Governor Tunai, MP Johana Ngeno reconcile at meeting with DP Ruto

Narok Governor Samuel Tunai (Left) Deputy President William Ruto (Centre) and Emurrua Dikir MP Johanna Ngeno in Nairobi on May, 9, 2022

Photo credit: Courtesy | DPPS

The unity of Deputy President William Ruto's United Democratic Alliance (UDA) party in Narok, long jeopardised by a row between the governor and an outspoken legislator, may no longer be an issue after the two local leaders reconciled.

Cracks had emerged in the Kenya Kwanza coalition after Governor Samuel Tunai and Emurua Dikirr MP Johana Ngeno clashed last month over the recent UDA primaries.

Mr Ngeno had accused Mr Tunai of supporting his rival David Keter in a race won by the latter.

The duo had also been political rivals before the 2017 General Election but reconciled, though Mr Ngeno stirred up a debate later by vowing to uplift his Kipsigis community from Mr Tunai's “bondage”.

The two on Tuesday morning were reported to have been 'summoned' to DP Ruto's residence in Karen, Nairobi, where they reached a truce.

Narok Governor Samuel Tunai at an event at Ilmootiok

Photo credit: Robert Kipklagat | Nation Media Group

According to the MP's insiders, who spoke with the Nation on the condition of anonymity for fear of intimidation, Mr Ngeno was upset about Mr Tunai's 'interference’ in recent nominations.

"Mr Ngeno wondered how he was the only MP subjected to nominations yet all other UDA aspirants in the six constituencies were handed a direct ticket," one source said.

Mr Ngeno won the April 14 nominations by 14,381 votes against Mr Keter's 8,943 in the hotly contested race.
Mr Ngeno's rivalry with Governor Tunai was long-standing.

In 2015, Mr Ngeno teamed up with Patrick Ntutu, then the Narok West MP, Moitalel ole Kenta (Narok North), and Korei Lemein (Narok South) to hold a demonstration against the Tunai administration.

As part of the reconciliation deal, Mr Ngeno is said to be pushing for UDA to compel Mr Keter, who is said to be planning to run as an independent candidate, to drop his bid in his favour.

Mr Tunai and Mr Ngeno met for the first time on Tuesday at a Narok hotel during a meeting of UDA aspirants.

Emurua Dikirr MP Johanna Ng’eno 

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

At the height of the 2017 campaigns, the duo almost came to blows when Mr Ngeno questioned Mr Tunai over the poor state of healthcare in the county.

This year, their rivalry had put the UDA team in disarray as they planned to face off with the Orange Democratic Movement team in August 9 polls.

The outspoken MP, however, declined to comment on the reconciliation matter, saying talks were at initial stages.

Mr Ngeno, who took the political fight to Mr Tunai's Kilgoris backyard, vowed to mobilise his Kipsigis community against Mr Tunai's senatorial bid.

"I want to release my community from Mr Tunai's bondage. Our people should cease being used as conduits of mismanagement," Mr Ngeno had vowed.

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