Lenas Leshore joins quest to deny Letimalo third stint as Samburu East MP

The Samburu East parliamentary race has attracted a good number of influential individuals making it one of the hotly-contested seats in the vast semi-arid region with six candidates contesting.

It was initially thought that the incumbent Raphael Letimalo, who is running for the third time, would easily defend his seat.

However, matters have been complicated with the entry of Lenas Leshore, the son of Samburu Senator Sammy Leshore.

The young Leshore announced his intentions late last year and since he won the nomination, there has been a flurry of activities in the region as he sells his candidature.

Mr Leshore is vying on an Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) ticket and has already received the blessings of the party leader Raila Odinga who enjoys considerable support in the region, labelled an opposition zone.

Other aspirants for the seat are Tom Lalampaa (Narc Kenya), Robert Lemerketo (Independent), Jackson Lentoijoni (Kanu) and Mavan Lesanjir (CCM).

Samburu politics is largely determined by clan factor.

The region has eight clans (llmasula, Longeli, Lorokushu Lpsikishu, Loimisi, Lukumae, Ilngwesi and llnyaparae) whose political strength can roughly be rated in that order.

In the past, the politics of Samburu East has been determined by powerful figures from Samburu West, led by former Kenya Army commander the late Gen ( Rtd) James Lenges.

However since 2007, the influential Lenges family was forced to watch the elections from the sidelines.

The Lenges family hails from the larger llmasula clan.

But the young Leshore says he does not believe in clan politics since it has been overtaken by time.

“My politics is going to be issue-based and one certain thing that my leadership is going to offer is accountability and transparency. The People will get the value of their CDF allocation,” he says during an interview.

All the other aspirants have maintained that Mr Letimalo failed to represent Samburu East as required of a legislator, accusing him of mainly playing partisan sectarian politics instead of discharging the mandate to legislate, oversight, represent and develop all. 

But these accusations ranging from poor representation, unrewarding sycophancy in government to a myriad of integrity woes including the alleged misuse of CDF, Mr Letimalo continues to attract good crowds in his rallies although his opponents say this might not translate to votes.

Mr Letimalo relies on his development record to boost his re-election bid.

He has constructed schools and health centres in remote villages, using the CDF, the MP says.   

Most of his critics including local voters, also accuse him of spending too much time in Nairobi and being out of touch with reality on the ground.

Apparently, Leshore, 32, is positioning himself as the better alternative, a view a section of the local residents agree.

Mr Leshore, who holds a master’s degree in public policy and administration from Kenyatta University, says he is a strong believer in politics of ideology and issues.

This, together with the party his people and himself subscribe to, heavily influence his decision to run for the parliamentary seat.  

He believes he is going to emerge the winner, citing the youth support, vigorous issue-based campaign and a popular party leverage. 

“We have a big number of learned youth and I think most of them do not like it when someone wants to influence their decisions.

“They are also tired of old leaders, they want one of their own to represent them in Parliament and  I am ready to do that once elected,” he says.


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