Woman Rep joins list of leaders quitting election
Narok Woman Rep Soipan Tuiya has become the latest elected leader in the country to announce her intention not to defend her seat in the forthcoming General Election after serving two terms.
Tuiya made the declaration on her social media page, saying after serving 10 years in office as a pioneer Woman Representative for Narok County, it was time for another woman to take the post and build her leadership and political muscle.
“To the people of Narok, I am grateful for the opportunity to serve you ... It is a lifetime honour,” she stated.
Tuya had earlier expressed interest in the Narok gubernatorial seat on the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) party but dropped the ambition in a negotiated democracy that saw her support former Labour CAS Patrick ole Ntutu for the seat.
It is said that Tuya was promised a key position in Government if Deputy President William Ruto wins the presidency.
She joins a growing list of legislators who are taking a break from politics. They include Mumias East MP Benjamin Washiali, Ronald Tonui (Bomet Central), Beatrice Kones (Bomet East) and Narok Deputy Governor Evelyn Aruasa.
Also said to be joining the list will be Kisumu Senator Fred Outa.
While this trend is uncommon with Kenyan politicians, the legislators have cited similar reasons for their actions — to pave way for new leaders to deliver their agenda to the people.
“I have had my time and I feel it is time to give someone else an opportunity to try their bit ... I have been in Parliament for 15 years and this is the reason I want to quit,” said Washiali, who indicated he was ready for any position in government should DP Ruto clinch victory.
He assured the public that he was not quitting because of being unpopular, arguing that his performance as a Member of Parliament was above board.
Speaking separately, Tonui and Kones voiced similar sentiments, saying they had accomplished what they had set out to do. Tonui, who has even proposed to push for a legal amendment introducing a two-term limit for all parliamentarians, said the duration was enough for elected leaders to deliver on their promises.
He has, however, not endorsed anyone for the seat, stating: “For now, I am taking a break from politics but will return in future for a higher seat ... I am fully in UDA and support DP Ruto in his bid to ascend to power this August.”
Beatrice Kones, who has since endorsed her son to take the baton, said: “When I say I am retiring, I do not mean I have been overpowered by work. I am simply taking a break to allow others to lead so that I can focus on my private life.”
Beatrice is the widow of former Roads Minister Kipkalya Kones, who died in road crash in Narok in 2008. He was the MP for Bomet and served for only a year. Beatrice’s son, Kipng’etich, ran against her in the last election. She secured 22,796 votes against her son’s 2,410 votes.
Kipng’etich was vying on a Chama Cha Mashinani ticket and got a lot of support from then Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto. His mother was on a Jubilee ticket.
While their opponents are disputing these justifications, insisting that the main cause for them to throw in the towel was poor performance and fear of being voted out, pundits argue this is a game plan. “For Tuiya, her intention and strategy is to solidify support for Ntutu in the gubernatorial race as he faces off with other candidates, especially in ODM,” said Kipkemoi Barsumei.
Barsumei said that while hostility on the ground may be cited as a compelling reason for some leaders to call it quits, personal decisions were also main causes.
“Some of these leaders who are not defending their seats could still be re-elected. When you look at their track records, they are not badly off. To say they are facing hostility is untrue,” he said.
He added that strategies are being laid in some regions where candidates fronted for some seats are facing strong challenges from those in other camps, hence these decisions to drop their ambitions if guaranteed positions in the next government.