Kenya's Most Authoritative Political Newspaper

Citizen Weekly

Sunday, 14 December 2014

WILL UHURU'S POLITICAL TRICKS IN MAASAI POLITICS WORK?

There is more than meets the eye in the appointment of Kajiado Central MP Joseph Nkaissery to the position of Interior cabinet secretary. Analysts say it is part of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s elaborate 2017 political game plan to subdue the opposition in the Kajiado county politics.
To show that Uhuru has interest in the Maasai politics, recently, he hosted the Narok leaders led by Senator Stephen ole Ntutu and included parliamentarians as well as Narok county assembly members who briefed the president on their row and sought his intervention.
Other Narok leaders present included MPs Moses ole Sakuda, Patrick ole Ntutu, Johana Ng’eno, Moitalel ole Kenta and former Narok North MP William ole Ntimama. It was the presence of Ntimama that was symbolic and Uhuru had to cool down tempers of the leaders who have been pushing for Narok governor Samuel ole Tunai’s resignation on claims of misuse of county funds.
On Kajiado politics, Nkaissery’s appointment which now awaits the approval of parliament is now said to be as well as approved-thanks to the tyranny of numbers. According to parliamentary sources, his vetting by parliament is just a mere formality as Jubilee has the numbers to approve his appointment.
Sources say Uhuru had options to get Joseph ole Lenku’s replacement from Maasai region but had to play his political cards well to ensure he takes full control of the county in terms of votes. Jubilee sources say, Uhuru and his deputy William Ruto had marked Maasai region with Kajiado being a preserve of TNA and Narok for Ruto’s URP.
It is against this background that when time came for Ole Lenku to be shown the door, Uhuru played his cards well by nominating Nkaissery so that a by-election could be held in Kajiado Central and knowing so well that with state machinery, TNA is likely to capture the seat and make the region 100pc TNA zone.
Uhuru and Jubilee now claim that although he beat Cord candidate Raila Odinga with a slim majority in Kajiado county in the presidential race, the wind has since changed direction and is now blowing favourably towards the TNA direction.
During the 2013 elections, in Kajiado County, Uhuru garnered 138,851 votes against Raila’s 117,856 votes. Statistically, the county is torn right in the middle between Jubilee and Cord. Now with Nkaissery almost through with the appointment, the battle ground now shifts to getting a suitable if not better replacement to represent the Kajiado Central people.
This is where Uhuru and TNA are now directing their energies and as things stands now, all indications are that majority of Kajiado Central residents have tactically moved from ODM to TNA and are likely to vote for Uhuru’s preferred candidate in the by-election.
During the last election, Nkaissery won the seat on ODM ticket after he garnered 17,332 votes against his closest challenger Patrick Tutui of TNA who garnered 8,456 votes. Others were Elijah Kenchory of KNC (7,565), Stephen Lukeine of URP (2,856).
But according to ODM leaders, the by-election is not up for grabs but a preserve of ODM but sources from the ground now say that Nkaissery was voted for overwhelmingly as a candidate and not because of the party. They further say that apart from him, all the MCAs from Kajiado Central were elected on TNA and URP tickets.
It is also worth noting that the Kajiado Governor David Nkedianye has also been meeting resistance from majority of MCAs at the county assembly. In order to survive politically, he has of late shifted allegiance from ODM to TNA so as to get the support of the county assembly where there is only one ODM MCA.
TNA further claims that even Nkedianye was voted for as a person and not because of Cord. He garnered 125,563 votes against Daniel Nina of URP who got 95,526 votes and Moses Par of DP (14,042). In the senatorial race, TNA won through Peter Mositet after he garnered 143,703 votes, Simon Peter of GNU (69,574) and Solomon Kinyanjui of
WDM-K got 45,054 votes.
It is also important to note that apart from Nkaissery, Jubilee won the rest of the parliamentary seats in the county. The Kajiado East seat was won by Peris Tobiko (TNA), Kajiado West by Moses ole Sekuda (TNA) and in Kajiado North TNA’s Joseph Manje romped home.
For the Kajiado women rep, TNA won through Mary Yiane who garnered 123,455 votes, Gladys Wambui of Safina (2,484), Ann Tibiko of Pick (4,687), Dorothy Mashipei of URP (43,185), Emily Kiparki of ODM (79,499) and Jennifer Sikinani of NVP (2,038). 
