DP Ruto forced to convene urgent meeting ahead of Uhuru’s visit

Simmering political and ethnic tensions have been simmering in the North Rift region

Ruto and some of the leaders he hosted at his Sugoi home.

Ruto hurriedly chaired a private meeting in his Eldoret Town backyard to quell growing political tensions that has been simmering ever since the Jubilee Party primaries in April.

President Kenyatta is set to tour Uasin Gishu on Friday and Saturday where he will preside over a passing-out parade at Moi Barracks before holding several campaign rallies in the region.

At the centre of  the simmering tensions is the rivalry between Uasin Gishu Governor Jaackson Mandago and his nemesis Bundotich Kiprop, also known as Buzeki.

Mandago has led a group of North Rift politicians who include Governor Alex Tolgos of Elgeyo Marakwet, Nandi Hills MP Alfred Keter and Kapseret MP Oscar Sudi who have openly rebelled against the Jubilee Party’s top hierarchy over its stand on independent candidates.

The group want President Kenyatta and DP Ruto to openly declare their support for Jubilee nominees who won in the party primaries and distance themselves from the independents such as Buzeki.

Mandago and his allies have also demanded that just like in the Nakuru governor's race, where governor Kinuthia Mbugua has been asked to step down as an independent candidate for Jubilee's Lee Kinyanjui, the Jubilee leaders should pressure Mr Buzeki, too, to withdraw his candidature.

According to reports by The Star, one of the MPs during the meeting referred to the issue of asking Buzeki to step down, but Ruto said the matter would be discussed at length later.

Sources said during the meeting Ruto’s aides made a call to Buzeki but it was not clear if the DP talked to the businessman.

Laced with tribal undertones, Mandago last week during a rally warned that if a certain community voted for Buzeki, they would rally their supporters to vote against Jubilee.

"If this trend (of supporting Buzeki) continues we will tell our supporters to vote for us and make individual decisions on other seats. It is not a must for us to be in government," Mandago said.

"We want to know why one community voted for one person to the last man. We want the presidency to tell us if we are together as Jubilee or not because if they do not vote for me we are not together," he added.

They threatened to monitor the voting trends in the initial stages and give directions to their supporters on how to vote for the presidency.

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