Focus on Kajiado: Political heavyweights in epic battle for governor’s mansion

Kajiado governor candidates

Kajiado governor candidates, from left: Joseph ole Lenku (ODM), Ambrose Ng’ang’a Kago (Independent), David Nkedianye (Jubilee Party) and Katoo ole Metitio (UDA).

A titanic contest is shaping up in Kajiado County as two former Internal Security ministers and a former governor battle for the county’s top seat.

Kajiado Governor Joseph ole Lenku, who is defending his seat on an ODM ticket, Kajiado South MP Katoo ole Metito (UDA), former governor David Nkedianye (Jubilee) and Mr Ambrose Ng’ang’a Kago (Independent) are in the race to manage the county.

Mr Lenku and Mr Metito, who hail from Kajiado South constituency, have served as Internal Security ministers.

In the 2017 polls, Governor Lenku, flying the Jubilee ticket, garnered 174,697 votes to trounce ODM’s Nkedianye who got 146,652 votes.

Now, the tables have turned and Mr Lenku is flying the ODM ticket, while Dr Nkedianye is a Jubilee candidate.

The populous Kajiado North Constituency acted as Mr Lenku’s springboard to victory. Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) 2022 records indicate the vast county registered 463,546 voters in 797 polling stations.

Kajiado South listed 69,298 voters, Kajiado Central (63,684), Kajiado East (114,177), Kajiado West (64, 026) and Kajiado North (142,187).

Although Mr Lenku and Mr Nkedienye are in the Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition Party, whose leader, former prime minister Raila Odinga recently endorsed Mr Lenku’s re-election, causing disquiet in the Jubilee camp.

The choice of a running mate could also make or break the candidates. Three of the four candidates have picked their running mates from the populous constituency.

Ngong dumpsite

Mr Lenku has retained his deputy Martin Moshisho,37, from Kajiado Central’’s Matapato clan.

The governor says he has fulfilled 80 percent of his 2017 pledges.

He cites the rehabilitation of the Ngong dumpsite and working with development partners to elevate Kajiado, Ngong and Kitengela towns into municipalities as some of his major achievements.

“To relocate and rehabilitate the Ngong dumping site was a swim against riptides but finally, I’ve fulfilled my pledge to Ngong residents [who] also enjoy the biggest modern retail market in East Africa courtesy of the World Bank and my administration,” Mr Lenku said.

He said he has rolled out various development projects across the five sub-counties in the livestock, education, water, roads and health sectors.

“My administration has also [speeded-up] issuance of title deeds to group ranches. Kajiado residents are more united than before despite their diverse ethnicities,” he said.

However, his critics accuse him of favouring the Maasai and Kikuyu.

Dr Nkedianye has picked Kajiado North MP Joseph Manje as his running mate. He accuses his successor of abandoning some of his flagship projects, including Ngong stadium and Kajiado modern library.

“We want to see proper medical services, clean water for our people and functional county departments,” he said. “We want to collect garbage in towns, ensure street lights are working and non-discriminatory employment to our people.”

Dr Nkedianye promises improved medical services and completion of the land reforms he initiated in his first term. “My administration will seal loopholes for siphoning public money by some unscrupulous employees,” the former governor said, adding, he will increase the ward development fund to Sh50 million.

The long-serving Kajiado South MP Metito has picked Ms Judy Muthoni Naleiyo Pere,32, from Kajiado North as his running mate.

An introvert but shrewd politician who doesn’t like big rallies, Mr Metito has been combing villages and towns meeting organised groups.

He has managed to woo a sizeable number of ward representatives to his camp, especially from the vote-rich Kajiado North.

In his manifesto, he pledges to improve health services, water connection and economic empowerment through the ‘bottom-up’ economic model.

“I’ve a track record as an MP for four terms. I’ll review and abolish unnecessary county taxes and levies for a conducive business environment,” Mr Metito said.

Equality and inclusivity

His administration, he added, will ensure equality and inclusivity in employment, tenders and services.

Mr Kago, a former Kiserian councillor (2002-2007) from Kajiado West, has settled on Mr Robert Njonjo from Kajiado North for deputy.

The immediate Ngong/Kiserian municipality board member said the county needs a leader who will ensure resources are distributed equally to avoid marginalisation of some regions.

He promises to address the perennial water shortages in satellite towns and ensuring that municipalities have autonomy to operate independently. “I seek leadership to correct anomalies by the current and the past county administrations,” Mr Kago said, and to address sewer challenges in towns.

Battle for supremacy

Clan politics and migrant swing votes will also decide the race.

The Lenku, Metito and Nkedianye contest has reignited a battle for supremacy between the Orokiteng and the Odomong’i clans.

The Orokiteng, though superior in number, had not held power for long until Mr Lenku appeared in the political scene in 2017.

The last time the clan called the shots was in the 1980s when former Cabinet minister Stanley Oloitipitip bestrode the region as a colossus.

However, for their exposure through education and inter-marriage with other communities, the Odomong’i, though fewer, managed to dominate the region’s politics.

Mr Lenku’s biggest challengers— Dr Nkedianye and Mr Metito—are from the Odomong’i clan.

TOMORROW: Embu County, where an almighty war to succeed Martin Wambora is playing out.


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