Two Nandi leaders have differed publicly over the proposed dissolution of United Republican Party to form Jubilee Party.
Nandi Governor Cleophas Lagat and Nandi hills MP Alfred Keter tore into each other with the governor asking the Kalenjin community to follow the Deputy President William Ruto’s call to join Jubilee Party.
But Mr Keter asked the community to stay put in URP and hold more consultative forums to weigh the pros and cons of dissolving the party.
The leaders, who were speaking at Kapsabet showground during the installation of Nandi Council of Elders (Kaburwo) chairman Mzee Benjamin Arap Kitur, failed to agree over whether or not URP should be dissolved.
Keter said: “You cannot destroy your house before you build another one and ensure that it is warm and comfortable to live in. Who knows if the new one will collapse immediately.”
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He said dissolving URP may work against Ruto’s ambition to secure the presidential nomination in 2022.
“After the 2017 elections we (the Kalenjin community) will be seeking support from others and we might be unable to bargain for power because we have no party,” observed the MP.
But the governor maintained that Ruto was the de facto Kalenjin leader.
“We should support the DP by joining the Jubilee Party because this is the only way we can ensure he ascends to power,” said Dr Lagat.
Uasin Gishu Governor Jackson Mandago steered off the party politics and instead challenged the new chairman to urgently convene a meeting with all leaders. “Now that we have a leadership structure, I request you to convene a meeting to settle issues in the Kalenjin nation so that we work together, politically and economically and give the community political direction ahead of the 2017 polls,” said Mr Mandago. He said Kalenjin leaders would follow the advice of elders.
This comes after some legislators from the region said that they would work to popularise the Jubilee Party ahead of the merger of parties associated with the ruling coalition before the planned March merger.
“We will sensitise our supporters on the need to have an amalgamation of parties,” said Chesumei MP Elijah Lagat.
Other leaders who supported the merger were MPs Julius Melly (Tinderet), Silas Tiren (Moiben) and Cornelly Serem (Aldai).