Ruto under pressure to control URP governors
NANDI Governor Cleophas Lagat has become the latest regional CEO from the populous Rift Valley to defy President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto by declaring support for the referendum.
Others who have defied the ruling Jubilee leaders are Bomet’s Isaac Rutto, who is also the chairman of the Council of Governors, Kericho’s Paul Chepkwony and Benjamin Cheboi of Baringo.
All four were elected on a URP ticket.
Flanked by his deputy Dominic Biwott, 27 MCAs led by Majority leader Samuel Sawe and Majority Whip Wilson Sang, Lagat yesterday dismissed threats by the Jubilee leaders as inconsequential, saying “I fear nothing”.
The President has told Jubilee governors to either abandon the referendum push or quit his alliance.
“They can only threaten civil servants and not us – because we are accountable to those who elected us. Why should I pull out when our roads are in pathetic condition because of government’s refusal to disburse money for their repair? We have no superhighway here in Nandi to warrant me do so,” the governor fumed.
Jubilee governors from the TNA-dominated Central region withdrew from the referendum push after the coalition threatened them with removal.
Addressing a press conference in a Kapsabet hotel yesterday, Lagat hit out at a number of senators who have been crisscrossing the nation depicting governors as thieves.
“Let senators Kithure Kindiki, Kipchumba Murkomen and Stephen Sang tell Kenyans where they have been getting the money to shuttle across the country to attack us. This is taxpayer’s money,” Lagat exclaimed.
He said the senators were trying to blackmail them into abandoning the referendum call, an initiation that could eventually benefit the people.
The governor said the position he had taken was conceived after serious consultation with community elders, MCAs, church leaders and civil society organizations.
The meeting was however boycotted by the 14 URP nominated female MCAs, who said they were toeing their party position. Nominated county reps have been threatened with the sack if they support the referendum.
The latest development may put the Deputy President into sharp focus, considering that the President has managed to silence his TNA governors.
The DP is keen to rally Rift Valley behind him to cement his bargaining position within the Jubilee government that will be seeking a second term in 2017. But the cracks within his party are understood to have put him in a political fix.
URP secretary general Fred Muteti declared in a phone interview: “Sooner than later, Governor Rutto and company should be ready to go. If they think they are popular, let them resign and run on a Cord ticket because they are furthering the opposition agenda. The rogue governors must be restrained from backstabbing the party that sponsored them”.