The Star (Nairobi)

Kenya: Anti-Ruto Rebellion Intensifies

Despite spending a whole week in parts of Rift Valley pacifying disgruntled elements, Deputy President William Ruto seems to have stirred more rebellion from his Rift Valley region.

Kuresoi South MP Zakayo Cheruiyot, who claims to have spent a lot of money to fund Ruto, is the latest MP from Ruto's Kalenjin community to break ranks with the Deputy President.

Bomet Governor Isaac Rutto has also resumed criticism of the deputy president despite the meetings last week. He began criticizing Ruto last year but went quite after meeting President Uhuru's political advisor Joshua Kutuny.

The two have joined Nandi Hills MP Alfred Keter who has been a fierce critic of Ruto's approach on issues. "We are not happy with Ruto. He has surrounded himself with sycophants who have placed him on the fast lane to self-destruction. He is using these sycophants to fight some of us and to destroy devolution. We will not accept it," said Rutto yesterday. The Kuresoi South MP, popularly known as "ZK" was a powerful PS in the last Kanu government which groomed Ruto. He called on Uhuru and Ruto to get serious and re-organize themselves "instead of hosting delegations to hear gossip."

Another Rift Valley MP who requested to remain anonymous complained that the community was being taken for granted yet Ruto was not willing to listen to the concerns of his people.

"We have told the VP that he is living in a fool's paradise. Its like a man who has been warned to move because the ground is rumbling and the volcano is about to erupt but he decides to stay on," said the MP.

Yesterday Ruto told off leaders who are demanding jobs for their communities describing them as parochial and backward.

"We took a vow to serve all Kenyans. Job vacancies will be distributed to all Kenyans irrespective of their religion, tribe or race.

"Those who want jobs to go to certain people are wasting their time. Leaders who believe in ethnicity and parochialism do not belong to this century," said Ruto

Ruto moved to quell discontentment that has been mounting in his Rift Valley backyard over distribution of state jobs between the main partners in the ruling coalition.

There has been intense pressure from Ruto's supporters who have been pushing him to address simmering tensions in the region touching on the recent appointments to state parastatals made by president Uhuru Kenyatta.

The deputy President spent the better part of last week in Rift Valley in meetings where he assured the people that he was firmly in the government.

This was a month after President Uhuru visited the region in what was seen as a move to assure the Kalenjin community that they were still part of his government.

Cheruiyot accuses Ruto of gagging elected URP leaders who are demanding implementation of the 50-50 power-sharing agreement between URP and TNA.

"We are being told it is not right to demand for more positions as a community as this amounts to perfecting tribalism but another partner is taking almost all the positions in government. I will not keep quiet when one tribe is getting the biggest share," the Kuresoi MP said. Cheruiyot concurred with Keter that URP has been sidelined in government appointments despite the fact that the two parties were equal partners in the Jubilee and dismissed other politicians who dance to the tune of the Deputy President as sycophants. "When you slaughter a goat, do you invite your neighbors first to feast or you start with your own children?" Cheruiyot posed.

Yesterday one of Ruto's aides said Ruto meetings pacified the situation. He said the DP explained in detail the appointments and called on the Kalenjin leaders to be content with the available positions so far "as more will come up in future for each sub-tribe to feel represented."

"The DP met a number of leaders from Rift Valley representing crucial parts of the community and explained to them that the appointments made so far had not in any way disregarded people from the community," the aide who did not want to be named said.

"He told them that it was very unfair for two tribes to enjoy the larger share of state appointments when there are other 40 tribes," he said.

In one of the meetings held at his Sugoi home, Ruto is said to have dispelled claims that the Kalenjin community was being edged out by TNA telling the leaders to support the government.

Kericho senator Charles Keter, a close ally of Ruto has said he was "happy so far with the appointments" and assured the Kalenjin that they were fully in government. He also disabused the notion that Ruto is not exerting his rightful share of power in government.

"I want to assure all the people of Kalenjin community that we have gotten a good share so afar with more to come. We should be patient with the government as our interests are well taken care of by the leaders we have elected," Keter told the star yesterday

During the visit, Ruto held closed door meetings with various leaders drawn from different sections of the community in both North and South regions.

He called the meetings to contain speculation over recent appointments and a constant outcry by Nandi Hills MP Alfred Keter over unfair treatment given to URP by their TNA counterparts.

While in North Rift on Christmas eve, Ruto hosted various leaders including Kalenjin Council of Elders, Religious leaders, MPs, governors as well as members of the county Assemblies.

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