Jubilee deputy secretary-general Joshua Kutuny has given signals he could support Deputy President William Ruto’s presidential bid.
The Cherangany MP, who has been a fierce critic of the DP, said he will not betray his Kalenjin community that has rallied behind Ruto in the August 9, 2022, presidential race.
Speaking on Tuesday afternoon during the burial of an influential elder in his constituency, Kutuny said he will follow the direction taken by the Kalenjin community.
“Elders told me never turn your back on the community, I will not betray my community,” Kutuny said at Biribiriet village at the burial ceremony attended by Uasin Gishu Governor Jackson Mandago.
He said he was just buying time in the ruling Jubilee Party and he will bolt at the right time.
Kutuny said, “When I visited Mzee in the hospital he told me not to betray the community. I assured that it can’t be me, Arap Kutuny, who can betray the community.
“I am just in the field hunting. I am in agreement with the decisions of the community,” Kutuny said amid cheers.
Mandago thanked Kutuny for “seeing the light”.
“I had come with my flogging stick. We are always being taught in church that repentance is done every time. Because you have repented, let me take back my flogging stick and preserve it for others who are yet to toe the line.
“I once told you that we all built Jubilee Party and we voted for Uhuru. The only problem is that you are attacking our king (DP Ruto),” Mandago said.
Mandago added that it is Kutuny who should be uniting Trans Nzoia county.
“Do not loiter too much until time catches up with you…Just know, it is the wheelbarrow that we will use,” he added. The wheelbarrow is the symbol of he Ruto-linked UDA party he will use to run for president.
However, on Thursday made a U-turn, dismissing claims he was planning to join Ruto’s camp.
He dismissed as propaganda an audio clip of him speaking in Kalenjin.
“I cannot respond to propaganda,” Kuttuny told the Star in a text message.
Kutuny was a fierce Ruto defender but this changed after the 2013 polls when he was appointed President Uhuru Kenyatta’s political adviser after losing his seat.
Jubilee is split into two factions, pro-Uhuru Kielewke and pro-Tuto Tangatanga.
Kutuny is the face of Jubilee’s Kieleweke faction in the expansive Rift Valley.
He was appointed Jubilee deputy secretary general in March this year —replacing Caleb Kositany — in what was seen as the final purge of pro-Ruto allies in the Jubilee executive.
He is among DP Ruto’s critics who have been under pressure from their communities to join the DP ahead of 2022 or risk losing their seats.
Others include Silas Tiren of Moiben, Senator for Uasin Gishu Margaret Kamar, Ainabkoi MP William Chepkut and Kesses MP Dr Swarrup Mishra.
Last week Chepkut was also put under pressure at a public function, forcing him to say the Kalenjin community would support the DP to the last man.
He had been challenged by former Wareng county council chairman Paul Kiprop to join Ruto or perish politically.
“Kiprop, unless you just want to please Ruto through sycophancy. We all agree that there is a region where we will all back Ruto come next year,” Chepkut said. He is a close ally of Baringo Senator Gideon Moi.