In the wake of soaring political temperatures in the Rift Valley, former President Daniel arap Moi hosted scores of elders at his Kabarak home on Monday.
The six-hour meeting with about 70 Kalenjin elders, reliable sources told the Nation on Wednesday, addressed concerns that the rivalry between the Deputy President, William Ruto, and the President Moi’s son, Gideon, was threatening to scuttle the community’s collective clout.
The elders reportedly asked Mr Moi to rein in his son and the DP because their fight was exposing the community to ridicule to other communities.
“We want to listen to one leader but not to be seen as a wrangling community,” said one of the elders from Keiyo who attended the meeting.
Another elder said that the meeting resolved to reduce the heightened political rivalry in Rift Valley “in the next few days”.
Reports that the DP had used derogatory language against Senator Moi has only fuelled the bad blood between the two, which was triggered by the March 7 Kericho senatorial by-election which has morphed into a political duel between the duo
The elders, the source said, were picked from Keiyo, Kipsigis, Tugen, Nandi and Sabaot communities.
On Monday West Pokot Senator Prof John Lonyangapuo, alluded that the elders had spoken about political competition without destroying Kalenjin unity in the meeting that lasted from 9am to 3pm.
“Everyone who has a problem like my brother William Ruto with Gideon Moi that we do not understand, please we want you to sort out your issues like real men would do in the bush,” Prof Lonyangapuo told journalists on Monday.
In an earlier interview the chairman of the Kipsigis Myoot Council of Elders, Bishop (Rtd) Paul Leleito, also termed the supremacy battle between the DP and Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto as a huge embarrassment that could divide the community.
“As elders, we are tired of this senseless war of words between leaders without any iota of respect for each other. They have departed from the objective for which we elected them and started a process which could end up dividing the Kalenjin people,” Bishop Leleito said in an earlier interview.
The feeling in the Monday meeting, the sources said, was that although there might be issues between the Moi family and the DP, a formidable Kalenjin unity was better than disintegration based on the misunderstandings of the two.
In the Kericho senatorial race to replace Energy Cabinet Secretary Charles Keter, Kanu is backing former Health Minister Paul Sang against Jubilee’s Aaron Cheruiyot.
Kanu is backed by rebellious Jubilee leaders including Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto, Narok Senator Stephen ole Ntutu, MPs Alfred Keter (Nandi Hills) and his Kapseret counterpart Oscar Sudi.
The Deputy President has portrayed a vote for Kanu as a vote for the opposition, and an attempt by the Moi family to force itself on the Kericho voters.
“We supported Mzee Moi for the 24 years he was in power. Now that I am close to the presidency, his son has shot up to claim that no one can become President if you are not a Moi,” said the DP in Kericho on Saturday.
The DP’s onslaught on the Moi empire was the toughest in 2007 when he ensured that three of Moi sons — Gideon, Raymond and Jonathan — were not elected to parliament.