Heritage minister William ole Ntimama has thrown his weight behind the candidature of Education Permanent Secretary James ole Kiyiapi who has declared interest in running for president.
Mr Ntimama symbolically chose Isinya in Internal Security minister George Saitoti’s Kajiado North backyard to make the announcement that is likely to reverberate across the region.
“The Maa community is ready to front one of their own for the presidency in 2012 and that is Prof Kiyapi. Nimekutemea mate na tunakutaka uendelee (I have given you my blessings and we want you to continue),” the minister said at a ceremony for Narok North District Education Officer ole Saoinah who had graduated with a masters degree.
He said as the community’s foremost leader his word never fails and that he was confident the Maasai would follow his word and accord Prof Kiyiapi support.
“Prof Kiyiapi has requisite education, enough public service experience and he comes from a minority community,” he said and added the Maasai would no longer sit on the fence as they were marginalised.
Mr Ntimama told the PS not to worry about the outcome as he would have made a point for the community and it (the community) would take care of him.
The minister was, however, careful not to antagonise his party leader Prime Minister Raila Odinga and announced it did not mean he had ditched ODM.
The move ends the speculation he could support Prof Saitoti with whom he has had an on-and-off relationship for decades.
A jubilant Kiyiapi who jumped up and down in excitement at the turn of events, announced he would be resigning his job in four months and promised not to let the community down.
“I will not do like others who go to hotels. For me I come down to where the voters are,” he said.