Deputy President William Ruto has summoned all Bomet County MPs and members of the county assembly for a meeting in Nairobi today to discuss ways of taming their Governor Issac Rutto.
"You are invited to a party leader's consultative meeting for MPs and MCAs of Bomet County to be held in Nairobi tomorrow (today) Tuesday 27 August 2013 at 9am. Venue is URP offices along Muchai Drive off Ngong Road. Kindly attend. Yours Secretary General Fred Muteti," an SMS invitation sent to the leaders said.
The five MPs from Bomet County are Sotik's Dr Joyce Laboso, Konoin MP Sammy Koech, Bomet Central MP Ronald Tonui, Bomet East MP Bernard Bett and Chepalungu MP Paul Bii.
The meeting comes after Ruto suffered a humiliating defeat on Thursday last week in the Bomet County Speaker's elections in which a candidate he backed was trounced by Governor Rutto's candidate.
Geoffrey Kipngetich Korir, a lawyer supported by Rutto, garnered 20 votes against the Ruto's candidate, another lawyer Joel Koskei, who got 15 votes.
The seat fell vacant after the High Court nullified the election of John Lang'at on the grounds that he had not resigned from his previous position by election time as required by law. Lang'at is the immediate former clerk of Kipsigis county council and had held the Speaker's position for barely three months.
Ruto was supported in the campaigns for Koskei by Kericho Senator Charles Keter, Konoin MP Sammy Koech and Joshua Kuttuny, the political adviser in the Office of the President.
"Koskei's mandate from the Deputy President was to come and initiate impeachment proceedings against our governor. And because impeachment is a complex issue, he was in the meantime expected to initiate measures to cut Rutto down to size," a MCA who voted against the rejected Speaker said.
Sources yesterday disclosed that Ruto now wants to push for another election in the Bomet County Assembly on the grounds that the newly elected speaker contested against MP Koech in Konoin on a Kanu ticket in the last election, and is therefore not a URP member.
URP has allegedly threatened to cancel the nomination of 10 MCAs if they do not support the purge against Governor Rutto. Bomet has a total of 35 MCAs, 25 elected and 10 nominated.
The summoning of the county reps comes shortly after Ruto and Rutto met at a function in Kisii in which the latter pushed his agenda for a referendum.
Ruto on the other hand asked the residents to reject calls for a referendum as it was an expensive exercise meant to push for more money to be allocated to the counties, something that the Jubilee government was already willing to do at no extra cost.
"The mood between Ruto and Rutto was tense because the Kisii meeting was the first time that Isaac told William that his efforts to scuttle the referendum was unpopular," a Bomet county rep who was present at the meeting said.
"It also came two weeks after Isaac and William met at Emurua Dikir constituency during the homecoming of MP Ngeno where Isaac was cheered. After William left, Isaac stayed behind and talked to the people about the benefits of the referendum."
There is also discontent among the Bomet county reps over cash that was allegedly released by URP headquarters to campaign for Koskei. The party is said to have spent Sh3.5 million in the run-up to the polls and Sh2 million on election day.
They accused the Konoin MP of releasing only Sh600,000 out of the Sh2 million and demanded to know where the rest of the money went. Rutto has been pushing for three issues to be included in the referendum: empowering the senate to protect devolution; empowering counties to be responsible for developing infrastructure in schools and; increasing the allocation to counties from 15 percent to 45 percent of the national revenue collected.
Of the 45 percent allocation, the association of governors and the senators who support the referendum want 2.5 percent to go towards youth and women projects and another 2.5 percent for what they call a Ward Development Fund which will be managed by elected committees at the ward level.
President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy have been campaigning against the referendum. They have said it is a project of former Prime Minister Raila Odinga and former Vice President Kalonzo as evidenced by their support.
Governors successfully lobbied Raila to drop his push to include a proposed change to the government structure on the referendum, saying it was being used to fight their objectives.
Rutto met Raila and Kalonzo for the first time since the general election during a meeting of the Law Society of Kenya at Leisure Lodge on August 16 in which he told the two leaders to withdraw the issue of the Parliamentary system. Raila agreed to withdraw his proposal and pledged to support the governors' as they pushed for their proposal to go to the referendum.