Inside Politics

Tolgos, Kigen in war of words over Azimio campaign

Monday, December 20th, 2021 01:14 | By
Elgeyo Marakwet Governor Alex Tolgos.

A supremacy war is looming in the Rift Valley over the control of the Azimio La Umoja movement programmes in the vast region.

People Daily has learnt of behind-the-scenes battles centred on who should have a bigger say on the movement led by ODM leader Raila Odinga.

The fight pits perennial supporters of the former premier and those perceived to be new entrants in his camp. This has played out openly in the North Rift where Elgeyo Marakwet Governor Alex Tolgos has clashed with veteran ODM member Micah Kigen who accuses the latter of superintending Azimio activities without their blessings.

Tolgos, a two-term governor, is fairly new in the opposition camp although he has taken a more influential role in programmes promoted by President Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila in the region.

He was a close confidante of Deputy President William Ruto in the first term but fell out with him after the handshake between the President and Raila in 2018. With his support of the handshake, he won himself a leading role in promoting the Building Bridges Initiative in the region.

Those who have supported Raila since 2007, when he was overwhelmingly voted for by the region, now feel the new entrants were opportunists seeking to reap from their many years of sacrifice.

In an interview yesterday, Kigen, the ODM North Rift chairman, who is eyeing the Keiyo South parliamentary seat, said Tolgos must respect those he found in the political camp.

“He should not take advantage of his governorship. How can one person call the shots? ODM is gaining popularity in the region but it should not be a one man show,” Kigen told People Daily.

House owners

“He is welcome but he should come in with decorum as the house has its owners,” added the politician who will face off with the incumbent Daniel Rono.

But Tolgos yesterday dismissed claims he was running Azimio programmes single-handedly.

He said he had worked with everyone interested to popularise the movement saying Kigen’s utterances were meant to distract him.

“You cannot tell someone you should not support Baba this way or that. I have decided to support him and will do so fully. I do not really want to engage with him because he is politically immature and a distraction to our Azimio programmes,” he said.

Tolgos held a prominent role in organizing the Azimio la Umoja event in Eldoret in October.

In Trans Nzoia, a contest over who should lead the Azimio is shaping up with the entrance of the leaders of the newly launched Democratic Action Party-Kenya who are set to face off with ODM supporters in the county.

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