was in Central Kenya, was he bought? Raila too left NDP to join Kanu and then LDP, Narc and today ODM, was he bought all this time?” Mr Wangwe wondered.
Mumias East MP Benjamin Washiali who will lead the delegation said preparations for the trip had been finalised.
He said that the region stood to benefit from infrastructural development and other projects if voters supported President Kenyatta and the Jubilee party.
“Our mission in Sugoi is clear. We want to get a reassurance from the Deputy President on how we stand to benefit from the government after supporting the Jubilee leadership,” said Mr Washiali.
He said President Kenyatta and his deputy had clearly demonstrated they were ready to work with residents of western to improve their livelihoods.
He said that Mr Ruto had assured them of several projects the government plans to implement including the construction of nitrogen plant, a bull semen centre and a milk processing plant.
Stories by PETER LEFTIE, WYCLIFFE KIPSANG, BENSON AMADALA AND MAGATI OBEBO