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Citizen Weekly

Sunday 21 September 2014


A political supremacy war in Turkana county has been going on since the last general elections. The quiet but intense battle revolves around three personalities: David Ekwee Lo Ethuro,  who is speaker of the Senate, county senator John Munyes Litonga and Governor Josephat Kooli Nanok.

The three leaders are battling to have an upper hand and overcome each other in the entire region. Nanok, the youthful governor is credited of being outgoing whereas the other two are accused of having been in politics for a long time with no one among them having initiated development projects worth talking about over the years. Ethuro was defeated on URP ticket by Munyes who ran on Ford K ticket.

Before joining politics, Ethuro and Munyes were working with Oxfam GB. They joined politics in December 1997  general elections with Ethuro defeating Emmanuel Ichor Imara and  Munyes defeating then Kanu strongman and powerbroker the late Japheth Lotukod Ekidor who also served as assistant minister of Land and Housing. After entering the eighth parliament, Ethuro, then a Kanu stalwart was appointed as assistant minister for Labour from 1998 up to 2002.
From 2002 up to 2007 he was temporary speaker.

 Ethuro was then appointed assistant minister for Planning and Development in the Grand Coalition government. In the 2013 general elections he was defeated by Munyes for position of Turkana county governor.

After losing to Munyes, he was elected as the first Senate speaker in the new constitutional dispensation. For Munyes first landed the portfolio of assistant minister for Water in 2002 up 2005 and later became minister for Special Programmes in late 2005 up 2007 the first since independence in the region. He was then again appointed minister for Labour from 2008 up to 2013,  and he was lucky enough to be elected the first Turkana county senator.

Nanok came to the political fore after he defeated the late Francis Ewaton Achuka in the 2007 general elections. He was appointed assistant minister for Forestry and Wildlife. He took the governorship of Turkana in 2013 general elections. Nanok’s style of leadership is said to be different from other politicians in the region. It is as a result of this that he landed the plum governorship slot. Nanok  initiated a round-table meeting with partners and investors in Eliye spring on the shores of Lake Turkana.

 He has also developed projects such as Napeidom AP camp. He was known as Nokia during 2007 general elections because he would buy Nokia phones for communication to enhance security. The move helped in tackling cattle rustling among neighbouring communities of Samburu and Pokot. Nanok while in parliament presented the larger Turkana South. The constituency has been divided into two. Turkana South represented by Lomenen, andTurkana East represented by Nicholas Ngikor.

Also divided was the larger Turkana North which was represented by Munyes and now has Turkana North represented by  Christopher Nakuleu, former East African community member of parliament from 2007 up to 2012. He was defeated by Munyes in 2002 general election. Turkana West is represented by Daniel Epuyo Nanok who was defeated by Munyes in 2007 general elections after he left teaching as a headmaster of Kanguthi Moi Girls Secondary School in Turkana East and Lodwar Boys High School in Turkana Central respectively. Former larger Turkana Central has been divided into two constituencies.

Turkana Central represented by a missionary John Lodepee Nakara and the great Loiman (mount) constituency represented by Protus Aruja. All the new six constituencies are represented by newcomers, although Nakuleu is a seasoned politician due to the fact that, he was a member of EAC-parliament.
From the speaker of the senate Ethuro,  Senator  Munyes,  Governor  Nanok and the six newly MPs, stakeholders from the county  say they should come up with a strategic plan to overcome recurrence of draught that are happening frequently in the region.

Residents feel they should have development masterplan in agriculture, infrastructure, education, culture/tourism promotion, health care/environment and other social services that are needed by the people in the entire county but which remain a mirage. Given the many leaders who now control billions in county and constituency funds per year, the area should be different from what it was each successive year. Being the remotest part of Kenya, Turkana should by now have a network of information that reaches to the population both in urban and rural centres to stop migration and introduce ways for sustainability within their reach in their vicinities like other parts of Kenya.

As things stand now, Nanok is the community political messiah and how he plays his cards will endear him across the country to be a major player on national front.

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