Top Stories / 2017 Elections
Friday, 27 Jan 2017 11:24 EATamboleokata@gmail.com
As the August general elections draw near, politicians have undoubtedly started making political deals that will suit them best before and after the polls. In Nakuru County, the issue of tribe is heavily coming into play and it is actually playing a crucial role in determining who runs for which seat and who doesn't.
The issue of negotiated democracy is likely to come into play in Nakuru County in this election if what is happening is anything to go by. Nakuru county is politically dominated by two major tribes (Kikuyu and Kalenjin) with the kikuyu being much larger than the latter. In the 2013 elections there was an agreement that Kikuyus get the governor's position and Kalkenjins the deputy governor's. This saw the coming in of Joseph Ruto ,a retired educationist as the deputy governor while Kinuthia Mbugua was elected as the county chief executive officer.
A majority of the elective positions went to the Kikuyu community, thanks to their vast numbers but this time round the Kalenjin community seems determined to have what they call a fair share of the county elective positions. To this end, the community through its Council of Elders are pushing for a 'negotiated democracy' where the women representative's position will be reserved for the community.
Through the Kalenjin Council of Elders, the community argues that since the governor, the senator and majority of members of parliament will be or are from the Kikuyu community, then the community should willingly let go the women representative's position which they want filled by someone from the Kalenjin community.
Led by former KANU strongman Wilson Leitich, the community on Wednesday through its Council of Elders allegedly endorsed Nakuru County Assembly Speaker Susan Kihika to run for the senator position and asked a return of the favour where their daughter nominated Senator Liza Chelule will get backing from the Kikuyu community for the women representative's position.
The endorsement is already causing friction and resistance within political circles in the county. Some Kikuyu aspirants who are angling for the position of the women representative feel that the people of Nakuru should be allowed to exercise their democratic rights of electing the people of their choice without being forced into acting in certain ways to please certain quarters.
Word has it that Ms Chelule has the backing of deputy president William Ruto and a section of politicians in the county but those opposed to the negotiated and forced democracy argue that she should fight it out with her opponents at the ballot. “Whoever will be elected as a women representative will not be elected to serve one community but she will be there to serve the people of Nakuru and therefore saying that the seat should be a preserve of a certain community is misleading,'' said one aspirant.
Ms Chelule will be running on a Jubilee Party ticket like will be a host of other aspirants but as things appear some of the aspirants might have no option but to quit the race and support her or run on different parties or as independents.
The Nakuru county women representative's position has so far attracted several aspirants including the incumbent Mary Mbugua, Rev Zipporah Kimani, Purity Muritu, Grace Kibuku among others who will be running on a Jubilee Party ticket and Grace Karuga who will be running on a KANU party ticket.
Some say that forcing Chelule on Nakuru voters might backfire on the jubilee party despite its dominance in the county. Ms Chelule is popular among her Kalenjin community but she might be a hard product to sell to the Kikuyus owing to her low political profile. The Kikuyus might feel deprived of their democratic right to elect a person of their choice as their next women representative.
The writer is contributing reporter for the Kenya Free Press based in Nakuru County