Chama Cha Mashinani (CCM) party leader Isaac Ruto, a one-time fierce critic of Deputy President William Ruto, has now come out to deny claims that he has joined a bandwagon of politicians in the Rift Valley out to undermine the DP.
In what appears to be a well-calculated move to probably ease tensions between the two politicians, Mr Ruto said it is not his business or that of CCM to undermine or compete with any political leader or party in the country ahead of the next General Election.
"Our position is that CCM is an independent political party that has a unique philosophy and basis for its formation which roots for, among other things, entrenching devolution, decentralisation of power, taking services and resources closer to the people at the grassroots, public participation, respect for the Constitution and embracing all tenets of democracy," said Mr Ruto.
He added, "It is also our position that the democratic space should be expanded to accommodate small parties to thrive and people be allowed to make independent choices of the leaders they want in future elections and zoning for some political parties should not arise."
The former Council of Governors chairman said the democratic space should be expanded in Rift Valley to allow the people to vote in the leaders of their choice in the next general election without any dictatorship or coercion into picking candidates on the basis of political affiliation.
"The claim that we are fighting some people including the deputy president is far-fetched as our preoccupation is to popularise CCM in the spirit of openness, democracy, unity, fostering cohesion in society and seeking to stamp out tribalism which is deep-rooted in the country," Mr Ruto said.
He said that for the simple reason that a number of Jubilee leaders including Uasin Gishu-based politician Zedekiah Kiprop Bundotich, popularly known as Buzeki, and his supporters had decamped to CCM does not mean that the team is fighting the DP.
NO TO DICTATORSHIP
"What we are openly against is a situation where the masses are dictated to, as has happened before, to toe a particular political order and vote in selected leaders instead of the popular ones they would have preferred. That we would not agree. It is a direction we will not take," said Mr Ruto.
The Mashinani party boss made the remarks over the weekend when he hosted 300 delegates from Uasin Gishu, Nandi and Narok counties who are allied to Mr Buzeki who defected from Jubilee to CCM a week ago, at his rural home in Tumoi village in Bomet County.
Chapalungu MP Gideon Koskei, Nairobi County's Lands Executive Charles Kerich, Bomet County Assembly Majority Leader Andrew Maritim, his deputy Robert Rono and 11 MCAs from four counties were also in attendance.
The former Bomet governor hinted at a major reorganisation of his party which he said is in talks with political bigwigs from across the country who have expressed serious interest in it ahead of the 2022 General Election.
"We are in talks with a number of governors, members of parliament and a wide array of politicians keen on joining the party following the unfolding political realignments in the country. A number of them will make their positions public in due course," said Mr Ruto.
Mr Philip Kipkosgei and Barnabas Bwabei, who led the delegation from the North Rift, said close aides of Dr Ruto have "perfected the art of arrogance, high handedness and undermining of popular leaders leading to a revolt by the people".
TIRED OF DICTATORSHIP
"The people are tired of dictatorship, political harassment and outright corruption by the ruling elite which has seriously affected and is almost killing the agricultural sector. Enough is enough; we want a new breed of leaders to turn the tide around," said Mr Kipkosgei at the meeting.
Mr Buzeki announced a week ago that he had severed links with the DP and his allies in a political realignment in the country which is fast picking pace.
"After a lot of frustrations brought forth by arrogance by DP's handlers who have made him inaccessible, we have decided to join CCM which is a party of the future. This is a pointer to things to come as we seek to revamp the party ahead of the next general election," said Mr Buzeki.
Mr Ruto said that a national recruitment for CCM will soon be conducted with a series of rallies being held in all the 47 counties and that a major one is being planned in the North Rift region in the coming weeks.
On his part, Mr Koskei said endemic corruption in the government has threatened to bring down the economy and there is need to restore order.
"As a party, we support the fight against corruption by President Uhuru Kenyatta as he seeks to secure his legacy in his second and final term in office," said Mr Koskei.
CCM entered into a coalition with ODM leader Raila Odinga during the 2017 elections but switched gears in the presidential run off to back President Kenyatta.