The emergence of former Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph ole Lenku as Jubilee Party’s nominee for the Kajiado governor’s seat has created new dynamics that are expected to shape the August 8 poll outcome in the county.
Mr Lenku, a newcomer in politics, whitewashed former Kajiado County Council chairman Tarayia ole Kores for the Jubilee gubernatorial ticket garnering 88,105 votes against 37,690 votes.
The ticket now puts Mr Lenku at a pole position to do battle with Governor David Nkedianye of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), a well-entrenched political operative in the county.
Dr Nkedianye has retained his Deputy Paul Ntiati as running mate, while Mr Lenku chose Mr Martin Moosisho, 32, a former university student leader.
Mr Lenku outmanoeuvred experienced players such as Mr Kores and other gubernatorial hopefuls Daniel ole Nina aka Livondo and George King’ori.
It is not yet clear if the nomination losers are now fully behind Mr Lenku, but there is an advanced plan to incorporate them so as to ward off Dr Nkedianye’s overtures to them.
Yesterday, Mr Kingori said: “The Jubilee family has not healed from the nomination bruises. To win, everyone needs to be brought on board.
"Jubilee must move fast, otherwise, the overtures by the incumbent can easily convert those aggrieved.”
Of the four challengers, only Mr Moses Parantai has faded off quietly.
Mr Kores has been sulking with his supporters vowing to reconsider their gubernatorial choice.
Mr King’ori has vowed to run as an independent. Mr Nina had earlier decamped from Jubilee to PNU.
“The Jubilee family will be united against the outgoing governor. Inclusivity of those who participated in the primaries is paramount for our win.
"No one should feel like they lost. The bigger battle is ahead,” Mr Lenku told Nation yesterday, exuding confidence he will win.
Dr Nkedianye hails from the Odomong’i clan while Mr Lenku is from the more populous Orokiteng’ clan.
Mr Ntiati comes from the same clan with Mr Lenku in Kajiado South while Mr Moosisho is from the Matapato section in Kajiado Central.
Although Dr Nkedianye and Interior CS Joseph Nkaissery hail from the Odomong’i clan, the CS has thrown his weight behind Mr Lenku.
Of late, Dr Nkedianye has come under fire from some sub-clans within the Odomong’i over accusations that he has “over-rewarded” his Ilmokesen sub-clan on employment and other county goodies.
“Both candidates have sought to consolidate specific clan interests in Kajiado before venturing out to seek other votes,” Kajiado Senator Peter Mositet says.
Mr Mositet avers that although the clan matrix will largely influence how the community votes, other factors such as the populous immigrant populations will matter.
The Lenku scare has re-energised the hitherto docile governor who is now more visible and seems to go for Mr Lenku’s jugular.
To counter Mr Lenku, Dr Nkedianye’s first point of call was in Loitokitok last weekend, where about 3,000 people defected from Jubilee to ODM during a huge rally.
But clan dynamics aside, the significance of immigrant communities who dot the fast-growing satellite towns is likely to determine the winner.
The communities are split in a ratio of 1:3, where the Jubilee leaning are the majority.
When Mr Kores, the TNA candidate, was barred from running in 2013 over questionable academic papers, most of these voters who constitute the small traders, went to the URP candidate, Mr Livondo who eventually polled 95,526 votes against Dr Nkedianye’s 125,526 votes.
The two candidates are currently fighting for this segment of the voters.
Dr Nkedianye has been unable to shake off the tag of being ‘anti-immigrant’, due to punitive measures against small-time investors in the county.
A key area of concern was the allocation of market facilities in Kitengela where locals were favoured leading to violence.
The notable lack of developmental action plan in the towns of Kitengela, Ongata Rongai, Ngong’, Kiserian and Isinya could affect the governor’s performance.
Failure to deal with the sewerage systems and collection of garbage has irked the business community who accuse the governor of ignoring their plight.
“These towns have rapidly grown without a commensurate attention on infrastructure. Traffic jams, flooding and heaps of garbage portray a leadership that has focus elsewhere,” John Kinyua, a businessman in Kitengela says.
“The county government also rubbed investor communities up the wrong way when they stopped the sale of land in the county. The land mess in Kajiado has a political angle that can’t favour the governor,” Mr Simon ole Kipury, a land merchant, says.
To capitalise on Dr Nkedianye’s sour relationship with traders, Mr Lenku has been emphasising his accommodative nature and adopted the slogan that he is “a safe pair of hands”.
“It is about balancing the interests of investors and protecting the local communities. All this can be done through inclusivity as both groups are important to each other,” Mr Lenku told Saturday Nation this week.
For now, he appears to have practically sewn up the Jubilee supporting communities, mostly Kikuyus, who dominate Kajiado North and Loitokitok.
The populous Kajiado North had 101,275 voters representing 33 per cent of all the county’s registered voters in 2013.
NASA VS JUBILEE
Kajiado East, where Dr Nkedianye comes from, had 71,482 voters.
Combined, the Nasa supporting communities of Kisii, Luhya, Kamba and Luo, outnumber Kikuyus.
However, Dr Nkedianye will have to explain the disillusionment the communities suffered after the ODM primaries as they wanted to elect one of their own as MCA.
They accuse the governor of locking their choices out in favour of his preferred line-up.