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Citizen Weekly

Sunday, 24 August 2014

NTIMAMA ABORTED STATE HOUSE VISIT REVIVED AS REFERENDUM FEVER HOTS UP



As referendum wave being pushed separately by both Cord and Council of Governors continues to send mixed political signals across the country, President Uhuru Kenyatta is now said to have revived the collapsed talks that could have seen the self-declared Maasai political leader William ole Ntimama ditch ODM for TNA.


Ntimama was to lead ODM politicians to State House where the president was to receive him. The trip aborted at the last minute after URP men from the region allied to deputy president openly complained.

 Cord is said to be penetrating Kajiado and Narok counties to sell the referendum idea.
It is against this background that Uhuru men are once again reviving their efforts to bring on board Ntimama to help them do the damage control. It is widely believed that although he was defeated during the last general elections, his word in Maasai region carries more weight than any other political leader.

But even as Uhuru and his men plot a fresh attempt to woo Ntimama and his allies back to TNA, the URP and William Ruto factor must be addressed anew this time to avoid any further embarrassment to Uhuru and State House.

Those who have been closely monitoring the Uhuru-Ruto-Ntimama political deal will recall the defection of Ntimama had to be cancelled at the eleventh hour after the Ruto camp opposed the move on grounds it was bound to cause rifts in the Jubilee coalition.

But ODM dismissed the planned defection as of no help. ODM officials from Narok county condemned Ntimama’s planned defection to TNA.
Those who opposed were ODM branch chairman Jackson Ole Kamuye party treasurer Joseph ole Karia and county women league chairperson Mary Simat.

TNA sources now claim that the cancellation was therefore meant to cool down political tempers which had reached rooftops as URP claimed that TNA was raiding its political backyard through defections.

Uhuru and his TNA people were preparing to receive Ntimama and other 20 Maasai leaders at State House.
TNA has however not given up on bringing Ntimama on board ahead of the looming referendum. TNA operatives have now come to reality that Kajiado and Narok counties have high voter registrations and must be put into their political calculations to defeat the Cord referendum pressure.

Kajiado county has 304,346 registered voters while Narok county has 262,739 voters. In the last general elections, Raila garnered 118,623 votes in Narok county compared to Uhuru’s 109,413 votes while in Kajiado county, Uhuru garnered 138,851 votes against Raila’s 263,130 votes.


Back to the failed defection, sources say Ruto and his URP told Uhuru that they were not opposed to Ntimama’s defection but wanted it done through Jubilee and not through TNA. Ntimama on the other hand has stood his ground that he was only willing to join Jubilee through TNA and not Ruto’s URP.

But as Ruto and his men still put pressure that Ntimama’s defection could cause more rifts in the coalition, Uhuru’s men still insist that Ntimama and his allies should declare their loyalty to TNA to promote TNA rather than declare allegiance to Jubilee. 

However, one school of thought has it that Ntimama who suffered a major political humiliation under the hands of youthful lawyer, Moitalel ole Kenta on TNA ticket during the last general elections, has made several attempts to keep his political fire burning in vain.

Although Raila won majority of presidential votes in Kajiado county, TNA and URP won majority of other elective seats. ODM only won the gubernatorial seat through David ole Nkedianye and the Kajiado Central parliamentary seat through Joseph Nkaisserry and less than 10 members of county assemblies.

Sources say URP fear is that majority of elected leaders were elected on party ticket. But Uhuru’s men who are still said to be pushing for Ntimama’s defection to TNA claim that as a party, TNA needs to consolidate its base a head of 2017. This is on grounds that Ruto has been making inroads in Mt Kenya region seen to be leaning towards TNA.

 The latest attempt to bring Ntimama on board ahead of the referendum is a matter that is still causing ripples within Jubilee.  Two MPs from Narok county read political mischief in a deal to revive Nitimama. Ken Kiloku (Narok East) and Johana Ng’eno (Emurua Dikirr) see it as aimed at countering URP popularity.

Surprisingly, Ntimama’s latest moves are also being resisted by TNA leaders from Maasai region. Kajiado Senator Peter Mositet is also not comfortable.
It is imperative to note Uhuru’s TNA and URP entered a pre-election political deal where they divided the country into zones. In the deal, Maasai leaders from TNA and URP agreed that South Rift Valley, where Ntimama comes from, was under URP and that TNA did not field candidates and Ruto’s party grabbed all the seats from Ntimama’s ODM party.

