The Battle for the Rift Valley vote basket ahead of the 2022 presidential election between Deputy President William Ruto and Baringo Senator Gideon Moi appears to have taken shape after their allies faced off in Kericho County on Saturday.
Political lieutenants of DP Ruto led by Elgeyo Markwet senator Kipchumba Murkomen and Belgut Member of Parliament Nelson Koech disagreed publicly on who the Kalenjin community should back for the top seat with Senator Moi’s supporters who were led by Baringo Women Representative Gladwell Tungo and Tiaty MP William Kamket.
The public political showdown took place during the homecoming ceremony for Bureti Member of Parliament Japhet Mutai that was attended by DP Ruto at Kapkatet Primary School grounds.
In a show of defiance and bravery, Mrs. Tungo took to the podium and declared support for Senator Moi, despite being largely outnumbered by Jubilee diehards.
“Every fruit tree bears its own fruit with its own sweetness. Rift Valley had two bulls and I will not abandon my candidate whose star is slowly rising and I am sure by 2022 will be strong enough to face off with any other candidate for the top seat,” she said.
Mr Kamket, a Kanu MP who brought greeting from his Party Leader, said the Baringo senator was set to visit South Rift anytime soon.
“I have heard so many things said about my party leader but he will come here to address those issues himself. But the final decision of who will win the presidency in 2022 will be made by the Kenya electorate,” said the Tiaty MP.
But Murkomen, Kericho Senator Aaron Cheruiyot and Kipkelion West MP Hillary Koskei, took the challenge head on, telling off the Baringo Senator as a weak candidate who could not stand against DP Ruto on his own.
“The political dynasties are trying to gang up against Ruto who rose through the political ranks without a backing of a powerful political name,” said Murkomen.
Murkomen who is also the chairman of Kalenjin elected leaders nonetheless said, they were ready to send a delegation to meet retired president Daniel Arap Moi.