Whereas Peris Tobiko (Jubilee) and Memusi Kanchori (ODM), are perceived to be the face of the Handshake team, at the county level, and Katoo ole Metito (Jubilee) leading the Tangatanga brigade, a majority of residents are wondering which side of the divide does the governor belong to
By Jonathan Teikan
It is now clear that political alignments, both at the national and county level, are shaping up.
The line between the divide is becoming distinct by day — there are those who support the ‘handshake’ between President Uhuru Kenyatta and his foe-cum-ally Raila Odinga; while others support Deputy President William Ruto’s presidential bid.
Veteran Kajiado South MP Katoo ole Metito and nominated Senator Mary Seneta were among the first crop of local leaders to openly declare their unequivocal support for the DP, though two years to the General Election.
To many, the move was particularly unusual for Katoo, as he has always been known as someone who plays his cards close to his chest, then reveals his stand at the last minute.
The duo have recently led delegates from their respective sub-counties — Kajiado South and Kajiado East respectively — to meet the DP, in his Karen office, at a time the second in command, is becoming increasingly isolated in government, and his associates being purged from senior government positions or key Parliamentary seats, a move his vocal die-hards allege to be a political witch-hunt.
At the same time, a section of other local leaders, among them Kajiado East MP Peris Tobiko and her Kajiado Central counterpart Memusi Kanchori, are perceived to be the face of the Handshake team at the county level, owing to their presence in numerous meetings held at COTU Secretary-General Francis Atwoli’s Ildamat home.
The home has of late become a rendezvous where the who-is-who in the national political sphere meet to shape the nation’s political discourse, especially touching on the Handshake, the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) and the 2022 General Election.
Some of the prominent figures who have attended meetings at the Trade unions boss include; ODM leader Raila Odinga, former presidential candidate Peter Kenneth, Jubilee party Vice Chairman David Murathe and a score of Cabinet Secretaries.
However, Governor Joseph ole Lenku, who was early in the year, appointed by the President to coordinate BBI popularisation in the South Rift region, has conspicuously been missing in the meetings, fueling speculations that he is not needed by the System.
In an exclusive interview, John Loisa, a Dalalekutuk politician and a close ally of MP Kanchori, told the Kajiado Star that Atwoli and company, have never invited the governor to those “strategic” meetings owing to his past close links with the DP.
He said that though the governor has studiously distanced himself from the Tangatanga brigade, his close allies, for instance, former Kajiado Central MP aspirant Patrick Tutui, and Protocol Officer Joseph Mutunkei, have been attending the public gatherings at the DP’s Karen home.
Mutunkei though in a rejoinder, said he only attended the meeting at his personal capacity.
Meanwhile, sources close to the governor maintain that the meetings being held at Atwoli’s home are ‘private affairs’ that have nothing to do with the welfare of the people of Kajiado, or BBI which are the foremost concerns of the County boss.
“That is a private home, and the owner choses to welcome whomever he so wish and when it pleases him… Governor Lenku and Francis (Atwoli) enjoy very cordial friendship, either can visit the other, and whatever they discuss must not go public,” said a source who did not want to be mentioned, as he is not authorised to speak for the governor.
Other leaders who have been associated with the DP are; Senator Philip Mpaayei, Kajiado West MP George Sunkuyia, his Kajiado North counterpart Joseph Manje, and Keekonyokie Ward representative Moses Saoyo.
The governor and his long-time political nemesis MP Tobiko, both from the ruling Jubilee party, have been jostling in public gatherings, over who have the ear of the Head of State in matters development and key government appointments.
A case in point, was a jostling over who owned the bragging rights for the president’s intervention to address acute water shortages in Kitengela town, early last year, where he directed that Ksh30 million be set aside to ensure that Kitengela residents get water as soon as possible.
Recently, some politicians were appointed to plum government jobs, among them; former senator Eng Peter Mositer (Nairobi Metropolitan Area Transport Authority Board), former Nairobi County speaker Alex Magilu (Kenya Leather Development Council), Peter ole Musei (Consolidated Bank) and Engineer Joseph Nkadayo (Kenya Civil Aviation Authority).
When the news broke, Lenku’s supporters took to the social media to congratulate the appointees, and the governor for “convincing the President to have his people considered for appointments,” wrote Chris Natengena.
Paul Ikayo also wrote: “Surely you are a true son, our Governor. Your good relationship with the national government is yielding fruits.”
However, former chairman of the defunct Olkejuado County Council Tarayia ole Kores, recently told this publication, that: “Lenku was not even aware when the appointees were announced, he heard it in the media just like the general public.”
To justify his allegation, he said when Mositet held a thanksgiving at his Ongata Rongai residence, the governor was not invited and neither was he mentioned by any of the speakers at the function.
Speaking to Kajiado Star on phone, Mositet said, “I was not appointed through any proxy, and I owe my appreciation to the President and not to any proxy, period.”
In a separate news interview, Kaputiei North MCA Joshua Olowuasa said the governor is fully behind the handshake, and urged the public to despise a contrary “misleading propaganda” being peddled in the social media.
More to follow…