Ngeno sudden jump to Kanu complicates NASA equation

L-R:Chama Cha Mashinani(CCM)leaders Emurua Dikir MP Johana Ng’eno ,Woman Rep aspirant Lydiah Ntimama,Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto and Narok governor aspirant Patrick Ntutu at Kilgoris. (Photo:Robert Kiplagat/Standard)

Emurua Dikirr MP Johana Ngeno’s move to quit Chama Cha Mashinani (CCM) for Kanu will complicate political equation for National Supper Alliance (NASA) in Narok County.

Last week, Mr Ngeno pulled a surprise when he declared support for the independence party in what caught the political class including CCM’s nominee for the Narok gubernatorial contest Patrick Ntutu flatfooted.

The development comes even as suspicions emerge that CCM and Kanu are working in tandem to win most parliamentary seats to thwart Deputy President William Ruto’s influence in Rift Valley.

“Ngeno’s move is tactical. The parties are working together to frustrate DP Ruto and ultimately render him useless ahead of 2022 when he is expected to succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta,” says Path Naikumi, a Political Science lecturer at the Maasai Mara University.

Ngeno and Ntutu, the Narok West MP, have since staged joint campaigns and he was earmarked for running mate position.

Political strategists

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But his decision appears to throw political strategists in Narok into a tailspin – coming on the quicksand of August 8 General Election. There were reports that the Emurua Dikirr MP quit after Ntutu failed to name him his running mate. “He (Mr Ngeno) should have left early to give us room to look for somebody else. It is now late. We cannot find a replacement,” says John Bosuben, Mulot Ward MCA.

Another lead CCM campaigner in Bomet, Joseph Ngerechi, weighed in on the matter saying: “He did not campaign to defend his seat because he was sure he would be Ntutu’s running mate”. Ngerechi is a former Mayor of the defunct Bomet Municipal Council. Ngeno has, however, laughed off claims that he was unhappy with Ntutu’s decision to sideline him, saying he made the decision after thorough analysis of political trends on the ground.

“Very few people can understand Emurwa Dikir politics because it is so complicated. I decided to defend my seat because hadn’t I done so, the Jubilee candidate would have taken it,” he says. So far, Ntutu still insists Ngeno reverses his support for CCM and NASA. “Our opponents should not read much. He is still in our team,” says the gubernatorial aspirant.

Strong critic

Ironically, Ngeno has remained a strong critic of the Jubilee administration and Kanu has galvanised support for President Uhuru’s re-election. Ngeno rode on Kenya National Congress in the 2013 General Election while drumming up support for NASA presidential candidate Raila Odinga in a re-union that came after he quit ODM in 2007 when he lost to MP Gideon Konchela in the Kilgoris seat nominations.

He never sees eye to eye with Governor Samuel Tunai and Deputy President.

Before ditching CCM, he had been frequently holding political meetings with Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto and drumming support for the fledgling party.

Earlier, before CCM formation, Ngeno, Governor Ruto and both elder and younger Ntutu, would meet Kanu leaders to plot how to form formidable opposition to counter DP influence in the Rift Valley.

Ngerechi says if Ngeno remained in CCM, Nasa would have benefited by his oratory and convincing skills.

Emurwa Dikir has a huge Kipsigis community. He was expected to deliver the community vote.

Having been a Raila supporter for a long time, it remains to be seen if he will back the NASA flag bearer while in Kanu, or will beat the drum for Uhuru, whose running mate is his bitter rival.

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