Those elected MPs on URP ticket were Moitalel Kenta (Narok North), Ken Kiloku (Narok East), Lemein Korei (Narok South), Patrick ole Ntutu (Narok West) and Gideon Konchella (Kilgoris). In the entire county, only Emuria Dikirr MP, Johann Ngeno, was elected outside URP. He was elected on Kenya National Congress party which is headed by former assistant minister Peter Kenneth.

Ntimama latest move was initiated by Kajiado West MP, Moses ole Sakuda, who has been wooing the Maa community to ditch other political parties including URP and formally support TNA. Sakuda was elected on a TNA ticket.

Ntimama has been in the political cold since he lost his Narok North seat to Kenta.
Ntimama change of heart was first seen when he heaped praises on Uhuru while addressing thousands of people who attended a thanksgiving ceremony at the rural home of Information Principal Secretary, Joseph Tiampati ole Musuni. Ntimama thanked Uhuru for appointing Masai sons to senior government positions regardless of their political parties affiliation.

“Uhuru has really made proud and have no reason to talk badly about his administration. We have Tiampati ole Musuni, John ole Konchella, David ole Lenku, among many others in senior government positions,’’ said Ntimama amid wild cheers in support. Surprisingly, he never mentioned the name of Ruto at the ceremony.

Back to the last elections, as had been indicated earlier, URP won majority seats in the Maasai region. For the position of governor in Kajiado, URP forced TNA to support Daniel Mpute of URP who garnered 95,526 votes against ODM’s, David Nkedianye of ODM who garnered 125,563 votes. URP was later to complain that had they fielded a candidate, the party could have emerged victorious.

In the senatorial race, TNA also forced URP not to field a candidate and TNA’s Peter Mositet emerged victorious after garnering 143,703 votes against WDM’s Solomon Kinyanjui who got 45,054 votes. TNA had initially indicated that they were going to field Kinyanjui who hails from Central Kenya but URP and Maasai leaders refused saying if TNA had to filed a candidate that it had to be somebody from Maasai community.

For the women representative, TNA and URP failed to strike a deal with both parties fielding separate candidates. TNA’s Mary Seneta won with 123,455 votes against ODM’s Emilly Kiparki who got 79,499 while URP’s Dorothy Mashipei got 43,185 votes.

In Narok county, again TNA and URP failed to agree on a single candidate. Roselinda Tuya of URP won with 108,380 votes against her closes challenger Lydia Nanenu of ODM who got 28,497 votes. TNA’s Nailantei Shonko finished a distant third with 6,865 votes. For the governor’s race, Samuel Tunai of URP won with 87,832 votes against ODM’s Johnson Nchoe who got 39,100 votes.

Ntimama started politics as chairman of Narok County Council before making a grand entry into parliamentary politics by ousting the then powerful minister in the Office of the President Justus Kantet ole Tipis in 1988 and became President Moi’s loyal supporter.

Then in 2002, he joined Narc and successfully defended his seat same as 2007 elections but in 2013 elections, he was humiliated in the Narok North politics. Ntimama lost in a hotly contested election and lost narrowly to a Nairobi-based lawyer Moitalel Kenta who garnered 22,806 votes against Ntimama’s 20,473 votes while a US based scholar Maitamet Damper came a distant third with 7,000 votes.

Ntimama’s daughter Lydia Masikonte was also humiliated when she lost the Narok women’s representatives seat. She was beaten by Soipan Tuya of URP.
Ntimama’s defeat was met with shock and disbelief and since then he has kept low profile and has never been seen in public. The last time he was seen in public is when he attended the burial of former Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo.

The one million dollar question is whether the Maasai community will get a politician who can fit in Ntimama’s big shoes. Several names are being mentioned as possible Maasai kingpins after Ntimama’s exit. Then who will it be? One such person is Joseph Nkaissery who majority think can fit in Ntimama’s shoes going by his education and age and is believed to have exhibited political maturity. He once served as an assistant minister for Defence in the grand coalition government.

Former cabinet minister and Kilgoris MP Gideon Konchella’s name is also being mentioned as possible successor though one school of thought claim he does not command respect among the larger Maasai community.

Immediate former Internal Security minister Katoo Ole Mitito is also being mentioned as possible successor to Ntimama but those opposing this move claim he is too young for such a position and this therefore leaves the battle between Nkaissery and Konchella.