Sunkuli brothers to face off for the Narok Senate seat

Saturday March 24 2012

Mr Andrew Sunkuli. Photo/FILE

Mr Andrew Sunkuli. Photo/FILE 

By JULIUS SIGEI [email protected]

A bruising political battle for the Narok Senate seat is in the offing with two brothers vowing to fight it out in the next elections.

Nairobi-based publisher Andrew Leteipa ole Sunkuli will be up against his elder brother, former Internal Security minister Julius ole Sunkuli, who is currently Kenya’s ambassador to China.

Neither is willing to step down in favour of the other.

Initially, the contest was shaping up as a two-horse race between the younger Sunkuli and former Tourism minister Stephen ole Ntutu, who has also declared his interest in the seat and has hit the road running.

The older Sunkuli had earlier declared he would seek the governor’s seat but took his brother by surprise when he flew into the country in January and announced he, too, would run for the Senate seat.

“Attempts to prevail upon one of them to step down for the other have failed, but we are still trying,” said Narok county councillor Johnson ole Tompoiya, who is involved in the talks.

A fierce fight for the seat among Ambassador Sunkuli and Mr Ntutu, both veteran politicians, and the younger Sunkuli, who has relatively little experience in elective politics, promises to make the latter’s bid a difficult one.

The younger Sunkuli is banking on the youth vote and has been traversing the vast county in a helicopter dropping off goodies since the beginning of the year.

He has reportedly ordered his own helicopter from Canada.

“Some people say that the senator’s seat is for old people, but this is a leadership position which requires energy and zeal,” he told morans at Siyapei last Thursday.

Mr Ntutu enjoys the support of the Kipsigis in Narok South, though this appeared to change early this month with allegations that he had influenced the choice of boundaries of the proposed Narok West constituency.

The Kipsigis were concerned that by being divided down the middle between Narok South and West constituencies, they would continue to be marginalised as it would be difficult for them to produce an MP on either side.

Mr Ntutu has since denied he had anything to do with the boundaries, saying all he did was to give the community’s views during Interim Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IIEBC) hearings.

Ambassador Sunkuli seeks to take advantage of a pre-election memorandum of understanding which “shared out” county positions between Transmara and Cismara (Narok) sides of Narok county.

More than 300 opinion leaders met at the African Hope Hall in Narok town in January and reached a “consensus” to give Narok governor’s seat and Transmara the senator’s seat.

Some said the decision was informed by the fact that Narok generates more resources because of controlling a larger chunk of the Maasai Mara Game Reserve and having large wheat fields and more livestock.

But a section of leaders immediately denounced the arrangement, saying it was tantamount to circumventing democracy and would marginalise certain regions.

Those aspiring to the gubernatorial position led by Seasons chief executive Talengo ole Kiptunen have cautioned against the idea of communities in multi-ethnic counties apportioning seats by acclamation.

Mr Kiptunen called for intensive civic education to enable voters elect leaders on merit, irrespective of their ethnicity.

Other aspirants, banker John Konchellah and businessman Kuntai Tunai also opposed the MoU. (READ: Narok's political landscape)