The Ameru community in Isiolo has rolled out a series of unity meetings as they seek to clinch several elective seats in the August polls.
Several leaders from the community have declared interest in the Isiolo North MP, woman rep and two MCA seats as they seek to collaborate with other communities.
The community faces an uphill task in deciding who between businessman Mwenda Thuranira and peace and education activist Lucy Mworia should run for Isiolo North MP.
One faction of the elders supports the latter, citing her vast experience. The other group is calling for fresh blood, favouring Mr Thuranira.
Six Ameru MCA aspirants in Wabera ward and over 20 others in Bulapesa are presenting themselves to voters, limiting their chances of victory.
The Nation is reliably informed that leaders’ meetings also seek to bring together politicians who do not see eye to eye, such as Ms Mworia and Mr Thuranira, so that they can bury their differences for the interests of the community.
The first meeting was held in Isiolo town last Saturday and brought together young people, women and men from Bulapesa and Wabera wards.
The main agenda was putting the house in order and agreeing on the seats, with a focus on the Isiolo North MP’s seat.
With nearly 10,000 votes, the Ameru have better chances of clinching the MP’s seat as long as they bring on board other minority communities, who have about 5,000 votes, and religiously put their votes in one basket.
To ensure that minority ethnic groups back their candidate, speakers at the event said the community must be willing to support the others for other positions.
Agree on one candidate
Elders asked candidates vying for the same position to agree on who should be supported or they will intervene and decide for them.
Mzee Lazaru Ithang’atha asked politicians from the community to respect each other and work together for their people’s good.
“Our work is to offer the community guidance and advice,” he said.
During the meeting, it was proposed that a team of at least 50 youth, 50 women and elders’ representatives oversee the vetting process.
Mr Moses Miriti, a youth leader, said young people and women should be involved in the community’s decision-making.
“We should all put aside our differences, unite and rally behind those who are picked for various seats,” said Mr Miriti, the Isiolo County boda boda operators chairman.
Screening and negotiation
If the politicians fail to agree, said Mr Ignatius Chabari, elders will take them through a thorough screening and negotiation process to ensure only one survives to the ballot.
“We have agreed (as a community) to work together with other like-minded communities to achieve our ambitions,” he told journalists after the meeting.
The leaders said the community will no longer be used as a swing vote to help other communities rise to power, urging those they had previously supported to reciprocate.
Elders Francis Gitonga and Paul Mugambi, of the Ameru Turiamwe group, asked young people to register as voters and take part in the coming elections.
“That is the only way to achieve our political ambitions,” Mr Mugambi said.