A further split has emerged among allies of Deputy President William Ruto with Governor Jackson Mandago leading a new political axis in the North Rift.
The group seeks to control politics and upstage the influence of Ruto’s aides.
Mandago, Nandi Hills MP Alfred Keter, Kapseret MP Oscar Sudi and State House political advisor Joshua Kuttuny have agreed to work together to champion what they describe as the interests of the Kalenjin community and the people of Rift Valley at large.
The four campaigned together to win the just-concluded Jubilee primaries.
They claimed there was a plot by Ruto’s aides to interfere with the primaries in favour of other preferred aspirants.
The four won in their respective areas and have planned to sustain their momentum until until August 8.
“We are the team that will stand for the interests of the people, not for selfish interests,” Sudi said.
During their campaigns, Sudi and his colleagues accused Ruto’s aides of undermining them and the community.
Mandago and Sudi named Farouk Kibet and Isaac Maiyo as the aides attempting to meddle in the region’s politics.
The two, however, denied the allegations.
“These are the people who want to mess our plan to have DP Ruto take over power in 2022 and we will not allow them to do that,” Sudi said.
Keter said the duo wanted weak aspirants to win the primaries, “yet the DP needs a strong team in readiness for the 2022 polls”.
Mandago won the Jubilee primaries against businessman Bundotich Kiprop, popularly known as Buzeki, while Sudi defeated former UN employee Steve Kewa.
Keter defeated Ruto’s aide Emmanuel Tallam, while Kuttuny made a comeback in Cheranganyi where he defeated incumbent Wesley Korir.
Those who lost were thought to have the backing of the DP’s aides, a claim that was also denied.
Mandago’s profile has been rising within the Nandi community.
He is thought to be a courageous and independent leader who can fight for the rights of the community.
Ruto had said he would not interfere with the primaries in the Rift Valley, but his hand in the process was seen through the aides.
After winning the primaries, Mandago led the new group around Eldoret and other areas thanking voters for standing with them.
Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen was also accused of interference, though he denied the allegation.