CRISIS IN URP OVER THREAT TO TAME ISAAC RUTO
NAIROBI, KENYA: Deputy President William Ruto reportedly hosted United Republican Party (URP) supporters from Rift Valley in a meeting in Nairobi at which he asked party members not to rock the Jubilee government.
But as the DP sought to calm the tide in his party, URP national officials failed to persuade the Nandi County leadership to drop the referendum push during a meeting in Kapsabet Wednesday.
And the party also adopted a hard-line position on Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto with officials saying a National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting would be convened on Tuesday to consider sanctions against him.
But Ruto, also the Council of Governors (CoG) chairman, dismissed the planned disciplinary meeting, saying URP had no legitimate NEC members as the party was yet to conduct elections.
The Standard established that the DP met over 70 supporters considered influential at the grassroots at Weston Hotel along Langa’ata Road on Tuesday in a morning meeting.
Ruto is said to have asked the supporters, a majority of who are popular callers to vernacular radio stations in the region, to remain steadfast and continue to support the party.
“Please shun the governors pushing for Pesa Mashinani. They have other agenda than the referendum push. We are in Jubilee and we cannot start to make noise now that the Government belongs to us. We need to work closely,” one of the participants who spoke to The Standard quoted Ruto as telling them.
Kapseret MP Oscar Sudi reportedly attended the meeting. One of the supporters is said to have told the DP that they were feeling neglected in the region because those in Government were not helping them much.
But Wednesday, the DP’s Director of Communications David Mugonyi said he was not aware of the meeting which came a day after an ugly incident at the Mara University in Narok where Majority Leader Aden Duale was involved in an altercation with Governor Ruto.
Wednesday, Governor Ruto kept up the push for a referendum and dismissed the planned disciplinary action against him by his party.
URP Secretary General Fred Muteti had said the party would on Tuesday convene a NEC meeting to discuss sanctions against the Bomet chief and Narok Deputy Governor Evalyn Aruasa over their unrelenting Pesa Mashinani campaign.
“The meeting will decide the fate of the two leaders who have openly defied the position taken by the party on the ongoing referendum debate. We might be forced to invoke the Political Parties Act because the two have been supporting ideologies of other parties,” Muteti told The Standard Wednesday.
He said Ruto had defied verbal warnings from the party’s leadership.
“The Narok deputy governor will also be summoned next week to explain why she insists on following the Bomet governor while her boss has distanced himself from the Council of Governor’s Pesa Mashinani campaigns,” Muteti added.