Mixed signals leave MP Tobiko’s supporters at a crossroads

There has been speculation that Ms Tobiko is warming up to the Azimio la Umoja—One Kenya Alliance and could throw her weight behind the outfit

A scramble is emerging among gubernatorial candidates for Kajiado East MP Peris Tobiko’s strong support base, especially within her constituency, amid mixed signals from the legislator.

The outgoing MP, who lost in the UDA gubernatorial primaries to Katoo ole Metito, has lashed out at Jubilee gubernatorial candidate David Nkedianye’s camp for using her name to gain political mileage. She claims she lost the contest with Metito, and two others, unfairly through rigging of the vote.

In an apparent response to events at a rally in her Illasit backyard, where Dr Nkedianye allegedly received her supporters defecting to the Jubilee Party, the veteran politician responded in a hard-hitting Facebook post: “Kindly cease and desist from using my name to earn yourself political mileage.”

One of the alleged defectors, whose video published by the Kajiado Star has since gone viral, was on record saying, “Peris Tobiko was our only business in UDA, but since she was rigged out in the nominations, we therefore jump ship to Jubilee.”

Ms Tobiko has however moved fast to allay speculation that she could have shifted her weight to back Dr Nkedianye bid. “My allegiance is to the UDA party… I have seen and heard that individuals purporting to speak on my behalf are being used to drum up support for weak and struggling candidates in other parties like the Jubilee Party that I left a very long time ago by choice,” she wrote.

Asserting that no one could speak for her, Ms Tobiko further reaffirmed her allegiance to Deputy President William Ruto.

There has been speculation that Ms Tobiko is warming up to the Azimio la Umoja—One Kenya Alliance and could throw her weight behind the outfit. Even though she will not be on the ballot, her word could have significant impact on who eventually becomes the governor by giving direction to her supporters. Thus, she holds the aces as a potential king-maker.

Addressing mourners at a mass funeral in Masimba recently, the vocal MP caused a stir when she mentioned Governor Joseph ole Lenku favourably, saying he had “the best interest of our community at heart.” She did not give an outright endorsement of her erstwhile political nemesis, however, and said she was yet to make a decision on whom to support.

The MP’s failure to provide a political compass to her supporters is causing confusion and anguish, with rival parties raiding her bloc of supporters for a share of the spoils.

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