It was a do or die for Cord during last week’s Kajiado Central by-election in which ODM’s Elijah Memusi Kanchory won by 15,662 against the Jubilee Alliance Party’s candidate Patrick Koinary Tutui who got 14,856.
Investigations reveal that apart from clan factor in Maasai politics, several other factors played out in favour of ODM.
First, the by-election which had high political stakes pitting President Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga turned out to be a curtain raiser for 2017 elections in the two Maasai dominated counties of Kajiado and Narok.
Secondly, I have established that the swing votes that helped Mumesi trounce Tuitui were delivered by the Kamba votes. According to voter registration records, the Kamba community in Kajiado Central is about 6,000 votes. Records further reveal that non-Maasai votes in the constituency are close to 10,000 votes.
Keen observers must have noticed that both Jubilee and Cord sent high powered delegation to pitch tent in Kajiado ostensibly to woo the Kamba votes. Jubilee team from Ukambani was led by Nairobi Senator Mike Sonko who pitched tent in Kajiado for a whole week. In his team were Drought Management Authority Agnes Ndetei, Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua and Machakos Town MP Victor Munyaka.
Jubilee had picked on the three to woo the Kamba voters but they failed to win the heart of the Kambas. The three held door to door campaigns but sources say they met hostile reception as Cord seemed to have won the heart of Kamba voters in the constituency.
The Cord team was led by WDM leader Kalonzo Musyoka, Machakos Senator Johnston Muthama, Kitui Senator David Musila and other six Ukambani MPs pitched tent in Kajiado and specifically the Kitengela area where the Kamba community registered as voters.
In one of the campaigns where Kalonzo was accompanied by Muthama, Musila and other six Ukambani MPs where they met with Kamba voters and other Cord supporters at a village of Sajiloni within Dalalekutuk. Kalonzo and his team is said to have addressed close to 5,000 voters.
Apart from the Kamba votes, investigations further reveal that the Somali community in Kajiado is the third largest non- local community in the region after kikuyu and Kamba. The fourth are Kisii and Luo/Luyha a distant sixth. It is this combination which ensured Memusi to trounce Tuitui.
ODM had brought on board Siaya Senator James Orengo and his Kisumu Counterpart Anyang’ Nyong’o to lobby for the Luo votes in the constituency. It is said the two separately met Luo voters where they addressed them in mother tongue.
Senate Majority leader Moses Wetangula is said to have pitched tent in Kajiado and also met Luhya voters whom he convinced to support Mumesi.
ODM Director of Elections Junet Mohammed, also the Suna East MP was the man tasked with wooing the Somali votes for Mumesi. During the campaigns he held several meetings with Somali leaders residing in the constituency. Also in his team to woo the Muslim votes was Hon Abdikadir Omar. The move was to counter the Majaority leader Adan Dwale who had also pitched tent in the constituency wooing the Somali voters.
Following Mumesi’s victory, it is now clear that Memusi garnered the combined Kamba, Somali, Kisii, Luhya and Luo votes with Kambas providing the swing votes.
Analysts say Kamba votes effectively neutralised the Kikuyu vote while the Kisii, luo, Luhya and Somali votes were the winning card for Memusi assuming the Maasai vote was a tie between Tuitui and Mumesi.
Another factor that worked perfect well for ODM is the presence of EALA legislator Judy Pareno who is the chairperson of ODM National Elections board. Pareno is a native of the constituency and was nominated to Arusha by Raila. She is said to have lobbied Maasai women to vote for Mumesi as a reward to ODM and Raila for her nomination.
One factor that has worked negatively for Jubilee is the manner in which the party held its nominations. Initially, immediate former MP Joseph Nkaisery had preferred Mumesi to fly the Jubilee flag but the Jubilee leaders were duped that Tuitui was more popular.
Sources say Nkaisery could not swallow his pride to support Tuitui who has been his political enemy for the last 15 years. During the last general elections, Nkaiessery garnered 17,332 votes against Tuitui’s 8,456. Tuitui was TNA’s candidate. Mumesi who contested on Kenya National Congress ticket who got 7,565 votes and URP’s candidate Stephen Lukeine got 2,856 votes.
Sources now say although Nkaiessery was forced to support Tuitui, his immediate family and clan rebelled against the orders. Nkaissery is said to have been sent to the ground following resistance by some members of his family to support Tuitui but his request met stiff resistance.
