Opinion Politics

Quarrel over spoils: How Lenku, Masiaya enmity arose

The leadership of Iloodokilani called for a meeting with the governor to protest the choice of candidate but the governor, for reasons best known to him, would have none of it

By Raphael Kaai

It is now public knowledge that there is a grave rift between the Magadi Ward representative, Joseph Masiaya, and the county boss, Joseph ole Lenku. Most people think the disagreement between the two leaders resulted from the opposing positions they took inthe brawl between the county boss and Tata Chemicals.

Let me take you back a little bit to a period when the relationship between the two leaders was “hot and sweet”:when Jubilee was a word that represented all things good and glamorous. Lenku was first introduced into Magadi Ward by Masiaya when Uhuruto was the song of the day. After the gruelling campaign period came the victoryofthe Jubilee party and both the county boss and the Magadi Ward chief got what they had worked so hard to achieve.

Now that the hard part was over, it was time to share the spoils of war and the governorpromised to give the Iloodokilani sub-tribe the position of a CECM. Everybody was so happy and merry about the “what”,but when it came to the “who”, all hell broke loose. After pointing out the reward to the people of Magadi, the good governor had the final word on whom to bestow the honourupon, and it happened to be one Esther Somoire, the current CECM for Health.

After the news broke, the leadership of Iloodokilani called for a meeting with the governor to protest the choice of candidate but the governor, for reasons best known to him, would have none of it.

The outcome of this meeting gave birth to a number of things,the main one being mistrust between the governor and the Magadi Ward MCA. It also resulted in bitter rivalry between Somoire and Masiaya. The standoffsoon snowballed to an extent where the CECM was directly acting as the MCA for Magadi Ward, with the blessings of the county boss.

Matters deteriorated to the extent of the governor completely locking out the MCA from any involvement in all projects carried out by the county. These actions stoked anger among the electorate of Magadi Ward, who claimed that their MCA was being undermined by the governor,with the CECM running the show.This was unacceptable in the eyes of the same people who elected Ole Lenku courtesy of Masiaya.

As the supremacy battle got underway, thegovernor opened a new battlefront, where he was seeking to recover an estimatedKsh17billion worth of accruedland rates from the giant ash mining company based in Magadi. The matter soon moved to the corridors of justice.

In his bid to win this battle, the governor resorted to mobilising the people to heat up the debate and hopefully force the company to either pay up or give up idle community land under itsoccupation. Meanwhile, Masiaya, the area MCA,found himself in the middle of this increasingly bitter struggle.

Even though both leaders were in agreement on the need to recover rates and land from Tata,they simply could not agree on how to go about it. The governor opted to shut down the plant and cripple all operations until they agreed to his demands.

On his part, the MCA refused to go the sabotagerouteand in his defence,he stated that if the plant gets shut down, itwas the people of Magadi who would suffer. Tata is a source of livelihood for more than 1,000 families living in MagadiWard.

Raphael Kaai is the Organising Secretary of the Kajiado County Youth Alliance

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