UhuRuto party woos Henry Kosgey, Frankline Bett with eye on Rift Valley votes
Eldoret, Kenya: President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto’s new political outfit is currently wooing key political figures in Rift Valley as it seeks to boost it popularity in the region.
Jubilee Alliance Party (JAP), the party that is set to be Uhuru and Ruto’s political vehicle in the 2017 General Election, is said to be talking to former Industrialisation minister Henry Kosgey and Franklin Bett, the former Roads boss, to join its ranks.
Mr Kosgey, a former Orange Democratic Movement chairman, still commands a substantial following in the vote-rich region.
A senior JAP interim official revealed yesterday that they were in consultation with Kosgey on the possibility of joining the party.
Caleb Kositany, the JAP deputy secretary general, said Kosgey and Bett had made private inquiries about the new party but were yet to make their final decisions.
“Kosgey and Bett have made their private inquiries about JAP. Kosgey has not been active in ODM and I am sure he will soon make an announcement on his political future,” he said.
It is also understood that a politician allied to the United Republican Party has been trying to convince Kosgey to ditch the Orange party for JAP.
But during a rare public appearance since he lost the Nandi senatorial seat to Stephen Sang in the last General Election on an ODM ticket, Kosgey was tight-lipped on the JAP issue.
“I am ready to work with the current crop of leaders to unify the country,” said Kosgey while addressing a congregation at St Michael Catholic Church in Kesses constituency on Sunday.
“We need to create a progressive, all-inclusive and prosperous nation,” he said.
Kosgey was accompanied by Kapseret MP Oscar Sudi and former Eldoret South MP David Koros.
Mr Koros decamped to JAP from ODM and has declared an interest in the party’s Uasin Gishu County chairmanship.
Kosgey, alongside Bett, Sally Kosgey (Agriculture) and Musa Sirma (East African Co-operation) were for a long time the face of the Orange party in the region.
In a phone interview, former ODM Executive Director Marerer Lang’at also said he was yet to decide which party to join.
“I am yet to quit ODM but when I do, I will do it in style,” said Lang’at, who was manhandled by some ODM supporters during a party meeting last year.
There has been talk that if Kosgey were to leave the Orange party for a new outfit, he would be chairman.
However, efforts to reach Kosgey for comment were fruitless as his phone went unanswered.
Kosgey was the longest-serving ODM national chairman and only relinquished his position after the bungled party elections in Kasarani in February last year.
“If Kosgey decides to join us, he will be welcome,” said Kositany, who described Kosgey as a senior leader with a wealth of political experience that would be an asset to JAP.
Emgwen MP Elijah Lagat (URP) said he would also support Kosgey if he was made the chairman of JAP.
But David Songok, the Uasin Gishu ODM chairman, dismissed any possibility of Kosgey joining JAP and taking up a leadership position.
“They have tried to woo Kosgey to JAP but he will not move out of ODM as he is one of its founders and also a life member. He is in ODM to stay,” said Songok.