|Kajiado North Parliamentary seat aspirants.|
By Joe Kiarie
The run-up to the September 17 by-election is characterised by major political re-alignments and party hopping as contenders seek the nod of parties they believe will land them the seat held by the former Internal Security minister for the last 24 years.
With the popularity of Saitoti’s PNU having dwindled since his demise, Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta’s TNA is emerging as the party of choice, with key candidates battling to vie on its ticket. Some candidates are also seeking endorsement of URP’s William Ruto, who is yet to endorse any.
And as an indication of how popular Saitoti’s leadership style was, the contenders are basing their campaigns on promises to build on the development and leadership foundation he laid.
His multi-ethnic approach to politics is also proving to be a decisive factor, with most contenders trying to ape it by claiming to have Maasai and Kikuyu roots.
Among the politicians who have declared their interest in the seat are Reverend Moses ole Sakuda as well as businessmen Solomon Kinyanjui, Francis Gitau Parsimei, Anthony Keen, Rhonest ole Ntayia, Salaon ole Kashorda, Peter ole Mositet, Joseph Manje, Philip Wuantai, Hamilton Parseina, and Joseph ole Simel.
With the number of contestants set to rise, there is disquiet among candidates who hail from the more cosmopolitan northern side of the vast constituency. They feel their colleagues from the newly established electoral areas in Kajiado North are opportunists who will only play the spoiler role in the polls and should wait for the General Election to vie.
The constituency was divided into north, east and west, breaking the competition levels since Sakuda had declared he would vie in Kajiado West, while Ntayia was to vie in Kajiado East. However, the two changed their minds and joined the race following Saitoit’s death.
Sakuda, who gave Saitoti a rare political scare on an ODM ticket in 2007, has already hit the campaign trail confident of a win. He is said to have secured Uhuru’s nod as the TNA candidate after decamping from ODM. Uhuru is believed to see Sakuda as a more acceptable candidate to help TNA secure its first parliamentary seat.