Kalenjin elders have warned that the community risks losing the 2022 presidential race due to the battle of egos pitting Deputy President William Ruto against Baringo Senator Gideon Moi.
The two are currently locked in a major supremacy battle for control of Rift Valley votes, with efforts to reconcile them proving futile due to their “high-handedness”, according to former Myoot Council chairman Major (Rtd) John Seii.
Mr Seii on Thursday complained that despite a spirited bid to unite the two leaders, the elders are yet to make a breakthrough and chances of doing so are slim.
“They are both our sons but they have decided not to listen to us. We have sought appointments through their personal aides and even approached them in public forums but all these efforts have proved futile,” he said.
The elders’ efforts have been derailed further by politicians allied to the two leaders who have been constantly engaging in a war of words.
Leaders allied to Mr Ruto, among them MPs Oscar Sudi (Kapseret) and Caleb Kositany (Soy) as well as Uasin Gishu Governor Jackson Mandago, have accused some leaders in Senator Moi's camp of being used to derail the deputy president's 2022 presidential bid.
Mr Mandago on Thursday lashed out at the so-called rebel MPs — Alfred Keter (Nandi Hills), Joshua Kuttuny (Cherangany) and Silas Tiren (Moiben) — over their alleged politicisation of the maize crisis to gain political mileage.
“If they are really genuine, they would be raising issues in Parliament for a legal framework to be put in place to streamline the maize sector,” Mr Mandago said.
Kericho Senator Aaron Cheruiyot also hit out at "some leaders from the Kalenjin community" who he said were being used to scuttle Mr Ruto’s 2022 presidential bid.
Nandi Senator Samson Cherargei said members of county assemblies and opinion shapers will be enlisted in popularising Mr Ruto’s presidential quest.
“We have drawn an inclusive plan to consolidate support for the DP and those opposed to his candidature are spoilers.”
He termed the perceived Jubilee Party rebels from the Rift Valley as traitors, noting that they have dug their own political graves.
But some leaders disagreed with the elders, arguing that there is no point in bringing the two leaders together because they both have different political ideologies.
But Mr Seii countered: “Our objective is the unity of all Kalenjins ahead of the 2022 general elections. It will guarantee better bargaining power even if one of our own does not succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta.”
While Mr Ruto has launched campaigns to succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta, Senator Moi has not publicly declared his interest to contest for the presidency in 2022.
However, his political allies, including Tiaty MP William Kamket, have maintained that Kanu will field its presidential candidate in 2022.
“We are working with like-minded parties to ensure that we win. Unlike our opponents who speak as though they have won, we are still engaging Kenyans and leaders from across the political divide,” Mr Kamket told the Nation on Thursday.