ICC factor fuels Ruto’s fights in the Rift Valley

Baringo Senator Gideon Moi has stepped up his campaigns in the Rift Valley which some say are being fuelled by fears of a political vacuum in the region should the International Criminal Court case go against Deputy President William Ruto.

Mr Moi, whose new-found political activity has drawn the ire of Mr Ruto, on Friday addressed rallies in Keiyo and is on Saturday expected in Nakuru and Bomet counties.

Mr Tom Mboya, a political analyst from Maseno University said: “The ascendency of Ruto to power as the DP was informed by the ICC cases which he used to whip up support from his community.

“The question that many people are asking now is that in the event that he is found guilty, a vacuum will certainly arise and that explains some of the activities you are witnessing in the Rift Valley. Should this be the case, it will be incumbent upon the people of Rift Valley to find somebody to fill in the gap.”

The younger Moi could be one of those people.

But on Friday, his key ally, Kanu secretary-general Isaac Salat, dismissed the idea that those engaging the DP could be planning their political breakthrough on Mr Ruto’s troubles in The Hague.

Mr Ruto and former radio journalist Joshua Sang are charged as indirect co-perpetrator and contributor, respectively, to the 2007/08 post-election violence in which an estimated 1,133 people died.

The Hague remains tricky for Mr Ruto. Already, ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has called all her witnesses except one.

The conclusion of the prosecution’s case will pave the way for the Ruto and Sang defence teams to seek to have the case thrown out. If they fail, the case will proceed to its logical conclusion and the judges’ ruling could go either way.

If it goes against the DP, it will be a blessing for Mr Moi.

REBRANDING KANU

Mr Moi, however, says he will be the last person to divide the community.

In an interview in Nairobi on Friday, a guarded Moi said he had not declared that he would go for the presidency, but was quick to say he “would continue rebranding Kanu and voicing out the plight of Kenyans”.

“2015 is our year of building the platform; in 2016 the engine will be revving and in 2017 you will begin seeing the steam,” Mr Moi said, adding his recent political activity had received an overwhelming response from the region.

The DP last week fired a salvo at the Kanu boss, accusing him of seeking to divide the Kalenjin.

“You (Mr Moi) must accept to be led, even if your father led the country for 24 years. Stop dividing the Kalenjin,” he said at Kiplombe in his Uasin Gishu County at the end of a whirlwind tour of the region seen as countering Mr Moi’s and Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto’s onslaught.

GENTLEMAN’S AGREEMENT

On Friday, Mr Moi said he did not wish to respond to Mr Ruto’s charge nor was he out to divide the Kalenjin, as “the issues I’m raising affect all Kenyans.”

According to Jubilee’s political plan, Mr Ruto will be the alliance candidate when Mr Kenyatta ends his second term in 2022 — if he is re-elected.

But in reference to this gentleman’s agreement on Friday, Mr Salat said: “You can’t hold us hostage for 10 years to actualise a person’s dream. Our people must seek for their rightful place in the universe without such hindrances.”

The Kalenjin and a majority of Kenyans, he said, had not benefited from the Jubilee administration and that “we cannot sit pretty when the plight of farmers is ignored. All we want is better livelihood for our people.”

The former Bomet MP also disclosed that Kanu had launched a massive recruitment drive to boost its membership. “In terms of network, there is no single party that can match us. We are activating all our old contacts and reaching out to new ones,” he said.

Governor Ruto has openly disagreed with the DP on a number of issues such as the calls for referendum to increase funding to the counties, as well as the recent formation of JAP party which is expected to swallow URP and TNA.

Analysts say South Rift (read Kipsigis) worries Mr Ruto the most because it accounts for more than half of the entire Kalenjin vote.

Mr Salat said the 2007 election was a protest vote against President Kibaki while the 2013 one was a “protective” one given both Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto were facing charges at the International Criminal Court.

Asked if the 2017 election won’t still be a protective one, seeing as Mr Ruto’s case wasn’t over yet, Mr Salat said Kenyans had done their bit.

“The last election was about uniting the two leaders who were before the ICC. It was like saying we are giving you this weapon to go and wriggle yourself out. The President has managed and his deputy could, too. If that doesn’t happen, there is no debt,” he said.

Elgeyo-Marakwet senator Kipchumba Murkomen said:  “We supported Gideon’s father for a long time. So we expect him to reciprocate by supporting Ruto. I am hosting him in my county tomorrow (Saturday) and I will tell him about this.”

-nation.co.ke

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