Now URP party plots to tame Isaac Rutto
A group of elected leaders from Bomet County on Tuesday met in Nairobi in what was seen as an attempt to tame Governor Isaac Rutto.
The governor and Deputy President William Ruto have clashed over calls for a referendum to give more money to counties. Mr Rutto has been pushing for the poll as the chairman of the Council of Governors while the DP has opposed it.
On Tuesday 16 ward representatives were summoned to Nairobi, where they met with MPs from the county. The meeting at the United Republican Party’s offices on Mucai Drive was chaired by Senator Wifred Lesan.
In attendance were Deputy Speaker Joyce Laboso and MPs Paul Bii (Chepalungu), Benard Bett (Bomet East), Ronald Tonui (Bomet Central) and Sammy Koech (Konoin).
Bomet County Assembly has 35 ward representatives.
The governor is said to have retained the support of nine elected and 10 nominated ward representatives who declined to travel to Nairobi.
Governor Rutto described Tuesday’s meeting as an attempt to tame dissent in the same style Kanu did several years ago.
“They seem not to understand the difference between devolution and Isaac Rutto. This is not a URP or Jubilee affair. It is a matter of all Kenyans. I want to advise the new group that has joined URP that we fought for devolution and we still stand for it.”
The defiant governor maintained that his resolve to lead the push for meaningful devolution would not be stopped by underhand tactics being employed to disparage and isolate him.
“I want to advise them that trying to confuse County Assembly representatives will not help their cause, it will only harden our resolve. I am not afraid and, we as governors, have resolved to continue with our push for a referendum,” he said.
The Bomet governor also fired from his Twitter handle: “William Ruto has summoned MPs and MCAs to URP offices to discuss Taming Ruto, The return of Moi era.”
The two have differed at public events over the past two weeks with the latest being in Bomachoge where they both attended the home-coming of the Kisii Deputy Governor Joash Maangi.
On Tuesday the Deputy President declined to discuss the conflict when the Nation reached him and instead he referred us to his spokesman. Later the DP’s office denied knowledge of the Nairobi meeting.
“The Deputy President is on official duty in Mombasa and he is not aware of any URP meeting, neither is he involved in any party activities. He is the Deputy President of the Republic of Kenya and is busy serving the country,” the statement said.
Mr Lesan, who led the meeting, said it was convened to discuss the recent removal of the County Assembly chief whip and majority leader after a letter allegedly written from the URP headquarters sanctioned their removal.
“We came to inquire who sent the letter because it appears it was forged. We did not talk about the removal of the governor because we believe that everybody is entitled to his or her opinion,” Mr Lesan said.
However, he admitted that matters touching on devolution and referendum were also discussed. “We are listening to what people are saying on the ground— that they are tired of calls for the referendum. It is total confusion which we do not want,” he said.
Majority Whip Robert Serbai said members were are also concerned about the management of county finances.
“We have asked the governor to stop this referendum calls. But apart from that we have raised issues regarding the management of finances at the County. We are have asked for an explanation on why the County bought a car exceeding Sh 8.5 million for the governor and why he fired County Clerk Mr Daniel ole Nkere,” Mr Serbai said.
He however dismissed claims that the 16 Ward Representatives who met in Nairobi yesterday are planning to impeach the governor.
URP Secretary General Fred Muteti who also attended the meeting said they deliberated on concerns of the recent removal of Mr Serbai as the majority whip and Mr Julius Korir of Kembu ward as the majority leader at Bomet County Assembly.
Said Mr Muteti : “As a governor, Ruto knows he has no powers to remove the chief whip or the majority leader. When he speaks as governor of Bomet, it does not mean he is speaking on behalf of the people of Bomet.”
“Isaac Ruto does not speak for URP, or the people of Bomet. He speaks for himself and a few governors,” he said.-nation.co.ke