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William ole Ntimama backs ODM’s Elijah Memusi as Narok fallout jolts Jubilee

POLITICS
By Stephen Mkawale | March 15th 2015

Former Heritage Minister William ole Ntimama has thrown his weight behind Mr Elijah Memusi, the ODM candidate in tomorrow’s Kajiado Central by-election

Ntimama, who is today set to bless the CORD candidate at a brief function at his Narok home, said the by-election is crucial because it affects the entire Maa community.

“Memusi is the right candidate for this seat. I appeal to the people of Kajiado to heed my advice and give him a chance,” said Ntimama.

He described Memusi as the hope of the Maasai because he has been brought up in the community. He said this is a chance for the Maasai to prove their unity.

Ntimama said after serving the people of Kenya and particularly Narok for more than 40 years, he understands the challenges that the Maasai face.

“If the people of Kajiado want their interest to be well represented, they should elect Memusi,” he said.

Memusi confirmed to The Standard on Sunday he will be visiting Ntimama’s home for the ‘blessing ritual’.

Ntimama’s support for Memusi is seen as crucial for the CORD candidate’s win of the Purko votes in the constituency. “I will be going to Narok for Ntimama’s blessings on Sunday before voting on Monday,” said Memusi.

On Thursday, CORD co-principal Moses Wetantgula announced during a campaign rally at Eiti that the Ntimama was supporting Memusi for the seat. “We have even talked with Mzee Ntimama who is your respected leader and he supports Memusi,” said Wetangula.

Meanwhile, political analysts say wrangles among Narok County leaders and jitters in the South Rift over the formation of the Jubilee Alliance Party (JAP) could determine the outcome of the by-election.

No consultation

They say the formation of JAP, which some local leaders claim was done without consultation, and anger over the arrest of Narok leaders during violent January protests over poor governance could turn tables in favour of ODM in tomorrow’s by-election.

There are ongoing investigations over the claims of malfeasance  that triggered the demonstrations which left one person dead. The protests against Governor Samuel Tunai’s leadership were led by Senator Stephen Ntutu and three legislators. 

“There is no doubt Senator Ntutu and other leaders opposed to Jubilee enjoy huge support from the populous Purko clan. And they have vowed to mobilise the electorate in Kajiado Central to vote for the ODM candidate,” said lawyer Ledama ole Kina, a Narok resident well versed with the region’s politics.

But leaders allied to Jubilee have dismissed the argument that the political dissent in the South Rift region over JAP and the fall out over the Narok arrests could jeopardise their chances of winning the seat.

Majority Leader Aden Duale told The Standard on Sunday that the fallout over the arrests would have no bearing on the outcome of the by-election. The Jubilee alliance has pulled out all stops with no less than President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto spearheading JAP campaigns in Kajiado Central.

And this is what Jubilee will be counting on, says Duale. “Voters in Kajiado Central are informed and know what they want from their new leader. The politics in Narok has nothing to do with the by-election in Kajiado. It’s misleading to link the two,” the Majority Leader said. Duale predicts that  Patrick Tutui will be the first MP to be elected on a JAP ticket. 

Ever since the President  and his deputy declared they would use the Kajiado Central parliamentary by-election to test the popularity of the new party, some leaders in  neighboring Narok County have distanced themselves from JAP.

Narok North MP Moitalel Kenta is among local politicians who have spoken out against the new party and said Maasai leaders had not been consulted before its formation.

Kenta said: “There has been a deliberate and a sustained attempt to push the Maasai community to the political periphery. The people of Kajiado should be firm enough to choose their leader for themselves.”

Pushed to edge

Even though he is in Uhuru’s TNA, Kenta sensationally claimed that there has been a deliberate attempt by Jubilee leaders to marginalise the Maasai community and push  it to the periphery.  

“Elected leaders must always be consulted on matters affecting their electorate. Those of us in TNA will remain there till our mandate ends,” said Kenta. He asked Kajiado Central voters to ignore leaders from outside the region.

“It cannot be lost on political observers that this is not a political war that will benefit the people of Kajiado but a vicious one aimed at controlling the people and their resources by outsiders with little or no regard for their welfare,” he said.

The legislator continued: “That is what we see in Narok every day. If local leaders say no to exploitation of their people, they are condemned. I hope Kajiado leaders and their people will have the foresight and courage to decide what is best for them now and in the future.”

Kenta’s unbridled criticism of the establishment is understandable to his constituents  given that he was among four leaders from Narok County who were arrested and prosecuted for allegedly taking part in an illegal demonstration in Narok town in January.

He and other leaders have waged a silent but effective campaign  rallying residents to reconsider their support for the Jubilee alliance.

However, Kericho Senator Charles Keter, who has been campaigning for Tutui, said  the outcome of the mini-poll will prove JAP critics wrong. “There are a few leaders who are opposed to the new party for various reasons but all those doubts will end after our candidate wins in Kajiado Central,” said Keter.

Oloropil MCA Kuntai ole Kool, who was elected on a TNA ticket,  said JAP had little support among the Maa community. “The Jubilee coalition performance in Kajiado will be disastrous and this will be an indictment on those who want to push issues down our throats,”    said Kool.

However, Governor Tunai is confident  of a JAP  victory in  Kajiado Central on account of the growing economic muscle of the region.

 Full throttle

“Those thinking otherwise will be proved wrong. Our supporters want to join JAP. We are going full throttle to capture the Kajiado Central seat,” he said. Emurwa Dikirr MP Johana Ngeno said: “The outcome of the by-election will determine if Jubilee still holds sway in Maasai politics. If they win, it will legitimise the formation of JAP.”

Narok West MP Patrick Ntutu said: “It does not make any sense for Nkaisery to campaign for Tuitui who has been his arch rival for over 15 years. The mood on the ground is that people will settle for Memusi.”

The Kajiado Central seat fell vacant following Joseph Nkaiserry’s appointment as Interior Cabinet Secretary. He was an ODM legislator.

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