Senator Mike Mbito who annihilated Henry Ole Ndiema in the Trans Nzoia senate race in one of the hotly contested duels in the county is a man of no mean achievement.
Most senators preferred the governor’s seat and it is only a few who maintained the interest of continuing serving in the Upper House.
So, what was it in Mbito’s case? How did this veterinarian manage to unseat on a Jubilee ticket a man who had vast experience in public service and in an area preferred to be an apposition zone?
Ole Ndiema with vast property across Nairobi city, Maasailand and Trans Nzoia had been a senior government official before he retired to venture into politics.
He once worked as a DC, director of Motor Vehicle Inspectorate and the boss of Immigration under the reign of retired heads of state Daniel arap Moi and Mwai Kibaki.
The Trans Nzoia senatorial seat was a supposed preserve of the Sabaot community under the Mabanga Peace Accord of 2011 signed in Bungoma under the then VP Kalonzo Musyoka and it was not until Ole Ndiema showed his interest that the community woke up to the occasion.
The governor was slotted for the Bukusus and Nandi for deputy governor. As a community within the ruling the party, the Sabaots fronted Ole Ndiema to seek mandate through the defunct New Ford – Kenya party led by Eugene Wamalwa.
But Wamalwa rejected Ole Ndiema and instead chose Kipruto Kirwa to represent NFK at the 2013 polls that saw the party field Kakai Bisau as the governor candidate with Senator Mike Mbito being his running mate,
All this boomeranged against NFK with the rival party Ford Kenya FK led by Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang’ula carrying the day with Patrick Khaemba becoming the first Trans Nzoia governor and Ole Ndiema as the senator,
NFK was lucky to have escaped with the women representative seat through Janet Nangabo.
The Sabaots dream of ever rising to the echelons of leadership in TransNzoia became a reality with Ole Ndiema’s election together with that of the Endebess MP Robert Pukose.
In the 2013 poll the Sabaots and Bukusus voted overwhelmingly for Ole Ndiema with the former rallying behind him as their “son” and the latter because of his allegiance to the FK. He almost scored the same number of votes with those of Khaemba unlike the August 8 when there was a big variance.
Ole Ndiema started well off by sponsoring party activities but faltered on the way as he leaned towards Jubilee and even voting with the government side in the senate. The Jubilee administration at one time dangled carrots for him to defect and be backed for reelection.
The camel’s back was broken during the FK senatorial nominations which were carried out with participants such as former senator Catherine Mukite and David Sifuna crying foul. Other participants were Ken Wafula and John Ndombi who had earlier sensed “favouritism” and moved to register as independent candidates.
It is then Senator Mike Mbito noticed a “breakthrough” and decided to divorce Kakai Bisau as his running mate and go straight for the senate and after going through the Jubilee senatorial primaries beating rivals such as Michael Kittiyo and Peter Kimaigut,
Senator Mike Mbito now settled for the big battle of August 8 against Kirwa’s 39,418 votes, Ole Ndiema 68,690, Mukite 12,491 Beatrice Chitiavai 13,725, David Sifuna 9.466 Ndombi 2,660, Wafula 5,978 and Kilimo Kurem 4,437 while he posted 69,046 votes to clinch the seat.
As expected, Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto together with Jubilee’s brigade led by Wamalwa laid an onslaught on their opponents which led into the doctor’s slim victory against Ole Ndiema who came runnersup.
Senator Mike Mbito should base his victory on the gang-up of the Sabaot-Bukusu vote and also on the split of the Bukusu vote amongst its candidates.
The Nandi community picked their own Kirwa but with some of them having been promised the deputy governor in Stanley Kenei by Khaemba’s group, had to split the backing between Kirwa and Mbito.
Interestingly, Mbito known for his philanthropic approaches and well-oiled campaigns as was the case in 2013 was the secret against Ole Ndiema who pivoted his campaigns mainly in opposition zones.
The Jubilee senator also played out his game well by visiting the “small man’s” areas ignored by most local politicians who took their strategies at the segregated and exclusive KItale club.
With a well coordinated public relation and press team, Mbito set the record by Scoring the 60,000 plus votes almost similar to Uhuru’s and those Nangabo scored.
He also erased the belief he was a novice by having moved away from Bisau by scoring more votes than him. The son of retired Judge Gideon Mbito, the senator is forging ahead with the hope that the petition filed against his election in an Eldoret High Court is only a formality and that his lawyers will overcome it.
Even Ole Ndiema who has petitioned the results does not anticipate the Sabaot seat escaping from the grip of the community and only prays that be declared the winner upon conclusion of the case where he alleges the poll had many irregularities and illegalities.