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Citizen Weekly

Sunday 18 January 2015

Uprising in Maasai politics as leaders snub Uhuru talks

Attempts by Uhuru Kenyatta to reconcile a section of Narok MPs opposed to the leadership of Narok governor Samuel Tunai failed after the MPs boycotted the meeting at State House Nairobi.
And now, the anti-Tunai forces are planning a major rebellion to force him out off office. Suprisingly, as the war rages on, Uhuru and his deputy William Ruto have decided not to set foot in Narok county to officiate a public function fearing of any eventuality.
Of the boycotted State House meeting, it is whispered, the MPs got wind Uhuru and Jubilee leaders wanted to strike a deal in favour of embattled Tunai.
Uhuru  was to mediate to have the two groups  bury the hatchet.
Two camps exist in Narok politics. One is opposed to Tunai and the group that snubbed Uhuru’s invitation include Senator Stephen ole Ntutu and MPs Korei ole Lemein (Narok South), Patrick Ntutu (Narok West), Johana Ngeno (Emurua Dikirr) and Moitalel ole Kenta (Narok North). They have been ploting how to remove him at the helm of the county.
In the State House scheme, the MPs after talks with Uhuru were to be driven to Uhuru’s Harambee House where Tunai had also been invited and to reconcile them with the rebel MPs.
Those backing Tunai to the hilt and have sworn not to abandon him are MPs Ken Kiloku (Narok East) and Gideon Konchellah (Kilgoris), women’s representative Soipan Kudate, MCAs Stephen Kudate (Naroosura), Kuyo ole Kijabe (Kimintet), Wilson Masikonde (Olposimoru) and Joseph Ketuyo (Mara).
The rebel MPs who by the time Uhuru and the other team were waiting for them at State House also held a secret meeting where they allegedly agreed too boycott. They have agreed to donate cows to be slaughtered during the sittings at the governor’s offices that are set to run for days without giving up. Uhuru in his demage control on realising that the MPs were not coming to State House hurriedly sent Interior cabinet secretary Joseph Nkaissery and head of public service Joseph Kinyua to meet the two groups.
The MPs are said to be bitter that Uhuru had taken sides in the saga due to the pressure of his deputy Ruto. Uhuru had promised to conduct investigations against the alleged misuse of county funds when they met him in State House in November. At the state house meeting, Maasai leaders present then almost stormed out when Uhuru started sidining with the Tunui camp.
It has emerged, Uhuru called for cancelling of planned demonstrations inr December.
Word has it, the governor under pressure and with word the politicians were out to distabilise activities in the county reached for president’s intervention.
But even as Uhuru moves fast to save Tunai from being removed from office, a group calling itself  ‘The trusted society of human rights alliances’ says it is mobilising residents to append 150,000 signatures to remove Tunai from office. The group has the backing of those calling for the governor’s removal.
Already, Ntulele town has seen 1,000 people sign.The exercise has been received with mixed reactions. The civil society group claims that Tunai should not continue serving due to numerous misconducts and conflict of interest.
The governor was also accused of practising nepotism by appointing people close to him to hold crucial offices in his government. The group also said that Tunai is the director of Mara Conservancy and at the same time the governor of Narok county which clearly shows that he has a conflict of interest as he is a key player in the collection of revenue from the conservancy.
But in strange twist of events, pressure to reconcile the two warring groups has intensified with some leaders calling disgruntled MPs to leave URP and join other parties if they cannot work with Tunai as they have been compromised.
 Narok MCA wants Tunai enemies to quit URP. On the other side, Olposimoru MCA Wilson Masikonde said it is wrong for them to attack Tunai’s administration, although they campaigned together for the March 4 2013, general election.
The anti-Tunai team has been traversing the county, discrediting Tunai’s leadership. He has defended Tunai against allegations of misappropriation of funds.
Masikonde, the assembly budget and appropriation committee chairman, said no public funds have been misused while majority leader Stephen Kudate said the anti-Tunai leaders are laying ground for defection by accusing the governor of financial impropriety.
But the anti-Tunai MPs in a quick rejoinder said: “We are in URP to stay and fully support Deputy President William Ruto as our party leader”. Senator Ntutu lashed out at the MCAs, saying the true owners of the party are those who elected them.
Among the allegations against Tanui is that he hired unqualified personel. According to Emurua Dikirr MP Johana Ngeno and former agriculture executive member Richard Birir, Tunai has been hiring individuals with questionable character to work in the county government.
They also allege that Tunai has also been employing his supporters to protect his interests. Others claim that despite its financial endowment, the Maasai clans in Narok county have nothing to celebrate. Major county roads still remain in terrible condition.
Other than what the county generates from its revenue, the region, like the other 47 counties, gets a share of the national cake. The locals claim the resources are not equitably shared.
Most recently, Tunai vigorously defended his leadership against alleged corruption claims and hit out at his critics, who threatened to eject him out of office.
He said he was legally in office and denied any misappropriation of public funds by his government. The legislators had also accused the governor of sidelining the Purko community in employment.
A section of Narok leaders had called for Tunai’s resignation over alleged mismanagement of funds as they demonstrated in the town’s central business district.
It is also being whispered that the big problem is on an election pact that was reneged on by Tunai and which they now say has come back to haunt him. Sources say according to him, the pact agreement was that the governor was to pick a Purko as the county secretary.
 Seven Maasai clans in Narok county and among them are Purko, Siria, Keekonyokie, Ildamat, Moitani, Uasin Gishu and Loita along with the Kipsigis community which has elected leaders in the local county assembly.
The Purko community leaders are bitter Tunai is  rewarding Kalenjis and Kikuyus with plum slots in the county.

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