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Why Kajiado’s top seat may slip out of Jubilee hands again

Kajiado governor aspirants Taraiya Ole Kores (left) Solomon Kinyanjui and Daniel Nina Livondo hold their hands as a sign of togetherness at Oloitokitok town on 21 August 2016 during a graduation party for Mr Livondo who had graduated recently at the Mt Kenya University. (Photo: Peterson Githaiga/Standard)


Kajiado governor aspirants Taraiya Ole Kores (left) Solomon Kinyanjui and Daniel Nina Livondo hold their hands as a sign of togetherness at Oloitokitok town on 21 August 2016 during a graduation party for Mr Livondo who had graduated recently at the Mt Kenya University. (Photo: Peterson Githaiga/Standard)

A cloud of political uncertainty hangs over Kajiado County as the August 8 elections beckon.

While it may not be certain who between the National Super Alliance (NASA) and the Jubilee Party will carry the day, it will not be a walk in the park for President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto in their bid to wrestle the governor’s seat from the opposition.

From Loitoktok in the South to Suswa in the North, the Jubilee Alliance in 2013 bagged four of the five Kajiado parliamentary seats and swept all but two of the 25 wards.

The Senate and Kajiado Woman Representative slots also went to Jubilee.

But the coalition missed the jackpot as Dr David ole Nkedianye of ODM won the dramatic gubernatorial race characterised by the 11th hour court ruling that barred Jubilee’s candidate, Mr Taraiya ole Kores, from contesting over lack of a degree certificate from an accredited university. Mr Kore’s last minute replacement, Daniel Nina (Livondo), managed 95,526 votes against Dr Nkedianye’s 125,563.

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“That was the most horrible day in our (Jubilee) camp and a big disappointment to our party leader Uhuru Kenyatta,” said Moses ole Sakuda, the Kajiado West MP. President Kenyatta garnered 138,851 against Raila Odinga’s 117,856.

That was then. In 2017, the political landscape in Kajiado appears to waver even as the Jubilee team strategise to wrestle the governor’s seat from the Opposition and retain the other seats.

Registered voters in Kajiado have increased to 409,266 from 306,977 in 2013.

“I can confidently say Kajiado seat was technically stolen from me and I am reclaiming it this year,” said Mr Tores who had made through TNA (Jubilee) nominations before the court threw his ambition out the window. He has since graduated from Mount Kenya University.

But the Opposition camp, disappointed by the dismal show in 2013, has identified Kajiado as one of the must-win counties in the 2017 elections to wash the egg splashed on its face.

“The ground has shifted a great deal and it is hostile to the same people who rode on the euphoria of tyranny of numbers,” said Dr Nkedianye, who is defending his seat on a NASA ticket.

The governor who has not attracted any opponent within the opposition, exudes confidence that NASA will kick Jubilee out of Kajiado.

Sources within ODM indicate Raila Odinga’s brief to the county campaign teams is to deliver at least half of the Assembly, three parliamentary seats and retain Nkedianye in office.

“I came in as a political greenhorn but now I have learnt the ropes the hard way and I will deliver Kajiado to NASA,” said the governor.

Kores blames Jubilee’s elected leaders in Kajiado for failing to sustain the political euphoria of 2013.

“We have made our stronghold vulnerable to the same people we defeated and allowed them to regroup and make fresh inroads,” said the governor hopeful, who now chairs the Kenya Meat Commission.

Kores is a former councilor and chairman of the defunct County Council of Olkejuado.

Due to the laxity of elected Jubilee leaders, he argues, the Opposition has penetrated Kajiado through Governor Nkedianye and Kajiado Central MP Elijah Memusi of ODM.

Jubilee operatives view Nkedianye as a strong gubernatorial candidate and a serious threat based on his education background and the fact that he was handpicked through a structured system involving vetting by the Kajiado County Maa Professionals Forum and community elders.

“Once Nkedianye’s candidature was approved by all stakeholders, we mounted a people-driven campaign and turned his bid into a unifying factor which triggered us to behave like cows dying of thirst and have just seen some water,” said Nackson ole Umash, a church leader and civil rights activist.

Nkedianye has a Ph.D in pastoralism, land use and conservation and master of arts degree in rural Sociology and community development. His bachelors degree is in social education, ethics and christian education.

“I did not study to become a politician but I have always had a drive to help communities. This background has boosted my patience and resilience in the face of hard knuckle politics in a county where I lacked the right numbers in the assembly,” he said.

Kajiado Senator Peter ole Mositet of Jubilee admits his party would have to mount a serious campaign and pick a strong candidate to face Nkedianye.

“We cannot underestimate the Opposition in Kajiado as it has beaten us in the two by-elections held since the last general election,” said Eng Mositet. 

In the Kajiado Central by-election, ODM’s Memusi replaced Joseph ole Nkaissery who had been appointed Interior cabinet secretary. In the Mosiro ward by-election, Peter Ntimoye Kuseyo of ODM narrowly won against Jubilee’s Jonathan Koilekan.

“The Jubilee government has let the people of Kajiado down by not implementing projects it pledged. Our governor has done exemplary well despite Jubilee MCAs frustrating his vision,” said Memusi.

Kitengela MCA Nathaniel Sinkeet believes Jubilee must deliver on the 2013 pre-election pledges especially on the construction of Isara-Kajiado road that connects Kajiado and Loitoktok through Mashuru.

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Another critical pledge is the construction of the Kiserian-Isinya road and service roads on either side of the Namanga Road in Kitengela town.

Whereas Nkedianye has no challenger in NASA nominations so far, Jubilee is locked in a catch-22-situation complicated by the entry of former Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph ole Lenku and who is viewed as being fronted by Deputy President William Ruto.

Sources within Kores’ camp say he is under pressure to step down for Mr Lenku.

Nina Livondo, who vied against Nkedianye in 2013 on a URP ticket, has since decamped to PNU, expressing fears that Jubilee nominations may not be free and fair.

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