ODM and Kanu have suffered a major blow losing key officials and supporters from West Pokot county to Jubilee. Barely a month after Uhuru Kenyatta signed a legislation allowing mergers of political parties and protecting those that change parties, the country has begun witnessing mass defections of elected leaders dissatisfied with their sponsoring parties.
West Pokot governor Simon Kachapin who was elected on Kanu ticket has since defected to Jubilee. During the 2013 elections, Kachapin who flew the Kanu ticket emerged victorious after garnering 60,859 votes against Micah Pkopus of United Republican Party who got 18,145 votes and ODM’s Lipale Geofrey got 27,057 votes while TNA’s Ripko Krop got 1,760 votes.
…it will be an uphill task for the governor to win the Jubilee ticket
With Kachapin now in Jubilee, he will have to fight it out with URP’s Pkopus at the nomination stage. With DP William Ruto known to be close to Pkopus, it will be an uphill task for the governor to win the Jubilee ticket. ODM is, however, likely to nominate Lipale to run again in next year. Pkopus, it is said has, agreed to back Kachapin since he is broke and cannot finance any serious campaigns.
The senatorial race could also be a big headache for Jubilee following the defection of Julius Murgor of ODM to Jubilee. Although Senator John Lonyangapuo has hinted that he in Kanu to stay, he will have to face either Murgor or Samuel Pogisio if he decides to defend the seat. The senator has set his eyes on governorship seat and is bound to harvest in the fallout during Jubilee party nominations.
During the 2013 elections, Lonyangapuo garnered 72,326 votes against ODM’s Murgor who got 11,398 votes while URP’s Poghisio managed 24,284 votes. With Poghisio already in a state job following his appointment as Chairperson, Kenya Civil Aviation. Authority board through Ruto’s influence, it remains to be seen if he resigns to contest. It is now clear that even with the defection of Murgor who is a close Raila Odinga ally, he will have to fight it out with Poghisio who is being said is Ruto’s preferred candidate for the seat. Murgor and Ruto have been in different political camps and their rivalry dates back to the days of the grand coalition government when Murgor was in the Raila’s camp in ODM while majority of Rift Valley MPs were with Ruto. Due to his rebellious politics, Raila even appointed him to the position of assistant minister for Agriculture.
In Kachiliba constituency, politician John Lodinyo of Kanu has also defected to Jubilee. In 2013, he garnered 8,559 votes against Mark Lomunokol of United Republican Party who got 10,913 votes while Longolomoi Pkiyach of ODM got a paltry 1,642 votes. Again Lodinyo will have to fight it out with Lomunokol of URP and again with Ruto’s influence, he is likely to support his party member against Lodinyo.
Kapenguria MP Samuel Moroto of Kanu has also defected to Jubilee. In 2013, he garnered 15,265 votes against Charles Chedotum of United Republican Party who got 9,479 votes. Others were John Monte of Narc-Kenya, 2,348 and Philemon Lotodo of ODM who got 8,432 votes. Moroto will also have to fight it out with Ruto’s ally Chedotum.
In Sigor, area MP Philip Lotiolo of United Republican Party who in 2013 garnered 8,941 votes is said to be feeling the heat from his sworn political enemy Wilson Litole of ODM who garnered 7,527 votes. He lost the seat by 1,414 votes. This is one seat ODM has vowed to clinch come 2017. Also in the race was Francis Kitelauyan of Kanu who got 2,652 votes.
In Pokot South constituency, the race will be between David Pkosing of the United Republican Party who in 2013 got 11,790 votes as his main rival Joel Kiptoo of Kanu got 8,057 votes. Other potential candidates who were in the 2013 race include Stephen Kolimuk of TNA, 7,470, Christopher Motoywo of ODM, 2,706, Musa Pkite of the National Agenda Party of Kenya, 133 and Martin Lottee of The National Vision Party, 810.
In 2013 parliamentary race, URP won in four out of the five constituencies. They are – Philip Rotino, Sigor, Mark Lomunokol, Kacheliba, David Pkosing Losiakou, Pokot South and county woman rep Regina Changorok while the only Kanu MP is Samuel Moroto, Kapenguria. In the presidential race, Uhuru garnered 79,772, which is 73pc against Raila’s 24,962 or 23pc. The turnout for the presidential election, in West Pokot county was 90pc.
During the 2013 elections, West Pokot voters elected MCAs from across the political divide. In Kapenguria constituency, out of the six wards, Kanu won in four wards, Federal Party of Kenya one seat and Kenya National Congress one seat. In Sigor constituency, out of the four wards, URP took two seats, Kanu and ODM one each respectively.
In Kacheliba constituency with six wards, URP and Kanu won two seats each, with ODM and The National Vision Party taking each a seat. In Pokot South ODM won in two constituencies, Kanu and Mazingira Party of Kenya took a seat each.