Kanu and Chama Cha Mashinani (CCM) are reaping from the new political realignments taking shape in Rift Valley region as the 2022 succession race hots up.
The parties are making gains as fallouts emerge over increased suspicions in Jubilee pitting Deputy President William Ruto allied team Tanga Tanga and Kieleweke, which has been opposed to early 2022 campaigns.
The latest fallouts have emerged in Dr Ruto’s North Rift political stable even as he intensifies his popularity hunt seeking to succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta in 2022.
Leaders bolting out blame a clique of "cartels" surrounding the DP for their exodus. They have warned that more leaders will exit the Jubilee Party if he does not reign them in.
The DP’s allies, however, dismiss any allegations of frustrating leaders, saying those seeking to join Kieleweke team should not use "non-existent excuses".
At the weekend, businessman cum politician Zedekiah Kiprop alias Buzeki formally announced that he would be joining former Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto's CCM after hosting several supporters at his Ainabkoi home.
He joins Elgeyo Marakwet Governor Alex Tolgos, who recently announced that he would work with Baringo Senator and Kanu Chairman Gideon Moi because of the latter’s tolerant and accommodating demeanor.
Mr Tolgos said he did not regret his close association with Senator Moi and urged people not to panic over his move. He said he could not be intimidated since he was an elected leader.
“Some people are saying I have decamped from Tanga Tanga, but I have never been in that outfit. What I am displeased about is the vigour with which the DP's allies have been insulting me and other leaders at various forums. I have borne the brunt of incessant insults from Jubilee leaders and they should know I will go with my supporters to Kanu.”
Kanu Secretary General Nick Salat yesterday told The Standard insults fired back and forth by leaders would not solve anything but aggravate the challenges facing the electorate.
“As Kanu, we are ready to welcome all those joining us and work with us. As we speak now, we are in a strategy meeting on how we shall ensure the party offers alternative leadership away from the nauseating insults the public is treated to,” he said.
He added that Kanu would remain the party of choice for many because it was not held by individuals but espouses nationalistic ideals of peace, love and unity.
“Leaders should know that going personal will not help us but we should (work) together (to) address the challenges facing the country and we shall work with parties that have similar ideals with us,” he said.
Mr Buzeki said sustained attacks against his Uasin Gishu gubernatorial bid by Ruto's allies had made him look elsewhere for associates with whom he shared ideologies.
“There are individuals who are gravely intolerant and thrive in retrogressive politics that if you follow their ideals then you have their blessings. But I am not that kind of politician. I have my ideologies on how to better the lives of people,” Buzeki told The Standard.
In 2017, Buzeki vied for Uasin Gishu gubernatorial seat and lost to Jackson Mandago after getting more than 148,000 votes.
He claimed his troubles with the DP's associates started when he decided to help farmers get fertiliser after the government failed to provide the subsidised one. The gesture, he says, displeased Ruto's allies and allegedly termed him 'Satan' who should go away from the party.
In February, Buzeki helped farmers to identify the Export Trading Group (ETG) to support in procuring maize from farmers at Sh1,900 per 90kg bag and also sell fertiliser to them at Sh3,000 per 50kg bag through registered cooperatives.
Farmers' representatives entered an MOU after the Government announced that subsidised fertilisers would not be available to farmers for the current planting season. It was also during this time that farmers were frustrated by strenuous vetting processes before supplying their produce to the Government through the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB).
Cereals producers had expressed frustrations queuing for weeks in a bid to deliver their produce to NCPB due to long vetting procedures.
In a scathing attack on some Ruto’s allies yesterday, Buzeki stated: “I have decided to go away to God and to the people so that we can save this country from the real cartels that are evil.”
He said more political bigwigs tired of dictatorship and graft cartels in Jubilee would join CCM in order to liberate the country from agonising poverty.
“A DP Ruto’s aide and an MP in Uasin Gishu have been going round saying that they will never issue a Jubilee certificate to me for my gubernatorial race come 2022 since I come from the Keiyo community. This is what broke the camel’s back in regards to my association with Jubilee,” he charged.
He said it was absurd that when the DP was seeking support from other communities, a cartel in his circle was busy profiling people to issue the Jubilee certificate come 2022 elections.
“After wide consultations, we have decided to move to CCM and from today there is no reverse gear. We will move to make CCM the most popular and grassroots-based party in Kenya,” he said.
The DP's allies, led by Senate Majority Leader Kipchumba Murkomen (Elgeyo Marakwet), however said those jumping ship had never been Ruto's supporters but had been clinging on his clout for political survival.
“We shall deal with them when campaign time comes and we shall separate the wheat from the chaff,” said Mr Murkomen.
He said his support for UhuRuto was unequivocal and unconditional and would not be dictated by other supporters of DP Ruto or Uhuru.
“I have been a victim of insults from across the country for supporting Jubilee government, but my backing will not end soon since it is my resolve. I know some of those who support DP Ruto do not love me but we are duty bound to ensure we support him,” said Murkomen.
MPs Caleb Kositany (Soy) and Oscar Sudi (Kapseret) dismissed Buzeki saying his move would not have a consequence on Jubilee.’
“I had offered myself to be a strong supporter of Buzeki, but he is now failing to play his cards well. He should come out clearly, that he and his supporters are joining Kieleweke team instead of using other excuses,” said Mr Sudi.
Kositany said Buzeki had decamped from Jubilee prior to the last General Election, and was therefore no longer a member.
“Buzeki is the National Vice Chair of independent candidates, while William Kabogo is the chair,” he said.
Tiaty MP William Kamket said Ruto's allies were exposing their master with outright insults to their perceived foes.
Paul Kibet, Kanu’s Rift Valley coordinator, said: “There are political dynamics in the country with strong coalitions expected. Some of those in Jubilee are working with us because Kanu has a strong foundation with major projects visible across the country.”
Mr Kibet said Gideon would be in the front line come 2022, adding his party was looking to work with like-minded leaders to fight issues affecting residents of Rift Valley and beyond.