April 28th 2017

Top Stories / Counties

Nakuru Town West in election mood as aspirants expect Arama to vacate seat

The Kalenjin community is also laying a stake on the seat, accusing the president’s party TNA of having taken all other seats in Nakuru with the exception of Kuresoi North and South.

By Free Press Correspondentnewsdesk@kenyafreepress.comSunday, 13 Nov 2016 17:43 EAT

Ms Kamuren's campaign poster.

Nakuru Town West Constituency is in election mood as the disciplinary process initiated by ODM against its current member Hon. Samuel Arama is widely expected to end in a by-election. Mr Arama has renounced his party and publicly declared his readiness to face a by-election. As many aspirants visit the highly cosmopolitan Kaptembwa area whose five villages comprise the constituency’s five wards, campaign activists, women groups and informal consultants are making a kill.

The two main parties, ODM and Jubilee, are both optimistic of carrying the day in the anticipated by-election, but the challenge they will face is nomination given the delicate tribal alliances that are needed for a winning formula. According to the recently-concluded voter registration, the Kikuyu community has nearly 27,000 voters in the constituency that has 80,000 registered voters, followed by the Kisii at 17,000. The Luo are at 13,000, Kalenjins and Luyia have nearly 10,000 each. Somalis and Kambas have sizable numbers too. In the last election, Mr Arama got bloc votes from the Luo, Kisii and Luyia tribes.

In the current campaigns, all the aspirants are declaring their preparedness for the 2017 elections, but it is widely believed that the heightened activity in the area is connected to the disciplinary process against Mr Arama. Over ten candidates have emerged so far, among them Erick Ogada, a long-time ODM party activist, Isaiah Ochoki, and Alex Tum who are gunning for the opposition ticket. The Kalenjin community is also laying a stake on the seat, accusing the president’s party TNA of having taken all other seats in Nakuru with the exception of Kuresoi North and South.

The leading Kalenjin aspirants are Franciscar Kamuren, an activist of the defunct United Republican Party led by deputy president William Ruto and John Kitilit. From the TNA side are David Karuri, a Nairobi resident who wants to switch his political base to Nakuru. He has been accused by some voters of lacking residence in Nakuru and staying in a hotel whenever he visits the town.

Others are incumbent MP Arama, who has joined the president’s side of the Jubilee coalition, Charles Maisiba, and Eng. Victor Ngatia, the latter whose campaign slogan is “Making Nakuru Great Again.” Mr Ngatia has been campaigning among youths and women groups and was the leading aspirant from the Kikuyu community before Mr Arama’s defection.

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