Kanu braved the Jubilee Party wave in the Rift Valley region to win several elective seats in last week’s general election.
The independence party’s Gideon Moi and Raymond Moi retained their seats despite stiff competition mounted by Deputy President William Ruto and the Jubilee Party.
In West Pokot County, Kanu turned tables on Jubilee and won the governorship and the senatorial seat.
In Baringo County, the party retained the Senate seat, won the woman representative and Tiaty parliamentary seats.
Its winning streak continued in the neighbouring Samburu County, where Kanu won three parliamentary seats, including the woman representative position.
The party also managed to win three parliamentary seats in Garissa County and another in Narok County.
The re-election of Gideon as Baringo senator and the win by his brother Raymond in Rongai was a clear testimony that the Moi legacy is here to stay.
And Gideon’s win was a major boost for his 2022 presidential ambition and a warning shot to Mr Ruto that the next State House race will not be a walk in the park.
DP Ruto’s preferred candidate for the Baringo Senate seat – former Betting Control and Licensing Board Director Simon Chelugui – was handed a humiliating defeat.
His other choice for the Rongai parliamentary seat – Andrew Kibet Komen – was also floored by Raymond in a tough contest pitting Kanu against Jubilee Party.
Gideon is the Kanu national chairman but despite his party supporting President Uhuru Kenyatta’s re-election, Jubilee went ahead to field a candidate against him.
Pundits argue the decision by the DP to back Chelugui in Baringo and Kibet in Rongai was to try and end the Moi dynasty ahead of the 2022 elections.
“The DP is well aware of the threat posed by the Mois in his 2022 ambition and he seemed keen to end Gideon’s political ambition as he had shown interest in vying for the presidential seat in the 2022 General Election,” said Dr Philip Chebunet, a political science lecturer at the University of Eldoret.
At first, Chelugui had declared his interest to contest for the Baringo governorship.
But during a visit to Ruto’s rural home in Sugoi, Uasin Gischu County, last December, Chelugui changed his mind after the DP prevailed upon him to go for the Senate seat instead.
Chelugui was outgoing Governor Benjamin Cheboi’s closest competitor during the 2013 governorship race.
The DP is alleged have assured Chelugui that Jubilee Party would support him fully in his campaigns to unseat Senator Gideon.
Ruto in his campaigns in Baringo urged Jubilee supporters to embrace the six-piece voting.
In his mind, he was sure that voters in the region would vote for Jubilee and since Gideon had declined to fold Kanu and join Jubilee, the wave would sweep him alongside other Rift Valley rebel politicians.
On the other hand, Gideon, aware of the threat posed by Jubilee in the county, campaigned on the platform that the race for the Baringo Senate seat was indeed his political lifeline.
He informed his supporters that he had a long way to go and his eyes were set on the presidency come 2022.
He told them his re-election to the Senate was only a stepping stone for him fulfilling his dream.
Gideon made them understand that those fighting him were doing so for their own selfish interest and not for the good of the people of Baringo.
He noted that some individuals in Government felt threatened by his 2022 presidential ambitions and had resorted to sponsoring a rival against him.
“This fight I am facing is about 2022 and has nothing to do with the welfare of Baringo people. Their scheme is to have a puppet senator who can sing to their whims and especially with the discovery of resources such as oil and other precious minerals in the county,” he said.
Gideon retained his Senate seat, beating Chelugui with 116,209 against 70,182 votes.
While being declared Baringo senator-elect, he made it clear that with the win his State House bid had just begun.
Over in Rongai, his brother fought tooth and nail to fend off stiff challenge from the Jubilee candidate who conducted a well-oiled campaign.
Kibet, a son of former Rongai MP Willy Komen, whose campaign centred on the youth transformation agenda failed to make an impact despite huge resources at his disposal and the support of Ruto.