Development record, clannism to determine future Kilgoris MP


COUNTY POLITICS: Clannism and party politics to shape the race for Kilgoris MP

Mr Tasur has also hit out at the incumbent, accusing him of making a hash of his 15 years in power.

Kilgoris MP Gideon Konchella is bracing himself for yet another battle in his bid to retain his seat in the upcoming election.

Already, eight aspirants have thrown their hats in the ring as they strategise to unseat the MP who has represented the region for three terms.

Mr Konchella, who first clinched the seat in the 2002 election, will be seeking re-election on a Jubilee Party ticket.

Analysts predict that Jubilee primaries will be an acid test for the incumbent, as he is set to battle it out with among others - former Internal Security assistant minister Julius Sunkuli, former director of Rift Valley Water Services Board Daniel Seitai and businessman Joel Tasur.

Mr Sunkuli, who served as Kenya’s ambassador to China between 2008-2012, recently launched a comeback to politics after assuming a low profile in the past five years following his unsuccessful stab at the senatorial seat in the last election.

Mr Seitai resigned in January to try his luck at the seat for a second time, having first crossed swords with Konchella in 2013.

Then in Prof James ole Kiyiapi-led Restore and Build Kenya party, Mr Seitai only garnered 2,365 votes.

The two have, on a number of occasions, clashed over what Mr Seitai termed “Konchella’s poor development record”.

Mr Tasur has also hit out at the incumbent, accusing him of making a hash of his 15 years in power.

“It is clear that Konchella’s legacy is one of underdevelopment. He should retire,” the businessman told the Daily Nation during an interview at his home in Oronkai last month, when he invited clergy to pray for him over the elections.

The duel is slowly morphing into a fight between clans and the two main national political formations; Jubilee and the National Super Alliance.

Mr Konchella’s rivals from the larger Moitanik clan, most of whom are in Jubilee, are determined to pull out all the stops to deny the scion of first Kilgoris MP and Jomo Kenyatta – era assistant minister John Konchella, and his ‘ruling’ Uasin Gishu clan, another term.

ELDERS' ENDORSEMENT

Moitanik leaders are said to be working out a formula to defeat the incumbent from as early as the nominations stage.

After lengthy deliberations, the leaders recently resolved to ride on Jubilee Party’s perceived rising popularity, in a historically swing vote region, to win the seat.

That is probably why Moitanik elders have thrown their weight behind Narok Governor Samuel ole Tunai, the party’s top politician in the county.

By supporting Mr Tunai, who is backed by Deputy President William Ruto, the elders hope to wrest the Jubilee ticket from Konchella.

During a recent tour meant to consolidate his Trans Mara backyard, the elders asked Mr Tunai to only “give the Moitanik the lower MP seat”, and thereafter count on their full support in the upcoming elections.

Mr Tunai, who comes from the minority Siria clan, replied: “That is a small matter”.

On the other hand, Uasin Gishu elders have endorsed Mr Konchella, saying he remains the man to beat come August 8.

In ODM, Mr Peter Morintat, the president of McKay Advocates law firm has also declared interest in the seat.

Mr Morintat, also the Mandela Washington Fellowship winner in 2016, is banking on his legal knowledge to pass good laws for the country.

“My promise to the people of Kilgoris is to ensure transparency in the management of CDF and use the budget process to the advantage of the people of Kilgoris,” he told the Nation.

Mr Morintat will square it out with former senior National Security Intelligence Service officer Richard ole Kelele for the ODM ticket.

Mr Kelele was the runner-up in the same race in 2013, with 18,671 votes against Mr Konchella’s 24,023.

Mr Joseph ole Siparo and Mr Wilson Kipeno are also eyeing the seat, but have not revealed the parties on whose ticket they will vie.