What had begun as a plot by rebel MPs and politicians from the Jubilee administration to rally behind one of them to vie against the Narok county governor Samuel Tunai in 2017 took a new turn last week after the leaders differed over the choice of the preferred candidate.
Last week, Narok West MP Patrick Ntutu declared that he will be the man to take on Tunai in 2017 and this did not go down well with his colleagues led by Narok North MP Moitalel Kenta who dismissed Kenta’s declaration as premature and self centered.
Ntutu’s declaration now seems to go contrary to decision by elders from the populous Purko clan who had endorsed former Information and Communication and Technology principal secretary Joseph Tiampati as the man to face Tunai in 2017.
Sources say all aspirants from the Purko clan had been invited by the elders where they were interviewed and vetted and Tiampati was endorsed as the sole candidate from the clan only for Kenta to turn around and declare himself in total disregard to the elders’ wishes.
It has also emerged that after the elders endorsed Tiampati, Ntutu, Senator Stephen Ntutu and MP Johana Ng’eno held a secret meeting and declared that they were opposed to the elders’ choice of Tiampati and that they would announce a candidate whom they would back for the gubernatorial seat.
Narok county has since 2013 been involved in serious political power struggles, mudslinging and backstabbing among the Jubilee legislators majority of whom are allied to William Ruto’s URP.
Five Narok legislators have been piling pressure on Tunai who is a close Ruto ally and the MPs are now sending mixed signals that if pushed to the wall, they will all defect to either Cord or Kanu enmasse ahead of 2017 elections.
The legislators opposed to Tunai are Ole Ntutu and MPs Moitalel ole Kenta, Ngeno and Korei ole Lemein of Narok South. The rebellion is now said to have backfired on Ruto who during the 2013 campaigns had captured section of Maasai region.
Ruto’s attempt to win back the rebel MPs had always failed as witnessed at one time when he attempted to reconcile with the rebel Narok MPs but they boycotted the meeting and only sent Ntutu to attend Ruto’s meeting with Tunai. All other URP MPs who were expected to attend the meeting kept off and switched off their phones.
Sources say the four URP MPs sent Ntutu to meet Ruto with a litany of demands, among them dropping of the murder charges against them and the resignation of Tunai over corruption.
The MPs in a quick rejoinder explained why they snubbed Ruto’s meeting aimed at seeking truce between them and Tunai. Ng’eno mocked and belittled Ruto saying he was too small to handle such big matters, which is why they could not waste their time to attend his meeting and listen to him.
In yet another show of rebellion, Jubilee MPs from Narok county boycotted yet another function presided over by Ruto. Ruto was shocked when he arrived to commission the construction of roads in Narok town only to find the embattled Narok governor Tunai and MCAs waiting to receive him.
Sources say the rebel MPs led by Ole Ntutu, Ole Kenta and Ng’eno were invited for the function but rejected the invitation saying they were not ready to share a podium with Ruto and Tunai.
The boycott has now sent cold shivers down the spine of Ruto and by extension Jubilee that the rebel MPs could be technically out of Jubilee and that come 2017, it will not be business as usual for Ruto and his URP party which enjoys following in the county.
What was however expected to be a joyful occasion that many even thought would be used to reconcile the rebel MPs with the governor turned out to be a low-keyed function boycotted by majority of Maasai leaders and elders.
It is not however known if the rebel MPs told their supporters to keep off the function to send a message to Ruto that his ally Tunai enjoys no support in the county. The MPs say by gracing the occasion, they would be turned into rubber stamp to approve corrupt deals in the county government.
Intelligence reports had reached Ruto that Narok MPs, MCAs and politicians had plotted to embarrass him by boycotting the function and Ruto also acted on the reports and summoned a few MPs from Narok allied to Governor Tunai. Kilgoris MP Gideon Konchela, Narok East MP Lemanken Aramat and woman representative Soipan Tuya were the only Narok MPs present.
Ruto was accompanied by TNA legislators Njogu Barua of Gichugu, Jamleck Kamau, Kigumo and Uasin Gishu counterpart Jackson Mandago.
Already Kanu chairman Gideon Moi and Cord leader Raila Odinga have been sending emissaries to the rebel MPs to lure them to join their respective parties. Going by the recent turn of events, the writing is now on the wall that come 2017, the Maasai, Samburu and Ichamus might be moving to a new political home.
Maasai elder William Ntimama is said to have hosted a number of Maasai leaders at his home where sources say he pleaded with the rebel Jubilee MPs to join Cord. The meeting was arranged by Kajiado Central MP Elijah Memusi.
Analysts now say with Narok county now problematic in Ruto’s political calculations, TNA and Cord top brass are now on a mission to make inroads in the region that was in 2013 perceived to be a URP stronghold.
The appointment of Joseph Nkaissery as Interior cabinet secretary was Uhuru’s entry point to Maasai politics. Analysts say it is part of Uhuru’s elaborate 2017 political gameplan to subdue the opposition in the Kajiado county politics.
During the 2013 elections, in Kajiado county, Uhuru garnered 138,851 votes against Raila’s 117,856 votes. Statistically, the county is torn right in the middle between Jubilee and Cord. Having lost the Kajiado parliamentary seat, Uhuru is now said to be back to the drawing board.
In Narok county, URP won more seats than TNA. For the women reps seat, Roselinda Tuya of URP won with 108,380 votes against Lydia Nanenu of ODM who got 28,497 votes. TNA’s Nailantei Shonko finished a distant third with 6,865 votes.
Uhuru allies are said to be keenly watching political events in Narok and are warning that if URP loses ground in the region as political signs are showing, Uhuru has to work on plan B for his second stab at the presidency.
According to well-placed sources, TNA’s worry is that should Ruto fail to contain dissenting and rebellious voices in Narok, this could deny Uhuru the badly needed 25pc in at least half the counties.
During the 2013 elections, URP’s Tunai garnered 87,832 votes against ODM’s Parsoloi Nchoe who got 39,100 votes. Others were Daniel Kiptunene who was an independent candidate, 20,073, Francis Nkoitoi of WDM, 20,789, John Konchellah of Kanu, 9,207, Joseph Ole Musuni of KNC 55,008 and independent candidate Ledama Ole Kina who garnered 4,175 votes.
On Tunai’s side are Kilgoris MP Gideon Konchellah and Narok East’s Ken Kiloku both from minority clans and who are in support of the embattled Tunai as does women representative Soipan Tuya and 30 MCAs. While Ntimama has not been at the frontline of the dispute, his daughter Lydia and niece Leah are in the anti-Tunai crusade.
The anti-Tunai camp claims that they are fighting for equity in employment and resource allocation. They claim Tunai has sidelined the Maasai, favouring outsiders in employment opportunities that arose with devolved units. Narok county is home to six Maasai clans: Purko, Keekonyokie, Ildamat, Uasinkishu, Siria and Moitanik.