But even as the lobbying for Nkaissery replacement takes shape, it is evidently clear that TNA is likely to grab the seat. Last week, Kajiado County Assembly backed the nomination of Nkaissery and surprisingly the debate turned into drumming up support for Kajiado Central residents to vote for TNA in the by-election.
Shockingly, even the only ODM MCA in Kajiado assembly Peter Pariken (Magadi) abandoned his party and thanked the president for appointing Nkaissery and vowed to support the TNA candidate in the by-election.
But even as Jubilee boasts of tyranny of numbers in the house, ODM is warning Jubilee that they could pull a surprise and reject Nkaissery’s nomination. Reports now emerge that ODM together with some civil organisations plans to block his appointment following reports that he has been adversely mentioned in Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission report which accused him of gross human rights violations in connection with a 1984 military operation in West Pokot county.
But Nkaissery in a quick rejoinder has denied the charges, saying he was carrying out an authorised disarmament operation in a lawless region, an operation authorised by the National Security Council headed by then President Moi. Jubilee now fears that the report on the disarmament operation by the TJRC casts a shadow on the nomination for it had recommended that Nkaissery be investigated and possibly prosecuted over his role in Operation Nyundo.
Nkaissery, then an army major, is among the senior military officers the TJRC accused of gross violations of human rights, including torture, sexual violence and murders. He also is also accused of having sold thousands of cattle and transported them in army vehicles to Kitale, Eldoret, Nakuru and Nairobi.
The report reveals that the operation ordered by President Daniel Moi between 1982 and 1984 was a major undertaking to disarm the Pokot community. The report says more than 50 security operations have been conducted in the region but none were as devastating as the one in Lotirir, which resulted in a massacre.
Helicopters were used for about six months to locate cattle rustlers and stolen cattle and to search for arms caches.
“It is from the sound of the helicopters, Lotiriri, that the massacre that followed got its name. During this massacre, many people are said to have been brutally killed and many injured by the state security agents carrying out the operation,” the report states.
But Jubilee top brass together with Maasai political leaders and professionals have defended him saying he could not be accused of committing a crime while leading an operation ordered by the National Security Council chaired by then President Moi. He has also disputed that there were killings.
Back to the by-election, legislators from the Maasai community have promised to reward Uhuru with the Kajiado Central parliamentary seat after he nominated  Nkaissery to the position of cabinet secretary for Interior. The leaders commended President Kenyatta for opting to ignore party lines by nominating Nkaissery, who is from ODM.
“I want to take this opportunity to guarantee our beloved president that the next MP for Kajiado Central will come from his party, which one is the only thing that we can do to ensure that we say thank you in a big way to him. The next MP for Kajiado Central will not come from ODM but from TNA,” said Lati Lelelit, the Samburu West MP. “We have concluded the issue of ODM in Kajiado, I think it will be no more and we will guarantee that we will deliver this seat through the TNA party,” stated Tobiko.
TNA has now told ODM to brace for a contest as they rejected demands that ODM should be allowed to retain the seat unopposed because Uhuru poached Nkaissery who was elected as Kajiado Central MP on an ODM ticket.
Raila had last week demanded that ODM should not be subjected to nominations and elections, adding that they should be given a free hand in producing a candidate to run unopposed to replace Nkaissery but TNA says that any seat that falls vacant should be filled through the people’s vote so they can express their will and not the other way Raila wants.
As to whether TNA will capture the seat, only time will tell and it will be a big political test for both Uhuru and Raila ahead of 2017 elections. It is said Uhuru is now busy reorganising TNA and now has his eyes set in Narok county.
In Narok county, URP won more seats than TNA. For the women reps seat, 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.