Deputy President William Ruto’s allies drawn from the expansive Rift Valley region who have been the fiercest critics of the Building Bridges Initiative rallies have changed tune after a closed-door meeting held on Friday night.
The leaders who were initially not receptive of hosting former Prime Minister Raila Odinga at Afraha Stadium for a BBI forum have now backed down and agreed to host him along with any other leader who wants to attend the meeting slated for March 21 at Afraha Stadium.
The development came after a meeting on Friday night that was chaired by Nakuru Governor Lee Kinyanjui at his private office at Milimani estate.
Addressing the press after the meeting that was attended by more than ten lawmakers, the Nakuru county boss hailed the meeting as a success, stating that “In politics there is time to work together and time to compete. This is the time to work together”.
Among those who participated at the meeting that was attended by more than 10 legislators are Senators Susan Kihika and Victor Prengei, MPs Kimani Ngunjiri (Bahati), Martha Wangari (Gilgil), Charity Kathambi (Njoro), Sammy Seroney (Nominated), Samuel Gachobe (Subukia), Joseph Tonui (Kuresoi South) and Woman Rep Liza Chelule.
Participants at the meeting pledged to cooperate ad shelved their hard-line stand along with other demands.
They also vowed not to make remarks that could cause chaos in the region considered Ruto’s political turf.
“The Nakuru rally shall be an inclusive forum where all views will be heard and respected. We don’t want to see a repeat of what happened at the Narok and Meru rallies,” Kihika said after the meeting.
They made it clear that they will present a united front t avoid dividing the region during the rally that will incorporate 10 other counties from the Rift Valley region.
“Views collected from the elementary level shall be factored in the memorandum that will be presented.” Added the governor.
DP Ruto's intervention and Raila as the major concern
A key concern voiced by a section of leaders regarding the Afraha was that the Rift Valley region is DP Ruto’s backyard and that former premier should not be allowed to steal the show by taking the battle to DP Ruto’s doorstep.
Reports indicate that DP Ruto moved in to calm the situation, reaching out to leaders from the region to soften their stand.
A lawmaker who requested not to be named confided in The Standard that “The DP has reached out to each and everyone of us and asked us to ensure that the Nakuru rally does not end up like those held elsewhere. He does not want the peace realized in the region since 2013 undermined by the BBI”.