Efforts by the Kalenjin Council of Elders to reconcile Deputy President William Ruto with Kanu Chairman Gideon Moi might be thrown into disarray after Kanu Secretary-General Nick Salat asked the DP to apologise to the Moi family.
In an exclusive interview with the Nation on Wednesday, Mr Salat said Kanu was ready for any reconciliatory moves to enable the two Rift Valley leaders to work together in the run-up to the 2022 elections.
“Our chairman, who is the Baringo Senator, is ready for any peace talks with DP Ruto but the elders who have shown that they would like to mediate between the duo must understand the genesis of the rift. DP Ruto should ask for forgiveness from the family of the former president because he is the one who has been saying unpalatable things about them,” Mr Salat said.
The elders recently warned that the community risked failing to clinch the presidency in 2022 due to the supremacy battle between Mr Ruto and the Baringo Senator.
Myoot Council of Elders Chairman Maj (rtd) John Seii complained that their efforts to reconcile the two leaders have proved futile due to their "high-handedness”.
He said they have not been able to meet either of them.
“Both are our sons but have not listened to us. We have sought appointments through their personal aides and even approached them at public forums but in vain,” he lamented.
The elders’ efforts have been derailed further by politicians allied to the two leaders, who have been engaging in a war of words.
Kanu on Wednesday said it will not accept reconciliation if it disadvantages the Baringo senator. Mr Salat said that the region cannot risk fielding a single candidate in the next General Election, maintaining that Kanu will field a candidate.
“As a party, we cannot accept mediation if our chair will be asked to step down for Mr Ruto. Kanu will provide alternative leadership because, as Rift Valley, we cannot put all our eggs in one basket,” he argued. But the DP’s allies differed with Mr Salat and the elders, saying there was no need to bring the two leaders together since they have different political ideologies.
“There is no political crisis to warrant reconciling DP Ruto with Gideon Moi. They have their own political ambitions, which they are determined to achieve,” said Nandi Senator Samson Cherargei, adding that any candidate eyeing the presidency in 2022 is free to sell their manifesto to the electorate.
“Everybody is free to vie for the presidency and it will be up to the electorate to decide who is best suited to be the next head of state. Our elders, too, should desist from localising the DP’s candidature because he is a national leader and Jubilee’s flagbearer come 2022,” he added.
Meanwhile, Keiyo South MP Daniel Rono said that although they are all from the Rift Valley, “the reconciliation our elders intend to initiate might hit a deadlock because those opposed to Mr Ruto’s dream have different interests. Reconciling the DP with Gideon Moi might not succeed because the younger Moi is looking for political relevance and does not care about his followers,”
But the Myoot Council of Elders believes that fielding two presidential candidates will be detrimental to the community.
“Our objective is to unite the Kalenjin ahead of the 2022 General Election. It will guarantee better bargaining power,” Chairman Seii said.