Elgeyo Marakwet leaders are divided on whether popular Uasin Gishu politician Zedekiah Kiprop Bundotich alias Buzeki should become the de facto Keiyo spokesman.
Some elders have endorsed Buzeki and thrown their weight behind his 2022 bid for Uasin Gishu governor but others, including Keiyo South MP Daniel Rono and his predecessor Jackson Kiptanui, have opposed this.
On Thursday, the Keiyo Council of Elders said it was dissatisfied with the community's leadership and its role, citing lack of unity between the two counties.
Ismael Kiprop Koech, who led the council in addressing journalists, noted that since former powerful cabinet minister Nicholas Biwott, this unity has shrunk.
“We are urging Mr Buzeki to vie for Uasin Gishu governor come 2022. We will fully support him. Anybody is free to vie for any political seat in any part of the country," he said.
“We are endorsing Mr Buzeki as our spokesperson. Anything he says is to the affirmation of the region’s council of elders."
The Keiyo elders accused the community’s leaders of doing little to unite members in Elgeyo Marakwet and Uasin Gishu.
Elder Adams Kimaiyo said, “We have witnessed many injustices under the current leadership. Most of our leaders are fulfilling their personal interests while abandoning the common man."
The council cited the controversial Kimwarer and Arror phantom dam projects and theft of public funds.
It also questioned how Jagir and Elgeyo Saw Mills land found its way into the hands of private developers.
Mr Rono and Kiptanui have, however, distanced themselves from such remarks and asked the elders to guard against being dragged into political sideshows.
“Ako kwa hiyo barabara pekee yake (he is alone on that road),” Mr Rono said, in reference to Mr Buzeki’s bid to become a county chief.
He spoke at Kuinet, Uasin Gishu, last Saturday during the burial of Governor Jackson Mandago’s brother Johana Kinyor arap Kirwa.
Mr Rono further accused his colleagues from the Rift Valley, who have fallen out with the DP, of betraying their electorate.
“Recently, some of us asked for votes and got them. Instead of serving the electorate, they disappeared. Let me put this on record ... that even if the DP defects from Jubilee and joins another party, we shall still follow him there because he is our preferred candidate,” he said.
Buzeki, once a member of Jubilee Party, has now joined Chama Cha Mashinani (CCM), whose leader is former Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto.
He says he wants to chart his own political path and does not want anything to do with the Tangatanga movement, which is associated with Deputy President William Ruto.
Buzeki, a business mogul who hails from Keiyo and who has invested heavily in Uasin Gishu, worked closely with the DP in the 2017 polls.
He was considered Dr Ruto's preferred candidate for the Uasin Gishu seat but lost narrowly to Mr Mandago in the Jubilee primaries.
Buzeki quit the party to run as an independent candidate but lost to Mr Mandago, garnering 148,124 votes against his opponent’s 193,606.
Meanwhile, CCM and Kanu, whose leader is Baringo Senator Gideon Moi, seem to be biggest beneficiaries of politicians' dissatisfaction in Jubilee.
Buzeki says the party is losing popularity in Rift Valley thanks to leaders close to the DP "who feel they have a monopoly over him" and can choose who should see him.
Last week, Buzeki told the Nation that "many people have reached out to me seeking guidance on the political vehicles to join to transform the region. You just watch this space".
Senator Moi also seems to be reaching out to leaders who seem unhappy with Jubilee affairs, among them Elgeyo Marakwet Governor Alex Tolgos.
Governor Tolgos recently announced that he was leaving the DP’s team in search for a more “accommodating” camp as the supremacy battle between the DP and Senator Moi intensified ahead of the 2022 election