By Geoffrey Mosoku
Wajir West MP Adan Keynan is one of the MPs who has defected from Jubilee to Cord [Photo:File/Standard]
The battle for Northern Kenya votes intensified on Tuesday as current MPs, former MPs and aspirants for various seats dumped jubilee alliance to join rival Cord.
Leaders and various aspirants from Wajir and Marsabit counties led by MPs Joseph Lekuton (Laisamis), Chachu Ganya (North Horr) and Adan Keynan (Wajir West) led the list of those realigning themselves ahead of the March 4 general elections after they joined Cord through ODM.
Lekuton and Keynan were elected to the tenth parliament on the Kanu ticket while Ganya, although he was in ODM he was among the first so called rebel MPs led by Eldoret North MP William Ruto.
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“I was one of the rebels but I am glad today I am coming back home,” Ganya said while adding that his team will campaign vigorous to ensure the entire Marsabit County votes for Cord.
Marsabit County has four constituencies with its sitting MPs now appearing to be divided equally between Jubilee and Cord. MPs Mohamed Mohamud (Moyale) and Hussein Sasura (Saku) identify with URP wing of the jubilee with their counterparts Ganya and Lekuton now in Cord.
“We have a team that will campaign for Cord in Marsabit and mheshimiwa Lekuton is with us. He sent his delegates here since he has been held,” former MP ambassador Ukur Yatan who led the Marsabit delegates told Raila.
And in neighbouring Wajir, with Keynan joining Minister Mohamed Elmi, the balance has tilted following last month’s defection of Mohamed Gabow (Wajir North) to URP.
Keynan said a Cord government will ensure the country re-affirms its place in international affairs saying presidential candidate was well respected by the international community.
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Former KNHRC commissioner Fatuma Ibrahim who is gunning for the Wajir women representative and former Wajir south MP Hassan Abdirahaman also joined the Cord alliance. Abdirahaman, a former Kanu legislator who lost his seat in a petition and subsequent by election in 2010, is seeking the Wajir senate seat.
The leaders from northern Kenya said they had opted to join Cord so as to be among the winning team and due to the party’s record in support of devolution.
“Our only MoU that we will sign with you Prime Minister is the full implementation of the devolution so that the counties that have been forgotten get their share of the national cake,” minister Elmi said.
Prime Minister Raila Odinga received the defectors at Orange House on Tuesday while exuding confidence that his Cord Alliance will emerge triumphant in the polls.
“You are joining the winning team, the signs of victory are just but to be seen by everyone. Cord will clinch victory in this contest in round one since we don’t want to play extra time,” he added.
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Raila said that the Northern Kenya had experienced slow development due to being neglected by respective governments after 50 years after development.
“The area initially referred to us the Northern Frontier District (NFD) two counties have great potential but was neglected. Now we have a chance to correct it,” the premier said.
Raila said the Cord government will address security concerns in Northern Kenya, roads and infrastructural development and will ensure no loophole are in place too ‘allow touts be appointed police inspectors’.