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Citizen Weekly

Sunday, 1 February 2015

The genesis of Narok endless political wars

A move by Narok governor Samuel ole Tunai to cancel  an agreement entered by Equity Bank  and the former Narok county council on revenue collection in Maasai Mara Game Reserve weeks after he took office marked the starting point of his political problems with Narok county leaders.
However, the move by the governor to win the political patronage and protection of deputy president William Ruto has complicated matters more. The Ruto factor in Narok politics has drawn in Uhuru Kenyatta whose  efforts to mediate and unite the warring factions has hit a snag. Uhuru does not want to annoy his deputy. Infact the president is of the idea that government organs do their work and table an independent report on the said corrupt deals.
 The cancellation of the agreement was one of the governor’s campaign agenda that saw him ascend to the top sit in the county following huge support from youth groups and a section of Narok county employees some who had been laid off after introduction of e-ticketing method of revenue collection by the bank.
The honeymoon did not last long after the new county management entered into another agreement with another company this time Kenya Airports Parking Services to do the same revenue collection services.
The move was seen as betrayal and protests started with call for immediate cancellation of of the tender which was rumoured to have favoured a company allegedly preferred by Ruto.
Narok North MP Moitalel ole Kenta did not hide his anger and  demanded to know the criteria being used to hire officers to senior county positions .
Kenta on several occasions accused Tunai of locking out the Purko clan during  employment of officers despite the fact that the clan is largest among the Maasai community.
The Narok North legislator’s sentiments attracted backing from some high ranking Narok political leaders among them William Ntimama, TLB chairman Hassan Ole Kamwaro and Julius ole Sunkuli.
Tunai’s worst moment during his two years tenure in office came when he allegedly singlesourced a foreign investor to do a more than Sh10b worth of business in 600 acres of land in Narok town.
The move irritated the Narok town residents particularly the Lemanet Group Ranch owners who argued they had set aside the land for future slaughter house and animal holding grounds.
Tunai however threatened to forcibly bring in the investor without further consultation with local leaders a move that bad incensed his critics. At this juncture, the governor’s critics attracted support from the current elected leaders from across the county.
Unaware of the calculated political game the leadership of Narok county split into two camps on one side with four MPs namely Kenta, Patrick Ole Ntutu , Korei Lemein and Johanah Ngeno.
A surprise came when the Narok senator Stephen Ole Ntutu the man the governor claimed to have supported during the last general elections turned enemy.
Senator Ntutu camp which has since threatened the political life of the governor has for the last two months organised street demonstrations.
In between the period, Uhuru had personally attempted to help mediate the two camps with a view to return sanity to the home of the world famous Maasai Mara Game Reserve.
The president requested for 21 days to carry out thorough investigations and give a conclusive verdict on the alleged claims against the governor  but before the period ended the senator’s group was in the streets again with calls for unconditional resignation of the governor from office.
The government did not take lightly the behaviour of the senator and the MPs and took it as disrespect to the president and rallies and demonstrations scheduled to take place in chosen hotspot areas of the county were cancelled.
The defiant leaders went ahead and held a huge rally at Ollololunga trading centre in the home turf of Senator ole Ntutu and the following day the government through Narok county commisioner Kasim Farah ordered the five leaders to record a statement with the CID county director.
The five through their lawyer Martin Kamwaro asked to be given time to prepare the statement and report back.
However the new Interior cabinet secretary Joseph ole Nkaisery managed to convince the warring leaders  after lengthy consultative meetings to institute home made solutions to their problems an agreement that did not see the light of the day.
It took a day long without success for the head of anti corruption commission Mumo Matemu to give his officer who are already on the ground to complete their investigations on the alleged massive misappropriation of funds by the governor.
The standoff between  Senator Ntutu and the four MPs culminated in the Monday demonstration that left two people dead and several others critically injured.
The government had banned rallies and demonstrations in the county pending ongoing investigations but in full defiance the five mobilised their thousands of supporters and attempted to break into the county offices before the security intercepted and running battles ensued leading to death of one and injuries among them Narok OCPD Paul Leting.
The arrest of the five leaders in Nairobi when they went to record statement with CID has turned Narok town to a no-go zone as locals resisted protested by blocking the main Nairobi-Narok-Bomet highway .
Running battles between the protesting residents and the security officers brought business to a standstill.
The residents while shouting anti-governor slogans vowed to to push for the resignation of the governor to the bitter end.
Teargas canisters fired by security officers and stones used to barricade the roads  littered the town.
A resident dismissed the intervention made by Uhuru recently to save Tunai from public humiliation by Narok county leaders opposed to his style of leadership.
However the ever smiling governor  indicated that he is a hard nut to crack and those opposed to him should do proper homework and put in place strategies before they embark on their mission to remove him from office.
The governor has called for factual evidence to prove the alleged financial mismanagement during his two years in office instead of resorting to outdated jungle tactics to oust him.
With the emerging politics in Narok county those interested in various political seats come 2017 general elections have started packing their political bags before they board  their preferred buses to take them to their desired political destinations.
Thousands of  Kikuyu community living and doing business in Narok county have found themselves between a rock and a hard place in the emerging political scenario in the county and are yet to declare their position.
According to the Kikuyu community they voted for Tunai  (URP), Senator Ntutu (URP) as a block in the last general elections alongside Ole Kenta (TNA) Patrick Ntutu (URP) Korei Lemein (URP) and  Johanah  Ngeno on KSC ticket and appreciate that they are all members of the Jubilee coalition.
The major accusation against the governor is that for the last two years he allegedly mismanaged huge amounts of money earmarked for development projects particularly collections from the Maasai Mara Game Reserve, failure to consult with other stakeholders during implementation of projects in the county thus turning the management of the county into one-man show.
Another issue against the governor is unfair distribution of jobs.
They claim that most of the issues raised by his political opponents  are total falsehood meant to deviate his development agenda to concentrate on imagined defensive propaganda.
Those in the governor’s camp include two MPs namely Ken Kiloku and Gideon ole Konchella. Others are the county women representative  Soipan Kudate, members of county assembly led by majority leader Stephen ole Kudate and deputy governor Everlin Aruasa.
Senator Ntutu had allegedly pushed for employment of his two brothers in key county positions one as a county clerk and the other as county assembly speaker but come formation of the county government the agreement between and governor was ignored thus the bitterness and cause of their enmity.
According to an informer in the Ntutu team two MPs are allegedly lined up as possible immediate replacement for Tunai and his deputy should they succeed to oust them. They are Patrick Ntutu (governor) and Johana Ngeno (deputy governor) while Francis ole Nkoitoi will replace Patrick Ntutu as Narok West MP.  Shopping for replacement of Emurua Dikirr MP is in top gear.