The battle for Baringo vote is expected to intensify the bitter rivalry between Deputy President William Ruto and Baringo Senator Gideon Moi following the demise of former President Daniel arap Moi.
The DP has been traversing the perceived Kanu stronghold — 10 times last year alone — in a bid to woe the region ahead of the 2022 polls.
Indeed, his forays into the region ostensibly to launch development projects have borne fruit, with Mr Charles Kamuren, a former close ally of Senator Moi, moving to his camp.
Mr Kamuren, formerly of Kanu, emerged victorious during the Baringo South by-election on a Jubilee ticket following the death of Ms Grace Kipchoim in 2018.
Jubilee has three MPs in Baringo County: Mr Kamuren (Baringo South), Mr William Cheptumo (Baringo North) and Mr Daniel Tuitoek (Mogotio). Jubilee also clinched the gubernatorial seat (Mr Stanley Kiptis).
On the other hand, Kanu clinched the Senate seat through Mr Moi, Tiaty parliamentary seat (William Kamket) and Baringo woman Representative seat (Gladwell Cheruiyot).
Baringo Central is represented by Joshua Kandie of Maendeleo Chap Chap.
The row over where a public university should be located is likely to aggravate the rivalry between the DP and the senator.
Until his demise, the retired President had differed with the DP and local leaders over where the institution should be located.
Mzee Moi was against calls for Baringo Technical College in Kapsoo, Baringo Central, to be elevated to a university.
The former Head of State wanted land sought elsewhere for the institution.
However, Dr Ruto insists the university should be situated at Kapsoo.
“The retired President Moi should not dictate to me where the university should be located. We want development and just as he built several universities in other regions during his tenure, I will do the same in Kabarnet for the benefit of our children,” said Dr Ruto during one of his past tours.
Mzee Moi was categorical that the technical college should be for the youth who opt to learn technical skills.
The issue cropped up during Mzee’s burial in Kabarak, with some leaders calling on President Uhuru Kenyatta to intervene.
“Mzee Moi’s legacy on education is well-known. However, we’ve been engaging in a push-and-pull over where the university should be located. We should now put aside our differences in honour of Mzee,” said Tiaty MP William Kamket, a close ally of Senator Moi.
The DP seems to have been taking advantage of Senator Moi’s absentee tag to reach out to residents.
“The DP has been visiting us more than our senator whom we only see during elections,” said Mr Nicholas Koros, a resident.
The senator has, however, defended himself against the claims. “My work is not to stay in the county; my role is to fight for more funds to be disbursed to the grassroots),” Mr Moi said in Kabarnet recently.
The senator has also taken the fight to the DP’s Uasin Gishu home turf where he has been meeting opinion leaders and farmers. Last year, he held a meeting near the DP’s Sugoi home.