Rift Valley elders call for talks between Uhuru, DP Ruto

Friday May 22 2020
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President Uhuru Kenyatta (left) and his deputy William Ruto. Elders and political leaders from the Rift Valley are mounting pressure on the two leaders to sit down and talk over the thorny issues in Jubilee Party, saying this will ease the rising tension. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By ONYANGO K’ONYANGO
By EDITH CHEPNGENO

Elders and political leaders from the Rift Valley are mounting pressure on President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto to sit down and talk over the thorny issues in Jubilee Party, saying this will ease the rising tension.

Members of the Kalenjin Council of Elders said the escalating cold war between the President and his deputy, which has seen allies of the DP removed from their plum leadership positions in the Senate, is not good for the country at a time when the coronavirus pandemic is ravaging the world.

The elders, in an interview with the Nation, said there is a need for inclusivity and patriotism now that the country is feeling the pinch of the virus crisis, locusts’ invasion and floods.

CHALLENGES

"This country is at war with Covid-19, locusts and floods hence political games should be put aside but it is very unfortunate that it is taking place when people are suffering," Myoot Council of Elders Chairman Emeritus John Seii, who is also a member of the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) task force, said.

"Coronavirus is like an external attack and as a good soldier, you focus on the external as you put aside internal affairs until the war is won and that is why we want the President and his deputy to reconcile and work together to win this war. Removing of Kipchumba Murkomen (Elgeyo-Marakwet) and Susan Kihika (Nakuru) could have waited," Mr Seii said.

NO RIGHT PRIORITIES

The elders lamented that politicians have failed to set the right priorities and rather than focusing on how people could be cushioned against the effects of Covid-19, they have decided to indulge in pushing their 2022 agenda.

"When leaders are divided, driving the country becomes very hard, more so during this time when we are witnessing a virus crisis, locust and floods. Let the country be united without anyone being sidelined. Those who want to politick [should] wait until 2022," added John Yego, a member of the council.

They had earlier hinted that Mt Kenya residents should not be forced to vote for Mr Ruto in 2022 in order to succeed President Kenyatta even as some allies of the DP insist that the promise ought to be respected.

VERBAL AGREEMENT

The elders said the agreement between the two leaders was just verbal and everyone is entitled to vote whoever they want.

“If our friends from Mt Kenya will not rally behind DP Ruto in 2022 to succeed the President, from the point of the elders, we will accept it because politics will be here today and somewhere else tomorrow. It is not a game of mathematics that you can add one plus one to know where it is going,” said Mr Seii.

Speaking separately at an Eldoret hotel Wednesday, a section of North Rift MCAs called on the President and his deputy to put aside their differences and work together during this pandemic and put in place a Covid-19 recovery plan.

The ward reps drawn from Uasin Gishu, Elgeyo-Marakwet, West Pokot, Nandi and Baringo counties appealed to the national leadership to act as a symbol of peace, insisting that the county assemblies are not ready for all the political tensions being witnessed.

STICK TOGETHER

According to Kipruto Kimosop, the MCA for Mochongoi Ward in Baringo County, the country is now facing a lot of problems and this should be the time to stick together.

“As the representatives of North Rift county assemblies’ bloc, we are appealing to our President and his deputy and also the Cabinet to work together in helping suffering Kenyans now. We are all aware of the economic challenges caused by Covid-19, and it is the time for the country to stand together,” said Mr Kimosop.

The MCAs also called on the residents of the region to keep calm despite what they termed as a provocation after the ouster of Mr Murkomen from the Senate majority leader’s position.

Kapseret MP Oscar Sudi intimated to the Nation that they are currently pushing for a dialogue between the two top leaders to end the escalating wrangles within the ruling Jubilee Party.

"We would like to see the President and his deputy," said the Kapseret MP.