What you need to know:
- The Kanu boss’s entry into the race means he will battle it out with Dr Ruto’s United Democratic Alliance (UDA) candidate, Baringo North MP Mr William Cheptumo.
- It is also a further confirmation of the supremacy battle in the Rift Valley region pitting Mr Moi and Dr Ruto.
Kanu Chairman Gideon Moi will defend his Baringo Senate seat in the August 9 elections, the Nation can now reveal. Party Secretary-General Nick Salat said the independence party submitted Mr Moi’s name to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to seek a third term in the Senate.
“Yes, chairman’s name was submitted to the IEBC by the party to go for the Senate seat in the August General Election. The party’s election board forwarded the name but I do not know if it was his will or not, but his name was submitted,” said Mr Salat.
The Baringo senator, who backs Azimio la Umoja One Kenya presidential flag bearer Raila Odinga for president, has kept his cards close to his chest for a long time, having at one point harboured presidential ambitions. Under One Kenya Alliance (OKA), Senator Moi, Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka, Amani National Congress boss Musalia Mudavadi and Ford Kenya’s Moses Wetang’ula had said they would pick one out of them to contest the presidency. However, OKA quickly crumbled as Mr Mudavadi and Mr Wetang’ula joined Deputy President William Ruto’s Kenya Kwanza Alliance, and Mr Musyoka and Mr Moi threw their lot in with Mr Odinga.
Mr Musyoka has since named Narok senator hopeful Andrew Sunkuli as his running mate and plans to make a solo stab at the top job. When Mr Musyoka made the announcement on Monday, he was with Mr Moi. A day later, however, Mr Moi released a statement to party hopefuls, saying he was fully in Azimio.
"We, therefore, remain committed to the aspirations and guiding principles of Azimio la Umoja One Kenya coalition and its mission of inclusivity. And to this end, we shall leave no one behind," Mr Moi said.
Battle for Rift
The Kanu boss’s entry into the race means he will battle it out with Dr Ruto’s United Democratic Alliance (UDA) candidate, Baringo North MP Mr William Cheptumo, for the Senate seat. It is also a further confirmation of the supremacy battle in the Rift Valley region pitting Mr Moi and Dr Ruto.
A major battle pitting the two prominent Kalenjin leaders is fast shaping up, with each seeking to exploit the other’s weak points to win, as they eye control of the millions of votes in the vast region. For the last 10 years, the DP has run the show in the region, pushing Mr Moi, the Kanu chairman, to the periphery, but the recent political changes nationally spearheaded by President Uhuru Kenyatta and Mr Odinga have elevated the senator and given him more influence in regional politics.
The Kanu party is out hunting for the UDA losers in a plot they believe will help them counter Dr Ruto’s wave in Rift Valley.
Mr Salat also told the Nation that the party was determined to give UDA a run for its money, while noting that it will not be an easy ride for the DP’s team.
According to Mr Salat, apart from North Eastern and Coast, where the party has tentacles, Rift Valley is the main region it is hoping for votes because it has fielded a number of aspirants.
“What was UDA last week and what it is today are not the same. Those who were at the forefront defending UDA ended up being victims and their vocal-ness is no longer there. The new people who have come on board do not have the same vigour that the rest had,” said Mr Salat.
The party, he said, is fielding 16 governor aspirants across the country.
“It is for us now to really harvest where they are weak and we have identified the areas … The battleground now is in the Rift Valley and as a party, we are prepared for it,” he added.
He also said that in cases where the Independence party has no aspirant, members will be rallying behind the independent candidates who were disgruntled by the manner in which UDA carried out its nominations.
“Currently, Ruto now is doing damage control and that is why we are reaching out to those who failed in the UDA nominations and very soon, the country will see who we have bagged,” Mr Salat disclosed.
Apart from having money to run a well-oiled campaign, Mr Moi has a party with well-placed structures across the country, has a name which he will be riding on, as well as enjoying a cordial relationship with President Kenyatta and Mr Odinga, which is likely to give him an upper hand in rattling UDA in the region.
After being ousted from power for the first time in 2002 by President Kibaki, the party has become a pale shadow of the colossus that bestrode Kenya's politics for 40 years.
According to Keiyo South MP Daniel Rono, Senator Moi cannot succeed in competing with DP Ruto within and without Rift Valley and his moves are inconsequential.
“Yes, Gideon has money, but he is not willing to use that money. Secondly, he has no ground, charity begins at home, therefore, his moves are inconsequential to us because for us, we have support that cuts beyond the region,” said Mr Rono.
At the same time, the DP has been doing everything possible to dismantle the political empire of the late President Daniel Toroitich arap Moi, the senator’s father, with a view of ensuring that they do not offer unwavering support to the younger Moi as the August elections draw closer.
Mr Moi’s fortunes in the region have been dwindling and now he only has the support of Senate Majority Leader Samuel Poghisio (West Pokot), William Kamket (Tiaty), Gladwell Cheruiyot (Baringo), Silas Tiren (Moiben), Elgeyo Marakwet Governor Alex Tolgos (Jubilee) and Mr Salat.