Rift Valley tycoons teaches DP Ruto a lesson as they plot the rejection of “Punguza Mzigo” in the region

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Dr David Langat who is set to join the 2022 presidential race with retired President Daniel arap Moi and his son Gideon Moi. PHOTO/COURTESY

By JOHN KOECH

Five leading billionaire businessmen and politicians in Rift Valley rallied MCAs in county assemblies in the region to reject the “Punguza Mzigo” Draft Constitutional Amendment Bill as part of their scheme to contain DP William Ruto ahead of the 2022 succession General Election.

They included Dr David Langat of DL Group, Messrs.’ Gideon Moi, Joshua Chepkwony of Jamii Telecom, Joshua Kulei of Sovereign Group, Zedekiah Bundotich Kiprop aka Buzeki and Elgeyo-Marakwet County Governor Alex Tolgos.

Dr Langat spearheaded the rejection of “Punguza Mzigo” in Nandi and Kericho counties, Mr Buzeki and Gov. Tolgos in Elgeyo Marakwet, Mr Moi in Baringo and West Pokot and Mr Kulei in Narok.

The Rift valley businessmen are against the DP for frustrating their business interests during the first term of the Jubilee government by denying them lucrative government tenders and instead favouring Chinese companies even after they had mobilized massive resources running into billions of shillings to support Jubilee campaigns in 2013.

So far more than 35 counties have rejected Punguza Mizigo Bill spearheaded by Thirdway Alliance leader Ekuru Aukot. The Thirdway Alliance leader needs more than half of the 47 county assemblies to approve the bill. It is now clear that his referendum bid has died given that majority of counties have rejected it. Only Uasi Gishu has approved the Punguza Mizigo initiative.

Former Bomet Governor, Mr Isaac Ruto. He is among Rift Valley leaders planning a new alliance. PHOTO/COURTESY

The fight for the vote rich Rift Valley ahead of the 2022 presidential race has taken a new dimension following reports that a section of Rift Valley businessmen and politicians are fronting a strategic that will see Chama Cha Mashinani (CCM) led Isaac Ruto and Kanu led by Gideon Moi team-up with a new political alliance being fronted by President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga.

The name of Dr Langat is among those being mentioned as possible presidential candidates from Rift valley after the business mogul in the tea and import and export sectors met retired President Daniel arap Moi and was advised by the elder statesman to work closely with his son Gideon.

Pictures of a meeting between Dr Langat with the senior Moi and Gideon emerged on the social media recently sparking speculations about his political intentions.

Dr Langat a publicity shy businessman-cum politician who has previously contested for the Tinderet parliamentary seat was cagey when asked if he has joined the presidential race.

“I don’t want to talk about that now because the time for presidential campaigns is 2022. For now, our focus is on how we can deal with unemployment and other problems facing Kenyans,” he said.

DP William Ruto in a pensive mood. He is wondering what has hit him after the flop of “Punguza Mzigo Bill” he supported. PHOTO/COURTESY

However, his close confidantes said a decision had been made for Dr Langat who is set to take over the leadership of Chama Cha Mashinani (CCM) leadership to join the presidential race.

“We are working on a strategy where CCM and Kanu are going to work together before joining a larger alliance that is expected to form the next Government. What we are yet to decide is whether it will be Dr Langat or Gideon who will be the flagbearer of the CCM-Kanu alliance,” the confidante said.

The entry of Dr Langat in the presidential race is the beginning of a major political re-alignment in the Rift Valley following indications that DP Ruto is being sidelined in the 2022 succession.

Dr Langat is set to start rebranding Chama Cha Mashinani (CCM) and ultimately be the party’s presidential candidate in 2022.

The entry of Dr Langat in the presidential race brings presidential candidates from Rift Valley to three as already Kanu chairman Gideon Moi and Deputy President William Ruto are already in the race.

Mr Zedekiah Bundotich Kiprop aka Buzeki. PHOTO/FACEBOOK

Dr Langat is said to be working with disgruntled politicians and businessmen in Rift Valley who fear the possibility of being sidelined by either the pro-Ruto or Pro-Gideon allied leaders.

Dr Langat is among several leaders from Rift Valley who in recent times have expressed their displeasure by pro-Ruto allied leaders popularly known as Tanga Tanga team.

Those leaving the DP’s camp are blaming his close allies, accusing them of arrogance and disrespect. 

However, his close allies say that Dr Langat has a good working relation with most Rift Valley MPs and he supported most of them financially during the 2017 General Election.

Dr Langat joins Elgeyo-Marakwet County Governor Alex Tolgos who has announced that he had severed links with DP Ruto citing frustration and insults from Ruto’s allies.

Governor Tolgos announced that he was leaving the DP’s team in search for a more “accommodating” camp as supremacy battle between the DP and Senator Moi intensifies ahead of the 2022 General Election.

Mr Tolgos, who has had a long-running personal battle with Elgeyo-Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen, said he had made the decision not to join the Tanga Tanga team, which he described as being “full of insults and arrogance”.

Elgeyo-Marakwet County Governor Alex Tolgos. PHOTO/COURTESY

Mr Murkomen is one of the closest allies of the DP and a key member of the Tanga Tanga team.

Governor Tolgos and Mr Langat joins other leaders including Uasin Gishu Woman Representative Gladys Shollei, MPs Sila Tiren (Moiben), Joshua Kutuny (Cherangany) and Alfred Keter (Nandi Hills) who have recently shifted camp and are considered to have a soft spot for Senator Moi.

Influential Uasin Gishu politician Zedekiah Bundotich Kiprop, commonly referred to as Buzeki, has also ditched the Ruto camp citing frustration by those close to the DP.

Although he is yet to declare his next destination, there are reports that Mr Buzeki could join Chama Cha Mashinani founded by former Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto.

Both Mr Ruto and Mr Moi regard the Rift Valley as their political bastion and have been keen to control it for more bargaining power in the 2022 polls.

Mr Tolgos has maintained that he was not happy with the way those close to Dr Ruto were treating other leaders from the region.

Mr Tolgos was part of the team that welcomed opposition leader Raila Odinga to former President Moi’s Kabarak home recently when he went to condole with him over the loss of his son Jonathan.

He becomes the first serving governor from Dr Ruto’s home turf to decamp and join Mr Moi’s camp.

Gideon Moi he is in the presidential race on a Kanu ticket. PHOTO/FACEBOOK

The recent exit of Buzeki from DP William Ruto’s camp famously known as Tanga Tanga paints a nasty picture of the emerging political supremacy wars in Rift valley.

In Uasin Gishu County, the home turf of DP Ruto only Soy MP Caleb Kositany and Kapsaret counterpart Oscar Sudi are associated with the Tanga Tanga team, while almost all elected leaders have either disowned the camp or have decided to take a back seat.

Moiben MP Silas Tiren has openly differed with Ruto over maize farmers predicaments.

Other Uasin Gishu County leaders who are not associating themselves with Tanga Tanga team include County Woman Representative Gladys Shollei, MPs William Chepkut (Ainabkoi), Janet Sitienei (Turbo), and Swarup Mishra (Kesses).

 

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