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Lenku, coalition lay strategy for Lompo to steer Assembly

GAME PLAN: Azimio will need to overcome its disadvantage of numbers

Lawyer Koin Lompo says should he be voted into the position of County Assembly Speaker, his closeness to Lenku will in no way be a hindrance to providing checks on the county executive

Governor Joseph ole Lenku and MCAs elected on Azimio coalition tickets have come together to push for Koin Lompo’s ascension to the helm of the Kajiado County Assembly.

Local media outlets had reported a rift in the ranks of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) — on whose ticket Lenku won a second term — with at least two MCAs vowing to vote for the candidate fronted by the United Democratic Alliance (UDA), Justus Ngussur. One other contestant, County Assembly Deputy Clerk Kipambi ole Ntele, is reported to have dropped out of the race.

Following consultations within the party, however, the split appears to have been sealed. Kaputie North MCA Joshua Olowuasa confirmed the rapproachement, saying the Azimio coalition was united behind the candidacy of Lompo. “We are discussing our strategy to gain sufficient numbers to make Lompo the County Assembly Speaker.”

A numbers game

To win the seat for Lompo, Azimio will need to overcome its disadvantage of numbers. The coalition has 12 MCA slots against the opposing UDA with 13 seats. They may therefore need to woo MCAs from UDA to support Lompo’s bid. It was not clear by the time of going to press whether they had garnered any support from the rival camp.

In reaction, UDA has sought to ensure its members remain united. The party, through its Kajiado branch coordinator Gilbert Matura, has downplayed reports of divisions as the work of Lenku and clarified that it remains committed to ensuring its candidate wins the Speaker’s seat.

Lompo, an advocate, is an alumnus of the University of Nairobi. He has practised law over the past 16 years in various towns, including Nyeri, Nairobi, Kitengela and Kajiado. The lawyer is upbeat about his prospects to clinch the seat. “We have resolved differences among Azimio members and ensured we speak in one voice. I am confident of winning the seat.”

Independence

Lompo’s candidature is viewed with suspicion by the UDA side, which sees this as an attempt by Lenku to hijack the County Assembly and render it toothless. The county legislators have pointed at the governor’s frosty relationship with the Assembly in his first term, saying he now wants to avoid having an independent and potentially hostile County Assembly that will hold him to account.

But Lompo says his closeness to Lenku will in no way be a hindrance to providing checks on the county executive. “It is the MCAs who do most of the work for oversight and my work is to coordinate their efforts. They also work through various committees. There is no conflict of interest on my part in leading the oversight function.”

Lompo further says he is no appendage of Lenku, saying he has gone out of his way to speak to virtually all MCAs regarding his bid and to garner their support. Voting will be by secret ballot.

Moreover, his many years of legal practice give him a distinct advantage in performing the duties of a County Assembly Speaker. “If you look at the history of parliament and even the Senate, a majority of the Speakers have had a legal background. This should also be mirrored in the County Assemblies,” said Lompo.

Lompo’s youthfulness could also work in his favour. At 40, his outlook and interests appeals to younger politicians interested in breaking away from the stranglehold of the older generation. Considering that almost all MCAs are in their twenties and thirties, his relatively young age gives him a distinct advantage over his opponent, who is into his fifties, in engaging with the Assembly Members. “The youth must have their place on the table, and I am well positioned to represent that segment of our population.”

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