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South Rift URP leaders, elders consult over new party to counter JAP

By Stephen Mkawale | October 26th 2015
Led by Simon Sang, some URP leaders among them South Rift Kalenjin elders and former councilors address the Press in Nakuru on Saturday. [PHOTO: KIPSANG JOSEPH/STANDARD]

A number of United Republican Party (URP) ‘rebels’ have been holding consultative meetings with leaders from the region to discuss the possibility of a new political party.

Kuresoi South MP Zakayo Cheruiyot yesterday said The National Alliance (TNA) had outmaneuvered URP, hence the need for members of the Kalenjin community to form another party.

Speaking at Kiptaragon, the MP said the decision by Deputy President William Ruto to support the merger of the two parties had forced them to look for another home. “Definitely, we are going to join another party as soon as URP dissolves. We are not going to JAP because that has never been our intention when we decided to enter into a coalition with TNA,” Mr Cheruiyot said.

He was speaking only a day after a group of former civic leaders and some members of the Kipsigis Myoot Council of Elders held a consultative meeting in Molo to strategise for the new party.

According to the Secretary General of the Dock Workers Union, Simon Sang, the group plans to bring on board elected leaders before unveiling the new party in December.

“We have reached out to a number of leaders including governors, MPs and ward representatives from South Rift to support the initiative,” Mr Sang said after one of the consultative meetings held in Nakuru County at the weekend.

He revealed that they were in the process of registering a party that would target the South Rift.

Sang said they intend to reach out to governors in the region including Kericho’s Paul Chepkwony, Kinuthia Mbugua of Nakuru and Narok’s Samuel Tunai to support the new political outfit.

Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto and a number of URP MPs from Narok, Kericho and Bomet are said to be behind the push for the new party. The governor fell out with the deputy president over plans to merge URP with TNA under the Jubilee Alliance Party (JAP).

Sang, who was accompanied by 50 elders and former councillors from Narok, Kericho, Bomet and Nakuru said they intend to rally the community behind the new political outfit.

“We do not want a situation where members of the community will be left homeless after URP folds. We need to have a political identity,” he told The Standard after the meeting at Baraka Agricultural College in Molo, Nakuru.

Former Salgaa Ward Councillor Joshua Cheruiyot, who chaired the meeting, said Kalenjin elders had made it clear that the community should not be forced to support outfits that do not represent their political ideologies and interests of Kenyans.

“We have consulted with elders and other leaders from the community, especially, those from the South Rift region and decided to chart a new political path come 2017, even if it means forming a new political outfit,” Mr Cheruiyot said.

Jonathan Rono, a URP official from Nakuru, said the new political party would take on board all disgruntled URP members from across the Rift Valley.

“The new political party will not be a South Rift affair but will also incorporate other like-minded leaders from the entire Rift Valley region,” he said.

But National Assembly Deputy Speaker Joyce Laboso, who has declared that she will contest against Governor Ruto in 2017, scoffed at the idea. The Sotik MP said the Kalenjin community was firmly behind the DP and JAP.

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