Ruto deploys carrot and stick tactic
Deputy President William Ruto will be in the Central Rift on Sunday as he pursues a multi-pronged offensive against governors allied to his party who are clamouring for a popular vote to increase funding to counties.
Mr Ruto is using a carrot and stick strategy to win over the rebellious leaders.
He will hold a meeting with leaders in Nakuru town and raise funds for a number of churches.
The DP is expected to hold a closed-door meeting with county leaders at the Rift Valley Sports Club before presiding over the church fundraisers in Nakuru West constituency.
REFERENDUM ISSUE TO FEATURE
His host, Orange Democratic Movement MP Samuel Arama, said the Deputy President will be addressing a myriad of issues among them development, peace and reconciliation and ‘maybe’ the referendum matter.
Other sources, however, said the referendum issue was expected to feature at all the functions.
Nakuru governor Kinuthia Mbugua and most of the leaders in the region have gone public to brand it a “no-referendum zone.”
Initially all the governors from Mr Ruto’s Kalenjin backyard were vocal in their support for the Pesa Mashinani campaign.
However, only three: Isaac Ruto (Bomet), Paul Chepkwony (Kericho) and West Pokot’s Simon Kachapin now remain in the campaign.
Mr Chepkwony on Friday said he will not change his stand unless the government finds another way of increasing funding to counties.
“Governors are not saying it is mandatory for them to take Kenyans to a referendum. The National Government has an alternative of sending a Bill to Parliament to raise funding for county governments. If this fails, we will meet in the referendum,” he said.
His Nandi counterpart Cleophas Lagat quit the referendum train last weekend, saying he had listened to the voice of the people.
Dr Lagat made the decision on Sunday after months of pressure from the party that included a violent siege on his Kapsabet office during which his chief of staff was seriously injured.
Saturday Nation has learnt the URP rebel governors were also threatened with party disciplinary action, impeachment motions and legal action over ‘‘illegally acquired’’ riches.
A highly-placed source told Saturday Nation that Jubilee Government insiders had launched investigations into how rebellious governors acquired “much wealth within a short period”.
The DP is opposed to the twin referendum calls and the Nakuru visit is seen as a move to counter the recent launch of Pesha Mashinani campaign in Njoro.
Mr Ruto and his lieutenants, senators Kipchumba Murkomen, Charles Keter and Stephen Sang, have also exploited the accountability questions stalking governors.
“Their inability and unwillingness to account for some of their spending had made their campaign unpopular. This made work easier for us because the ground has not shifted in terms of the support for the Jubilee Government. What the voters want is a partnership between the counties and the National Government,” Mr Murkomen said on Friday.
He said he had been assigned to win over Uasin Gishu’s Jackson Mandago, Dr Lagat, Mr Kachapin “and to keep the referendum outside Elgeyo-Marakwet”.
The DP’s camp has been fighting the referendum calls by linking the governors’ Pesa Mashinani campaign to Okoa Kenya led by Cord Co-Principal Raila Odinga.