The political supremacy battle in Rift Valley intensified at the weekend, with some leaders warning Deputy President William Ruto he was not guaranteed of the region's support in 2017.
Led by Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto, Baringo Senator Gideon Moi, KANU Secretary Nick Salat and Former Bureti MP Paul Sang, the leaders told the DP to invest more on service delivery to Kenyans and stop political witch-hunting and fighting leaders who do not share his political ideologies in the region.
Speaking during a fund's drive at Sachang'wan Secondary School in Kuresoi North constituency in Nakuru County over the weekend, the leaders said there were a lot of issues facing people in the region that required urgent intervention by the Government instead of the reckless talk by the DP.
Citing the hundreds of families wallowing in various camps in Bomet, Narok and Nakuru counties and run-away insecurity occasioned by cattle rustling in Baringo, the leaders said the Government should move with speed to address the issues rather than endless politicking and witch-hunting perceived opponents.
"It is sad that in Kuresoi constituency alone, there are 500 families living at Kiletien camp where the elderly and children have undergone untold suffering and continue to wallow in poverty," Gideon said.
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The senator said there was need for the Government to address the many problems bedeviling the society and consult local leaders for lasting solutions instead of talking down on them.
"The families have gone without food and medication yet the Government is not concerned about their plight," he said.
He wondered why the Government was still dilly-dallying over the resettlement issue yet it had stated that land had been found to compensate those who lost out.
Bomet Governor said the DP should be wary of how Jubilee handles the eviction of families from Mau Forest lest what befell former Prime Minister Raila Odinga after the 2005 evictions happens to him.
"We all know why voters in Rift Valley differed with Raila in the run up to 2013 polls and I do not think the DP wants the same fate to befall him," said Ruto,
He warned the DP against sidelining some leaders from the region opposed to his style of leadership. "They (Jubilee government) are saying they will win in 2017. So, I have been wondering, will they require our votes or they will count the 2013 votes?" Posed the governor.
The governor dismissed the formation of Jubilee Alliance Party (JAP), accusing the DP of taking the support of the Kipsigis community for granted.
"Ignore the formation of JAP and remain in URP. One person cannot stuff us in one sack like potatoes then carry it whenever he wants and sits on them when he gets tired," said Ruto.
He took a swipe at the DP for declaring that he would contest the presidency in 2022, saying the political dynamics were changing fast and it wouldn't be a surprise if he himself would be in the ballot. "When people said Ruto will be President in 2022, I became happy because we are two Rutos and people will decide which Ruto they will vote for...." He said amid cheers from a huge gathering that attended the function.
He said it was the responsibility of the Government to resettle the families who were evicted from the forest, noting that the inhumane manner in which the issue has been handled is a human rights matter.
"We are not opposed to conservation of the forest and all other water towers in the country but all we are demanding for is the rights of the people to be respected," Ruto said.
Salat said it was a shock to many when the DP told a TV station that those who were in various camps were con men masquerading as squatters.
"Our people who were evicted nearly 10 years ago from Mau forest are suffering from hunger and diseases in various camps and DP should direct his energies to resolving the issues rather than concentrating in salvaging his political image at every stop," Salat said.
He told the DP to desist from attacking Kanu at every turn, saying he (Ruto) was a product of the independence party and should respect the political outfit that made him what he is now.
"Just like me, my brother Ruto was the Secretary General of Kanu... and he did well during his time. If he wants to earn respect, he should respect the political outfit that he grew in," he said.