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Raila or Ruto? Which way for the Maa community ahead of 2022

RIFT VALLEY
By Peterson Githaiga | September 17th 2021

Deputy President William Ruto chats with ODM leader Raila Odinga after celebrations of Madaraka Day in Kisumu.

As the scramble for votes takes shape ahead of next year’s elections, Deputy President William Ruto and ODM leader Raila Odinga have turned their focus on the Maasai community swing vote.

With over one million votes at stake, the Orange Democratic Party (ODM) and the United Democratic Alliance UDA are not leaving anything to chance as they strategise on how to win over the region.

In the 2013 elections, Raila Odinga won in Narok County garnering 118,623 votes (50 per cent of the total votes cast) against Jubilee’s Uhuru Kenyatta who got 109,413 (46 per cent).

However, in Kajiado County Uhuru’s The National Alliance (TNA) party won four out of five
constituencies, namely Kajiado North, Kajiado East, Kajiado South and Kajiado West.

Only Kajiado Central went to the Opposition after the late Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery, won the seat on an ODM ticket. At the County Assembly, 15 out of 17 seats were won by Jubilee while only two went with the Opposition.

And now with just months to the General Election, various groups and professionals from the Maa community are appealing to their leaders to unite and vote as one block. The same calls dominated a leader’s meeting attended by Raila on Monday at Ongata Rongai, Kajiado County.

Raila’s visit follows a series of secret meetings to plan on how to defeat UDA party that is associated with Ruto. During the meeting at Olaaro hotel, some of the leaders from the region agreed to support Raila in his presidential bid. Raila was accompanied to the meet Suna East MP Junet Mohamed and former Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero among others.

During the meeting Kajiado Governor Joseph Ole Lenku said the Maa Nation would vote for Raila if he is endorsed as the Handshake Candidate.

“We are in Jubilee and President Kenyatta has been clear on uniting this country. We are supporting the Handshake and we shall be in the next handshake government,” said Lenku.

“We are working towards shedding off the tag of swing vote county. We reduce our political value by splitting our votes. We have one million votes scattered in six counties and in 2022, they should go to one candidate,” added Lenku.

The governor rallied the Maasai to register as voters to make their dream candidate successful and cast their votes in one basket for them to increase their bargaining power.

A former minister during the Moi regime, David Ole Sankori told President Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila  to merge Jubilee and ODM into a one party. Other leaders who spoke include, Narok North MP Moitalel Ole Kenta and Kajiado Central MP Memusi Kanchory.

Former National Assembly Francis Ole Paparo who attended the Monday meeting also appealed the Maa leaders to speak in one voice.

Raila and Ruto have been trying to woo the Maa community over the past few weeks. The DP recently hosted a delegation of Maa community at his Karen home. The delegation was led by Kajiado South MP Katoo Ole Metito and  Senator Philip Mpaayei.

Supporters of Ruto says forays by Raila into the Maa counties will not change the voting pattern. According to Mpayei the community is behind Ruto. He said Monday’s meeting with Raila was non consequential on next year’s elections. 

“Majority of leaders in the counties of Kajiado and Narok, gave the meeting a wide berth. In Samburu county alone, none of the elected leaders was present,” he said.

“Those who did not show up, are allies of the deputy president. Therefore, it is hypothetical that Maa is nation will vote for Raila,” he added.

Nominated MCA Onsmas Ngogoyo said Raila’s efforts to woo the Maasai would not bear any fruit and termed the recent visits a complete waste of time.

“Raila was a prime minister for five years, and nothing was ever done to benefit the Maasai community,” said Ngogoyo.

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