Julius Sunkuli recaptures seat after 20 years in the cold

Former Internal Security minister Julius Sunkuli. [Edwin Nyarangi, Standard]

Former Internal Security minister Julius Sunkuli has made a comeback to elective politics as Kilgoris MP-elect after 20 years outside Parliament.

Mr Sunkuli, who was elected on a Kanu party ticket, served as MP between 1992 and 2002. He was a powerful minister in the late President Daniel arap Moi's government. He lost the seat to Gideon Konchellah who has held it since then.

“I am grateful to the people of Kilgoris for giving me an opportunity to serve them as their Member of National Assembly for a third term, having previously worked for them for two terms. This is a great honour to me,” said Sunkuli.

He garnered 20,239 votes, beating United Democratic Alliance candidate John Ololtua, who came in second with 16,713 votes.

Shadrack Sabaya (Jubilee) got 12,957 votes, Joel Tasur (Independent) got 1,889 votes, John Konchellah (Ubuntu) got 1,882 votes, Moses Ronkoe (Independent) got 1,379 votes, Richard Kelele (Independent) got 621 votes, Johanna Langat (Independent) got 333 votes while Joshua Partumai (DAP-K) got 262 votes.

Sunkuli unsuccessfully contested for the seat in 2002, 2007 and 2017 elections, losing to Konchellah.

He told The Saturday Standard that he would serve all communities in the constituency and help maintain peace.

Sunkuli, a lawyer and a former magistrate, has been practising law and running his private business since he lost the seat 20 years ago. He also served as Kenyan ambassador to China between 2008 and 2013 and as board member of the Industrial and Commercial Development Corporation (ICDC).

In 2013, he ran for Narok Senate seat, competing against his younger brother Andrew Sunkuli. They lost to Stephen Ntutu in what the two have termed as their worst political mistake.

In May this year, Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka named the younger Sunkuli his running mate before returning to Azimio la Umoja.

His other brother, Charles Sunkuli, is the Youth Affairs Principal Secretary and had together with Andrew shown interest in the Narok governor seat but were advised otherwise.