15 April 2012

Kenya: URP to Register Today Amid Keter-Rutto Clash

The United Republican Party is expected to complete its registration today.

The party associated with Eldoret North MP William Ruto is this morning expected to present its papers to the Registrar of Political Parties amid reports that there are serious divisions in the party.

Apart from clash pitting aspirants and sitting MPs from Rift Valley, the fight for the control of members in South Rift by Ruto's allies Isaac Rutto of Chepalungu and Charles Keter of Belgut is threatening to destroy URP.

This morning Keter and MPs unhappy with Rutto are expected to boycott the presentation ceremony as a way of showing their displeasure with the manner in which the Eldoret North MP has handled the issue between the two South Rift MPs.

"We think that William Ruto is not handling issues well. He is allowing himself to be bullied by Isaac Rutto, left, right and centre. Although he is the boss, we are telling him that we are reaching a point where we will either walk back to UDM or even Kanu. The bad manners some people had in UDM have now been exported to URP," said an MP from North Rift.

The party is also divided regarding interim officials who Ruto would like replaced with another set of officials who include chairman of the National Environment Management Authority, Francis ole Kaparo. URP was formed in January after Ruto failed to agree with other UDM officials on the replacement of party officials.

Apart from Ruto, Lugari MP Cyrus Jirongo has declared his interest in the party's presidential ticket and has been travelling across the country meeting party delegates.

Last weekend he was in Coast region, where he held meetings in the company of assistant ministers Francis Baya of Ganze, Ngozi Rai of Kinango and former MP Lucas Maitha of Malindi. He was endorsed for the presidency by local leaders from Malindi, Kwale, Tana River, Kilifi and Mombasa counties.

In his address in Kinango, Jirongo emphasised that URP is "the only equal opportunity party" and his presidency will be a "new deal" to heal the divisions of the past.

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