KANU Secretary General Nick Salat
With Jubilee Party’s (JP) primaries looming large, a growing number of politicians in its strongholds are jumping ship and joining other political parties where they feel the nominations will be fair.
Kanu and Chama Cha Mashinani (CCM) have been the greatest beneficiaries of this fallout within Jubilee and have attracted a number of aspirants from South Rift, among them prominent MPs.
Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto’s CCM has drawn in potential candidates from Kericho, Narok and Nakuru counties and is also looking at harvesting from Deputy President William Ruto’s home turf in the North Rift. Among CCM’s incoming members are possibly Kuresoi South MP Zakayo Cheruiyot and his Emurua Dikirr counterpart Johanna Ng’eno, two of the most vocal supporters of Governor Ruto and fierce critics of Deputy President William Ruto.
Although Mr Ng’eno was elected on a Kenya National Congress (KNC) party ticket, he worked with the Jubilee coalition before falling out with its leaders. Cheruiyot was elected under DP Ruto’s now deregistered United Republican Party (URP) but is now a key ally of the Bomet governor.
Mr Cheruiyot gave an indication of his new political direction when he spoke to The Standard on Sunday recently without giving too much away
“I will definitely not defend the Kuresoi South seat on a JP ticket. There are options and CCM is one of them,” Cheruiyot said.
However, Narok South MP Patrick Ntutu was more direct about the vehicle he will use to seek the Narok governorship on August 8.
“As it is, the Jubilee house in Narok is full. I have already quit JP to join Ng’eno (Johana) and Governor Ruto,” he said about his move to join CCM.
CCM is already spreading its tentacles in 24 counties by opening branches and is preparing to venture into Deputy President’s strongholds in northern Kenya.
Governor Ruto said CCM wants to cash in on the “windfall thanks to dictatorship in Jubilee”.
Leaders from the Rift Valley, wary of missing out on a JP ticket during nominations, have been to some degree been warming up to Governor Ruto. The governor’s outspoken critics like Bomet Central MP Ronald Tonui appear to have toned down their attacks on the governor even though the legislator says he is firmly in Jubilee.
“I will fight it out in JP because this region is a Jubilee zone,” he said last week.
Although none of the MPs in Kericho County have defected, they have toned down their attacks on CCM.
Not surprisingly several county government officials, especially members of Governor Ruto’s executive committee, have resigned to vie on a CCM ticket.
Victor Koech is hoping to win the CCM nomination and vie for the Chepalungu parliamentary seat currently held by Paul Bii of Jubilee Party while Janet Korir is eying the Bomet East seat.
Emily Sawe is seeking to become the Bomet Woman Representative while Cosmas Korir wants to vie for the Konoin seat.
Kanu is also reaping big in Baringo, Samburu and West Pokot counties. In Baringo, at least five members of the county assembly elected on the defunct URP and TNA party tickets have joined Kanu.
Ripco Ward MCA Daniel Tuwit, his Muchogoi counterpart Jackson Tarus, Sacho’s Zacharia Kipkuto, Marigat’s Isaiah Kibowen and Solomon Chemchor of Kapropita have shifted their allegiance to Kanu.
Aspiring Mogotio MP Noah Kipkurui Chepkech has also decamped to Kanu because he believes Jubilee will be unable to carry out free and fair party nominations.
“The trouble I have faced in Jubilee can be captured in a book,” Chepkech said in response to inquiries about reasons for his defection.
Kanu Secretary General Nick Salat has urged dissatisfied politicians to join the former ruling party.
“Kanu will have candidates in all elective positions. We are determined to give Jubilee and other big political parties a run for their money,” said Mr Salat.