The quest for votes from the Turkana Community has intensified in Isiolo County as aspiring governors rush to woo them ahead of the August elections.
The community is being regarded by political leaders as the influencing factor in the August gubernatorial race in the region, but they could also be faced with a serious split.
So far, the community has received three proposals from aspiring governors for a running mate positions due to its “huge” number of voters.
Mr Hussein Golicha, a Kanu gubernatorial aspirant, Sunday unveiled his running mate from the community, claiming he had received blessings from the Turkana elders.
Other aspirants targeting the community for running mates are Governor Godana Doyo and Mr Adan Kabelo who are contesting on a Jubilee and ODM party tickets respectively.
Political leaders claimed that the community is regarded as the second after Borana’s to have a huge chunk of voters in the region, estimated to be more than 12,000.
The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) says the number of eligible voters in the whole county is between 70,000 and 80,000 but could not verify the number of Turkana voters in Isiolo.
Mr Golicha settled for Mr Andrew Ilere as his deputy and pledged to appoint other community representatives in his cabinet if he clinches the seat in the August elections.
Mr Kabelo, an ODM aspirant who hopes to secure the county’s top seat, has settled for Mr Paul Edonga as his running mate and promised to fill in the “misrepresentation” gap allegedly created by the current administration.
Both Mr Golicha and Mr Kabelo, who are not in the same camp with Isiolo North MP Joseph Samal, the Turkana kingpin, but have promised to support him in his re-election in their bid to gain the community’s trust.
“Kanu party will not front any candidate for the Isiolo North MP seat. I have Mr Samal’s blessings and I will support him in his re-election bid,” said Mr Golicha.
Governor Doyo is said to have chosen Mr Barnabas Esunyen, who worked as the Chief Officer for Culture and Social Services in his administration, as his running mate and is also eying for the community’s support.
Mr Doyo, who is seeking re-election, is yet to officially announce his running mate.
Isiolo has five cosmopolitan communities which are Borana, Samburu, Turkana, Somali and the Meru.
Other aspiring governors are Senator Mohammed Kuti, Mr Abdul Bahari, who has been the Tana and Athi Rivers Development Authority (TardA) chairman, deputy governor Mohammed Guleid (CCM) and Isiolo businessman of Indian origin Anwar Kassam.
Already, the Tarda chairman has settled for Mr Domiziano Maingi, a businessman from the Meru community in Isiolo as his deputy, while Senator Kuti has selected Dr Abdi Ibrahim Issa from the Somali community as his running mate.
However, it is not clear who Mr Samal will endorse among the three governors eying the community’s support, but Mr Bahari seems to be enjoying his support since they are in the same camp.
Although Mr Golicha claims to be the only serious candidate to express interest on a running mate from the community, he believes that the Jubilee Party nomination slated for April 21 will give a clear picture on who will have the community’s votes.
But Mr Kabelo said he had “fully” garnered their support due to his past experiences while serving the community as an NGO worker.
Mr Joseph Esukuku, an aspiring Burat MCA, said the community ought to make a wise decision since the quest by the three gubernatorial candidates could split their votes.
“Our (Turkana’s) main interest is to retain our parliamentary seat, but we also want to have a deputy governor but we ought to make decisions that will not fail us at the end,” said Mr Esukuku.