Power struggle:Uhuru to skip Bomet in tour of South Rift


BOMET, KENYA: Bomet County has been dropped from the list of places President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy William Ruto will tour on Tuesday.

In what is seen as a power struggle between Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto and Kericho Senator Charles Keter, Bomet was cut off in the last minute even as preparations were underway in the county to receive the president. Those in the know told The Standard that Keter influenced the last minute move causing jitters and tension between leaders from the two South Rift Counties.

The news of the last minute cancelation of Bomet as one of the destination for President Uhuru and his Deputy brought to a halt preparation at Silibwet sports ground in Bomet Central where the president was to address the public. Sources say the Kericho senator also influenced the moving of the venue for the Kericho rally to Kapkatet sports grounds from Kericho green stadium without informing other leaders from the community.

Kapkatet is regarded as a historic site for the community where major socio-economic and political decisions are made. It is regarded as a site that is co-owned by all community members irrespective of the counties they belong to and the decision to hold the rally has not gone down well with the community elders who were not consulted.

Keter is claimed to have sidelined Governors from the region in planning for the rally in a bid to “teach them a political lesson” Keter is a close ally of deputy president while the governors –Ruto and Prof Paul Chepkwony ( Kericho)- are seen as independent minded leaders who do not necessarily suck-up to the deputy president. However, the two Governors have since elbowed their way into the planning for the meeting and brought on board members of the county assemblies and elders from Nakuru, Kericho, Bomet and Narok counties.

The governors are also demanding that the protocol issues must be observed with the governors being the ones to welcome and invite the president and his deputy to address the people.

Great exception was taken during the home coming of Bureti MP Leonard Sang in Litein town last month where governors were forced to sit in the back row while Mps and senators sat at the dais with Deputy president William Ruto who grace the occasion.

Despite the stalemate, Governor Ruto met with senators and MPs from Kericho and Bomet counties at Kapkatet open grounds on Sunday evening where they sought to dispel rumours of a rift between them.

But even as they met, Keter insisted that he would be the one to address the handful of resident last bringing to fore the long standing supremacy struggle between him and Governor Ruto.

The crowed during Sunday meeting at Kapkatet, however, demanded that Prof Lessan and Keter should address them a head of the governors. “It does not matter who speaks last because we are addressing the same people,” Keter said when he took the microphone from his Bomet counterpart Prof Lessan. In availed indicator of the power struggle, Bureti MP Lenard Sang stated during the meeting that the protocol issues would be broken “because of other reasons”.

Ruto and the MPs alter agreed to put their personal and political differences during the presidential tour so as to accord Uhuru a befitting welcome. The leaders later went to the Bureti District Commissioner’s residence to check on the progress of the ongoing renovations.

The president will be meeting leaders from the region in the morning before proceeding to Kapkatet for a public rally. “As late as Sunday, we knew that the president would be touring Bomet and Kericho. But it is now apparent that his handlers have convinced him to go to Kapkatet,” Bomet County Assembly leader of Majority Josphat Kirui said. Kirui said there had not been any official communication on the sudden change of venues for the presidential rally. “We are hoping no one is playing some political monkey games with this presidential tour,” Kirui said.

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