We have information that Nkaiessery held several meetings with his family members seven times but he met stiff opposition. Sources now say Nkaissery’s wife Hellen Nkaissery, an influential personality in Kajiado Central politics for years, is among those who had reportedly refused to support the Tutui campaign due to deeply etched political differences from the past.
Elders in Kajiado Central have previously described Nkaissery as being related to Memusi, which could have been the reason behind the family’s reluctance to abandon him for Tutui. Sources say Hellen held several family and clan meetings urging them to support Mumesi and not Tuitui.
The defeat of Tuitui has now spoilt the party for JAP which was the only opportunity for the new party to test political waters. JAP is the vehicle for Uhuru’s final presidential bid in 2017.
The clan factor also played out pretty well during the campaigns. Both Tutui and Memusi are from the populous Maasai Matapato clan with 22,000 voters. Both Tutui’s Orokiteng’ clan and Memusi’s Odomongi clan belong to the larger Matapato clan.
Sources say by the time Uhuru was flying out to Japan and left his Deputy Ruto in charge, political intelligence reports showed that Memusi was ahead of Tuitui.
Cord’s game plan was to pitch tent to reach out to voters from other parts of the country living at trading centres in Kajiado Central, including Namanga, Kajiado and Ilbisil. It is estimated that the constituency has more than 8,500 immigrant voters who are believed to have voted for Mumesi to a man.
Another factor that seems to have helped Cord is the endorsement of Mumesi by the undisputed Maasai elder William ole Ntimama as his preferred candidate.
During a meeting to bless Mumesi, Ntimama said the by-election was crucial because it affects the entire Maa community. “Memusi is the right candidate for this seat. I appeal to the people of Kajiado to heed my advice and give him a chance.” He said these at a brief function at his Narok home to bless Mumesi.
Jubilee must blame themselves after internal wrangles stopped Ntimama from defecting from ODM to TNA. It is also widely believed that wrangles in Narok County where URP MPs and senator were arbitrary arrested by the Uhuru regime was the start of a natural death of URP/Jubilee in Masai region.
Political analysts say wrangles among Narok County leaders and jitters in the South Rift over the formation of JAP could have also led to Tuitui’s loss. Leaders say the formation of JAP, which some local leaders claim was done without consultation, and anger over the arrest of Narok leaders during violent January protests over poor governance could turn tables in favour of ODM in last week’s by-election.
Sources say Senator Ntutu and all the four URP MPs from Narok and other leaders opposed to Jubilee enjoy huge support from the populous Purko clan. And they mobilised the electorate in Kajiado Central to vote for the ODM candidate.
But as Cord continues to celebrate the sweet victory, sources now say that all is not well in jubilee as the party’s top brass are now blaming each other of the loss.
It is now said that Ruto who literally camped in Kajiado is the biggest loser in the by-election. The loss has now defalted Ruto’s stature as the defacto leader of KaMaTuSa clans of Kalenjin Maasai, Turkana and Samburu.
The Kajiado result is a sweet revenge for Ntimama who Ruto humiliated in 2013 by referring him to Vasco da Gama. As things stands now, Ruto and JAP should now count out 400,000 votes of the Masai community off their list.
Raila allies and the Cord fraternity were overheard bragging that the win marks an expansion in Cord territory and confirms that Raila’s 2017 candidature is not only feasible but also viable.
What is now worrying JAP is the fact that they spent huge sums of money including use of state resources but still the Maasai rebellion against Jubilee carried the day.
Cord is also said to have spent tens of millions of shillings in the by-election with majority of the funds raised through a funds drive organzised by ODM’s Director of Elections Junet Mohamed. During the harambee at Nairobi City Hall, Party Leader Raila Odinga contributed Sh1m from ODM and Sh500,000 from himself, Nairobi Governor Dr. Evans Kidero (Sh1m), Kalonzo (Sh500,000), Wetangula (Sh300,000), Homa Bay Governor Cyprian Awiti (Sh500,000), Mombasa Governor Ali Hassan Joho (Sh500,000), Siaya Governor Amoth Rasanga (Sh500,000), Kisumu Governor Jack Ranguma (200,000) and Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya contributed Sh500,000 amoing other contributors.
Other notable contributors were Paul Otuoma, Elizabeth Ongoro, Steve Kariuki; Nairobi ODM chair and former Mayor George Aladwa among others. Conspicuously absent were ODM Secretary General Ababu Namwamba and Party Chairman John Mbadi.
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