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Former Cabinet Minister Musa Sirma now supports Deputy President William Ruto, wants back his Eldama Ravine seat

By Vincent Mabatuk | Published Sun, November 27th 2016 at 00:00, Updated November 27th 2016 at 00:20 GMT +3
Deputy President William Ruto with former Cabinet Minister Musa Sirma in Baringo County early this year. Sirma's return to Deputy President William Ruto's political camp has complicated re-election bid for Eldama Ravine MP Moses Lessonet. (PHOTO: FILE/ STANDARD)

The return of former Cabinet Minister Musa Sirma to Deputy President William Ruto's political camp has complicated re-election bid for Eldama Ravine MP Moses Lessonet.

Given his long political experience, Sirma is seen likely to fly the Jubilee flag in the constituency and deny Lessonet a third term.

In 2013, Lessonet stuck with Ruto's URP while Sirma, who was area MP from 1997 to 2007 went to the polls with Raila Odinga's ODM ticket. Sirma lost to the former banker and longtime village friend. The two rivals come from the same ward, Perkera.

Last year, President Uhuru Kenyatta appointed Sirma a member of the Agricultural Development Corporation (ADC). The appointment came a few months after the former MP publicly denounced Raila's camp.

Ruto has described Sirma as a brave and focused leader who had only strayed.

"You all know the Rift Valley governor, he is here with us, where are you Musa?" said the DP in his recent tour of Sigoro, Baringo County.

The former minister criticised Lessonet, saying he has done little to change the living standards of his constituents.

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"There are no tangible projects the current leadership can proudly point at as its achievements. People are more divided than ever and that is what I seek to fix," he said.

Lessonet, however, says his development track record speaks for itself and will earn him a third term.

But in what is promising to be a battle of titans, Sirma has already hit the ground running.

"Sirma is always present in community fundraisings, funerals and weddings. The former minister is a man of people and very generous compared to the incumbent," said Raymond Kandie, a resident.

In his weekend visits to the constituency, Sirma is said to be holding night meetings in Lessonet's backyard to try to woo his supporters.

Sirma won the 2002 elections on a Kanu ticket after trouncing Jonathan Moi in the party primaries. His election was hinged on his then closeness to former President Daniel Arap Moi and the support of the entire Moi family.

But immediately after the election, the youthful legislator publicly attacked the former President and demanded that he leaves Rift Valley politics to young leaders.

It was in Sirma's Eldama Ravine Constituency where scores of MPs from the Kalenjin community converged and endorsed Ruto, who was then Eldoret North MP, for president on an ODM Kenya ticket ahead of the 2007 elections. Sirma thereafter led a team of crusaders against the Moi family in the North Rift.

He is one of the few MPs who stuck with Raila in 2013 when the entire Kalenjin community decamped to Ruto's United Republican Party (URP) and this earned Lessonet a second term.

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