President Uhuru Kenyatta’s The National Alliance MPs have moved to calm jitters in Deputy President William Ruto’s United Republican Party ( URP) who feel short-changed in management of the ruling coalition’s affairs.
There have been concerns in Rift Valley following the formation of the Jubilee Alliance Party (JAP) and Jubilee’s succession plan if President Kenyatta were to serve out the constitutional two terms.
National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale accused the Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD) of sowing division among Jubilee’s supporters in the Rift Valley by alleging that voters in Central Kenya may not support Ruto after the expiry of President Kenyatta’s term in office.
Leaders allied to URP and their supporters are sceptical about the new party President Kenyatta and his deputy will use to seek re-election in 2017.
Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto, who has been vocal in opposing the formation of JAP, has told URP supporters in the region to be wary of the new political outfit.
Speaking in Emurua Dikir constituency at the weekend, the governor said URP and TNA belong to the people of Kenya, and it would have been wise to seek the opinion of supporters before announcing the merger.
“We only hear of this party called JAP but we have not been asked for our opinion about it. We shall not accept people in Nairobi to make decisions for us,” said Ruto during the burial of local musician Samuel Sang, also attended by Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen.
Kuresoi South MP Zakayo Cheruiyot has also asked URP members not to rash in joining the new party.
“We should not follow leaders blindly without questioning some of the decisions they make on our behalf. We left ODM because we were being treated as outsiders,” he told the congregation, after the Sunday service at Keringet AGC Church.
The previous day, at a function attended by Mr Duale, Eldama Ravine MP Moses Lessonet admitted that there were concerns at the grassroots about JAP, saying some people were trying to link it to the Kenyatta succession.
“Although as leaders we have agreed that JAP is the way to go, the people in the village are asking questions. They need to be assured that Ruto will succeed Uhuru as agreed,” Lessonet said on Saturday during a funds drive in aid of Bahati PCEA Girls Secondary School.
The fear is that the clout Ruto wields as leader of URP, which has its own MPs in Parliament and commands support in Rift Valley could be eroded if URP and TNA are dissolved, especially as President Kenyatta serves his final term if his re-election is successful.
The URP leaders want assurance that they can bank on JAP loyalty and support being transferred to Ruto.
Deputy Speaker Joyce Laboso admitted that initially leaders from the region were disappointed on learning of the formation of JAP. The Sotik MP says issues surrounding the new party have since been clarified.
“We would be lying if we said we were not disappointed by the lack of consultation. However, we understood after it was was necessitated by the upcoming Kajiado by-election to field one candidate, among many other reasons,” said Laboso.