Since independence, Bonde La Ufa is the largest province with the highest population in Kenya. It is occupied largely by Kalenjin people and history has it that the people of the Valley contribute significantly not only to the country’s food security and the GDP, but also to the winning presidential support whose vote has never failed to take its favourite candidate to the State House.
Recently, days after Jubilee formed a national outfit by merging 12 political parties during their National Delegates Convention, party leader President Uhuru Kenyatta and deputy William Ruto met with all the delegates to name party officials to spearhead campaigns to the next general elections. It all went smooth with a standing ovation, cheers and songs at the Special National Governing Council for Jubilee Party that was held at the Bomas of Kenya. Seconds after the deputy president announced the officials of the 2017 jubilee campaign, the meeting turned into a drama of sorts.
Murmuring engulfed the arena and noticing that it could escalate to unwanted discord, Deputy President asked the delegates to forward additional names later, but immediately, some men and women marched straight towards the podium with papers making it hard for DP to continue his speech but rather calm the angry delegates and repeatedly asking them to sit.
Rift Valley in Focus
Top Jubilee leaders gave Rift Valley a team of nine comprising of Dr. Joyce Cherono Laboso (Sotik), John Kiyonga Munyes (Turkana North), Soipan Tuya (Narok), Joyce Akai Emanikor (Turkana), Susan Kihika(Nakuru), Katoo Ole Metito (Kajiado South), Simon Kachapin Kitalei (West Pokot), Janet Nangapo (Trans Nzoia) and David Sankok (Narok).
Many leaders and political pundits in the Rift has opposed the criteria of its selection claiming that hotspot areas were conspicuously left out. Uasin Gishu, Nandi, and many parts of South Rift lacked representation in the team. A youth figure in the team was lacking across the entire teams. Youth felt they were left out despite being the larger portion of the voting population.
Some leaders of the team are politicians hoping to defend their seats while some aim a notch higher than their current seats. Joyce Laboso is the current Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly and was Sotik Constituency member of parliament elected in 2008. She has publicly declared to vie Bomet Gubernatorial seat currently held by her biggest rival Governor Isaac Ruto.
Susan Kihika is also Nakuru’s County Assembly Speaker but currently said to be eyeing Nakuru Senate seat. Ms Kihika has been accused by the civil society and some residents who called for Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission to investigate her source of wealth. She was using helicopter and dishing out large amounts of money in various functions.
But what baffles the Kalenjin political analysts is how Laboso and Kachapin would work together to unite the biggest community which opposition is slowly taking advantage of discontent already created and feeling of isolation.
A Hit or a Miss?
Jubilee seemed to be worried by the Maasai and Turkana votes going by the list. Soipan Tuya was selected from Narok alongside David Sankok who is the chairman for National Council for Persons with Disabilities, to hunt jubilee votes. Not far from their region is Katoo Ole Metito in Kajiado South a stone throw away. Joyce Laboso campaigns in Bomet. This concentration in South Rift could be because of fierce war of words between Chama Cha Mashinani leader Isaac Ruto and deputy president William Ruto.
Another case of having a higher number of Maasai campaigners in 9-member team could be the failure of the government to heed concerns of the late William Ole Ntimama who had demanded action of restoration of Mara River and ecosystem, which has not been implemented, erupting opposition that is sufficient to send a message about which direction the winds are blowing to Jubilee.
Having two Turkana representatives in the furthest end of North Rift – John Munyes and Joyce Emanikor, could be a strategy to counter a strong opposition after a Jubilee candidate failed to win in a recent by-election. A neighboring West Pokot Governor will corporate with Munyes and Emanikor in calming their beef of cattle rustling clashes, border disputes as well uniting the two communities to vote back Jubilee administration.
The remaining Susan Kihika is in the middle of the Rift Valley after the furthest ends are somehow well fed.
Will Susan, new into the political game, be able to campaign in Uasin Gishu, Nandi, Aldai, Kericho and environs?
Is it a Hit or a Miss?
Arise Nandi votes a Miss! And You?
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Arise Nandi – County Have Your Say.