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Rift Valley MPs extend olive branch to Mount Kenya for the sake of Ruto

Deputy President William Ruto is welcomed by Watta cultural dancers upon arrival in Loiyangalani for the 11th Lake Turkana cultural festival. [Mose Sammy, Standard]

A meeting of Rift Valley MPs on Wednesday night resolved to end the mistrust rocking the Jubilee Party.

The leaders also resolved to reach out to Mount Kenya leaders to increase Deputy President William Ruto's chances of ascending to presidency in 2022.

The more than 40 MPs dwelt on recent utterances that exposed rifts within JP, with concerns that the Mount Kenya region was growing uncomfortable with attacks viewed to target their own.

The leaders reconciled Senate Majority Leader Kipchumba Murkomen and Cherangany MP Joshua Kuttuny, and tasked the two to lead a renewed charm offensive to ensure that Jubilee strongholds remained intact.

However, Alfred Keter (Nandi Hills) and Silas Tiren (Moiben), who are said to have teamed up with Mr Kuttuny against Mr Murkomen, skipped the meeting. The forum directed Kutuny to get the two back into the fold.

During the meeting, Ainabkoi MP William Chepkut is understood to have rebuked the rabble-rousing legislators, saying some of their recent remarks risked antagonising the relationship between President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy. “The reckless talk some of us are making should stop immediately,” Mr Chepkut is reported to have said.

Murkomen had escalated the feud with his statement that some unnamed State House operatives were orchestrating a Ruto downfall. He is also reported to have claimed that the lifestyle audit of all public servants ordered by Uhuru was targeting his deputy.

Ruto’s chances

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During the Wednesday night's meeting, Baringo North MP William Cheptumo is said to have told the legislators that squabbles between themselves and with other leaders would hurt Ruto’s chances in 2022. “The moment we continue with the personal attacks, we will have given our opponents ammunition to fight us,” Cheptumo is said to have told the leaders.

His sentiments were supported by Eldama Ravine MP Moses Lessonet. “Those who make personal and reckless statements should not purport to do so on behalf of the Deputy President,” Mr Lessonet told the meeting.

After a five-hour meeting punctuated by accusations and counter-accusations, the leaders agreed to work together to increase Ruto's chances of succeeding Uhuru.

Differences between Murkomen and the three MPs - Kutuny, Keter and Tiren - had threatened to boil over.

The three are said to have been plotting the removal of the Elgeyo Marakwet Senator as the leader of the regional caucus.

During heated discussions, the legislators are said to have accused some of their own of reckless talk.

MPs Robert Pukose (Endebess), Hilary Koskey (Kipkelion East) and Nelson Koech (Belgut) confirmed unity among the region's leaders dominated discussions.

They dismissed claims that some leaders were plotting to form a splinter party.

“We agreed to stop talking about 2022 and start focusing on helping the President and his deputy to achieve the Big Four agenda and development,” said Pukose, a key ally of the DP Ruto from the North Rift.

“We reached an agreement that none of us should speak about an issue that has collective consequences on the entire community. Before any of us does that, they should consult first. The reckless talk must come to an end,” said Mr Koskey.

Yesterday, Murkomen said the leaders resolved to be loyal and committed to the founding vision of Jubilee.

“This commitment calls for vigilance and total rejection of all elements, ideas and attempts to undermine the vision or sabotage our leadership, or divide our people," he said.

Kutuny could not be reached on phone.

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