Deputy president William Ruto has come under sharp criticism over allegations that he has been planting candidates for the top county jobs in Maasailand in what observers say may boomerang on his wider scheme to fortify his support base in his Rift Valley backyard.
Already, murmurs are rife in Narok county that the DP has been grooming youthful Narok West MP Gabriel Tongoyo to succeed the incumbent Samuel Tunai now serving his second and final term in office.
Tongoyo has since declared his interest to take over the reins from Tunai when he exits in 2022. More recently, the youthful MP’s desire received a major boost when Ruto, while unveiling a school bus at Sekenani Boarding Primary School in Narok West subcounty, expressed his confidence in the legislator.
As if to flatter the area residents, Ruto heaped praise on the Chama Cha Mashinani lawmaker whom he described as a unifier, team player and development conscious, adding he had all along been supportive of the Jubilee leadership.
And in a choreographed approach, speaker after speaker appeared to recite the DP’s gospel, hailing and vowing in equal measure to back Tongoyo in his bid to succeed Tunai, with controversial Emurru Dikirr MP Johana Ng’eno leading the pro- Tongoyo assault.
On his part, Tunai revealed Tongoyo, even after surprising them to bag the parliamentary seat on opposition CCM ticket, paid the governor a visit, where he declared to work with him. The Tongoyo-Ruto rapprochement has, however, elicited disquiet of monumental proportions, with rival contenders rubbishing the much-touted development record.
The MP’s predecessor, Interior chief administrative secretary Patrick Ole Ntutu has come out with guns blazing, dismissing the development talk as a child’s play when compared to his tenure.
Ntutu, who lost to Tongoyo in 2017 is set to face Tongoyo, former PS Joseph Tiampati, Devolution PS Charles Sunkuli, Narok senator Ledama ole Kina, woman representative Soipan Tuya and Narok South MP Korei ole Lemein among others.
It is worth pointing out that only Tongoyo, Ntutu and Sunkuli have thrown their hat in the ring. Like the larger Maasailand, clannism and tribe is expected to feature largely in the crowded gubernatorial race in Narok.
Also at play is the outgoing governor’s preference, as are the 2022 presidential candidates. It is important to mention that since 2013, a majority of Rift Valley governors have been elected on Ruto’s United Republican Party and later the Jubilee Party coalition that brought together Uhuru Kenyatta and Ruto.