Some former inner-core leaders of the now defunct United Republican Party (URP) and strong supporters of Deputy President William Ruto in North Rift have decamped to NASA in what is likely to jeopardise Jubilee’s strength in the region.
The leaders including former Jubilee Party director and URP Chief Executive Officer (CEO) David Koech, Chesumei MP Elijah Lagat, former MPs Peris Simam (Eldoret South), Stephen Tarus (Emgwen), Jesse Maiz (Eldoret South), John Cheruiyot (Aldai) and a former Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) director Judith Cheptoo Koskei now say they will rally behind NASA and its presidential candidate Raila Odinga.
Coming days after President Uhuru Kenyatta and Ruto concluded an intensive tour of the region, the leaders said they would “back a political outfit that will focus more on immediate economic interests of the region and not necessarily based on 2022 succession politics”.
The leaders said it was a new dawn for change vowing to lobby for more votes in favour of Raila Odinga and NASA.
Dr Joseph Misoi, former MP for Eldoret South and a pioneer proponent of Majimbo (federalism) in 1990s, said they would front NASA and Raila campaigns in the region, adding that calls to have 45 per cent of national revenues be distributed to counties should be a factor ahead of August elections.
Speaking separately to The Standard, the leaders claimed that the JP administration had failed to perform, adding there was need for a regime-change to enable NASA reverse the current high cost of living, rising poverty levels and youth unemployment among other issues.
“NASA is a winning team and we will rally behind its flag bearer Raila. JP has failed and will lead us nowhere. The road projects they talk about were done during the Grand Coalition regime and includes Mosoriot-Kaiboi, Chepterit-Kapsisiywa in Nandi and even the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR),” said Lagat.
Tarus said: “Economic fortunes of the Rift Valley region should be priority. Are we not going to be cheap to say we support Jubilee Party so that TNA supports us in 2022, and yet there is nothing to gain economically?”
Tarus, a former Kenyan Ambassador to Australia said focus should be put on issues that will enable farmers gain in the agriculture sector.
“Farmers are still suffering and the fertiliser factory that was promised by Jubilee Party is just a go-down. Construction work for roads recently launched in Kapkatembu, Kimondi and Kesses has not taken off, will they be built with the debts on foreign borrowing?” questioned Tarus.
He expressed confidence that NASA stands for increased resource distribution to counties thus opening equal opportunities for development in all regions of the country.
Koech took issue with the Jubilee administration, saying it was bailing out financial mess in parastatals without arresting those behind mismanagement of public resources in the institutions.
“Parastatals are supposed to generate revenues to the Exchequer. The Government is spending millions in bailing them out of financial crisis yet it has failed to arrest those behind mismanagement,” said Koech.
He added: “Some people are “jubilated” (sic) but may not understand why they are “jubilated.” People may not understand but we have no future in Jubilee”.
Koech, a former MP for Mosop in Nandi, said farmers were still a disappointed lot due to expensive and inaccessible farm inputs.