August 9

Senator Moi changes tack to retain Baringo seat

Monday, July 25th, 2022 01:00 | By
Baringo Senator Gideon Moi. PHOTO/Courtesy
Baringo Senator Gideon Moi. PHOTO/Courtesy

Kanu chairman Gideon Moi has adopted new survival tactics as he seeks to recapture his seat in a region considered a stronghold of his political nemesis, Deputy President William Ruto.

Gideon, who only declared his intention to defend his seat in April, has resorted to village-to-village campaigns in Baringo, away from media cameras.

Gideon is the Kanu chairman. He is seeking a third term against a United Democratic Alliance wave that could frustrate his bid.

In the past two elections, he managed to defend his position despite Ruto’s stiff challenge. But this time the field is more competitive owing to his late entrance. This has prompted the door-to-door campaigns.

Skipped Raila function

He has avoided any political engagement that could damage his prospects. Last week, he skipped Azimio leader Raila Odinga’s campaigns in the county despite being the host. Kanu is one of the parties in Azimio coalition and Gideon was expected to host Raila during his visit to Tiaty.

Senator Moi, who is riding on the slogan, ‘Oweku teta konyo gaa’ (return the cow home) is campaigning mainly for himself, abandoning other Kanu aspirants like Woman Representative Gladwel Tungo and Tiaty MP William Kamket.

He will battle it out with three-term Baringo North MP William Cheptumo of UDA.

Gideon is fiercely defending himself from accusations that he abandoned the electorate after he was elected, saying he has done a lot for the people.

 “I have several projects to implement and I appeal to you, as your Towett (last born), to support me in my effort to uplift your living standards,” he said at his Sacho home.

 Cheptumo, on other hand, is riding on Senator Moi’s absentee tag, saying has done a lot for Baringo County.

Others eyeing the seat include Felix Kiprono Chelaite of The Service Party (TSP), Florence Jelagat (independent) and David Kipruto (independent).

Baringo County has over 280,000 registered voters in its six constituencies.

“My opponent is out of touch with the needs of the common man. He has not been around for the past five years. Mine will be to be with the people on the ground,” said Cheptumo, who is serving a third term as MP.

He has promised to set up a cooperative society bringing together all women groups in Baringo County for them to be taking loans at affordable rates.

Senator Moi’s entry into Baringo County politics has complicated matters for the DP-led UDA which was almost sure of clinching the seat.

Senator Moi had early this year announced that he would not defend his seat but focus on national politics but the new development has complicated matters for the DP.

 A section of DP’s allies has scoffed at Senator Moi’s decision to go for a ‘small county seat’ yet had declared that his focus on vying for the presidency.

 “It is laughable that he is vying for the Baringo senate seat now. This is like going up to the university and going back to nursery school,” said Elgeyo-Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen, a close ally to the DP.

Cheptumo clinched the UDA ticket during the party primaries in April this year after he garnered 69,420 votes followed by Isaiah Kirukmet who got 45,681 votes.

Apart from Senator Moi and Cheptumo, others who are eyeing the seat include Felix Kiprono Chelaite of The Service Party (TSP), Florence Jelagat (independent) and David Kipruto (independent).

Chelaite who is a new entrant in the race said that he will push for the economic transformation of the youth and empowerment of the devolved unit

“Our county has many untapped economic opportunities which if well harnessed will turn around our economy,” said Chelaite.

Chelaite regretted the runaway banditry in the region which he said was scaring away potential investors in the county.

“For any meaningful peace to be experienced in the region there is need for elders from the warring Pokot, Tugen and Ilchamus communities to be involved in preaching peace,” said the youthful aspirant.

Baringo County has over 280,000 registered voters in its six constituencies.

 The dynamics of Baringo county politics is that the Arror community, a sub-ethnic group of the larger Tugen community with a population of more than 100,000 usually clinches the Gubernatorial race.  Mr Cheboi and governor Kiptis are both Arror while Senator Moi is from the Samor community in Baringo central.

“This will be a major factor to determine who will be the next senator because if Mr Cheptumo wins the senatorial race, the Arror will have carried all the seats,” Charles Kipkulei, a political analyst told People Daily.

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