URP to punish county reps for backing referendum

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DEPUTY President William Ruto’s URP is cracking the whip on defiant MCAs and targeting governors who have sided with Cord’s push for a referendum.

URP has summoned eight of the 10 nominated MCAs of the Bomet County Assembly in a move seen as a way of limiting support for Governor Isaac Rutto.

Rutto, who chairs the Council of Governors, has insisted that he will push on with the plebiscite, but added that his TNA counterparts can act as they see fit.

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“Our colleagues are free to pull out of the referendum, but  we are pushing on for the issues that we raised. The referendum is not personal, but about protecting devolution and the county government agenda. The issues we are pushing for amendment in the constitution are pertinent,” Rutto said.

The eight have been summoned to appear before the Working Committee of the National Executive Council of the United Republican Party on September 3 to explain four allegations leveled against them.

In one of the letters seen by the Star, dated August 25 and signed by the party’s secretary general Fred Muteti, the eight are set to clarify four allegations, one of which includes advancing and advocating policies against the party manifesto.

They have also been accused of advancing and supporting the polices of another party, failing to safeguard and defend the party and its policies and showing disrespect to party unity on top of campaigning against it.

Two MCAs, Wilsion Keter and Hellen Chepkirui, both representing persons with disabilities, have, however, been spared.

Nancy Chekirui, Bency Too, Beatrice Too, Aurelia Rono, Patrick Chepkwony, Rose Boiyon, Josphine Rotich and Hellen Taplilei yesterday confirmed receiving the letters.

“The party is considering taking disciplinary action against you on allegations under Article 30 of the constitution and is by this summons giving you an opportunity to give your explanations and clarifications to the committee prior to any disciplinary action being taken,” the letter read in part.

Speaking to the Star, Muteti warned that “no stone will be left unturned” to ensure discipline, saying the directive to close ranks applies to all URP members who do not toe the party line.

“As I said before, the party position is very clear. We we are not supporting a referendum and any of our members who violate that position will be disciplined according to laid-down party procedures,” he told the Star yesterday.

“When I say all members, I mean both elected and nominated, including governors. No one is above the law. When you violate the law, know that you have no place in URP. We have just started with Bomet MCAs. We will cast the net wider and next will be the governors,” he said.

TNA governors pulled out of the push for the referendum and their counterparts in URP have been under pressure to bolt.

Apart from Rutto in South Rift, his Kericho counterpart Paul Chepkwony has come out to say he is still supporting the referendum, while those from the North Rift have gone to ground.

Last Sunday, Elgeiyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen and nominated Senator Beatrice Elachi warned that action would be taken against governors who defy the Jubilee position.

One of the Bomet MCAs, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal, indicated that the allegations were baseless and intended to intimidate and frustrate them.

“We do not know the real intentions because we have never at any point gone against the demands of the party and campaigned for other parties, as claimed,” said the MCA.

– the-star.co.ke

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