The battle of titans in Mt Elgon
- Daniel Psirmoi
| Oct 4th 2012 | 3 min read
By Daniel Psirmoi
Mt Elgon region in Bungoma County is bracing for a battle of the titans as political rivals – area MP Fred Kapondi and his predecessor John Serut fight over control of the United Republican Party (URP) in the area.
The two are embroiled in a bruising supremacy battle over who should be the pointman of party leader and presidential aspirant William Ruto.
Emerging from a five-year political grave, Mr Serut is rolling up his sleeves for a duel of the century.
Mr Serut, a former assistant minister is banking on the goodwill of the constituents, what he calls impressive development record and his no-nonsense approach to issues affecting his people.
Notably, the former legislator has the backing of many youths, who admire his forceful style of politics.
Mr Serut and Mr Kapondi fought bitter political battles in the run up to the 2007 General Election and analysts expect a repeat of the same.
Mr Ruto is playing it safe even as some residents expect him to take sides with one of the two protagonists.
Recently, Mr Ruto appeared to be having a soft spot for Mr Kapondi when he sent him to represent him in Kakamega at a rally hosted by Deputy Prime Minister and United Democratic Forum (UDF) presidential candidate, Musalia Mudavadi.
Mr Kapondi’s critics in Mt Elgon allege that he lacks enthusiasm to push for the interests of the community. They also say he is reluctant to help his Sabaot people secure jobs, considering that he chairs a powerful Parliamentary Departmental Committee on Administration and National Security.
Unlike Mr Serut who, during his term could throw caution to the wind while pressing for the interests of his constituents, Mr Kapondi is a smooth operator who works behind the scenes.
Promises of goodies
“The two have renewed their rivalry and are jostling to control the voting bloc. As voters, we will support the person with the best policies and credentials,” says John Mose, a resident.
Local analysts agree that the two will use the protracted land issues in Mt Elgon and controversial settlement of displaced residents in Endebes and the Chebyuk schemes as campaign platforms.
The two and their supporters have been blaming each other over claims that ‘foreigners’ were settled at the Endebes scheme.
Mr Kapondi’s opponents are also using his alleged failure to help Jeniffer Masis, a nominee for the East Africa Legislative Assembly (EALA) to win the seat. Ms Masis comes from the community.
Battle lines appeared clearly drawn recently during the URP grass root elections. Parallel polls were held in the constituency with one faction led by Mr Serut and the other by proxies of the area MP.
With all indications being that the battle for the URP ticket is a two horse race, new aspirants have safely been shopping for other parties.
Mr Mudavadi visited the constituency few weeks ago and pledged several goodies. He was accompanied by former education officer John Kiptii Ngononin, prominent Nairobi businessman Arnold Maswa, Kennedy Kipnusu a businessman in Southern Sudan who hails from Kopsiro and Bernard Mung’ou who was first in POA party but has lately decamped to UDF.
Pre-poll pacts and politics in vote-rich RiftDefections and emergence of new political alliances have sent ripples across the Rift Valley as former friends-turned-foes; Prime Minister Raila Odinga and Eldoret North MP William Ruto dig in for fresh fights over the region’s vote-rich basket.
When Njonjo almost resigned over coffee smugglersKnown as the era of black gold, it began in 1976 when Ugandan farmers decided to sell their coffee in the private market.
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