Biwott and Seii to face-off for senate seat
Posted Thursday, February 2 2012 at 00:00
Two former rivals during the Kanu era will be fighting it out for the post of senator for Elgeyo-Marakwet.
Mr Nicholas Biwott, former Cabinet minister and leader of the National Vision Party and his erstwhile arch-rival Tabitha Seii have both declared an interest in the seat.
Mrs Seii is best remembered for her active role in forcing the Kanu Government under President Moi to repeal Section 2A of the Constitution, introducing pluralism to Kenya in 1992.
When she took on Mr Biwott in the 1992 General Election, many people thought she was out of her mind because of the power of the self-declared Total Man.
Mrs Seii’s activism earned her the anger the of the establishment, leading to the sacking of her husband from the Army in 1983.
According to Mrs Seii, her husband who was a major, was dismissed “for failing to control his wife”.
In her first attempt to run for the seat in 1983, the Kapsabet, Alliance Girls and Makerere University trained Mrs Seii was locked out of the race by a district commissioner who was then a returning officer on the ground that she had failed in Kiswahili.
Mrs Seii recalled, “Standing against Mr Biwott was seen as going against the Kanu regime and for a people who had very little knowledge about their basic human rights and who had been made to believe in the culture of handouts, my activism and the quest to bring change was seen in a different light.
“My Christian upbringing, exposure through education in Kenya and outside the country and later as a teacher, head teacher and working for World Vision, had made me look at things much differently from other members of the community.”
When most parts of the Rift Valley were a no-go zone for the opposition after the repeal of Section 2A, Mrs Seii organised tours with the then Mr Kibaki, then Democratic Party leader.
She unsuccessfully contested Keiyo South in 1992 and 1997 on a DP ticket.
After losing in 1997, she was nominated as an MP by her party.
Mrs Seii served as Kenya’s High Commissioner in South Africa after Narc came to power in 2002 hut she has since retired and is now concentrating on her businesses, mainly in education in Eldoret and Keiyo.
Mrs Seii, who attributes her strength to her family, said the playing field for the next General Elections had been levelled, noting that the people who vilified her during the days of Kanu were now more accommodating.
“That I will be facing Mr Biwott in the next elections for the seat of senator of Elgeyo-Marakwet County is the biggest inspiration to me,” she said.