Kanu Chairman Gideon Moi has declared he will vie for presidency in 2022 and appealed to his community not to backstab him.
The Baringo senator, in the shadow of Deputy President William Ruto who has a head-start in the expansive vote-rich rift region, yesterday said his ambition is to uplift the living standards of all Kenyans and unite communities irrespective of their tribal or political affiliations.
Speaking at his Sacho home after attending a church service at the African Inland Church (AIC) Tandui in Baringo Central, Mr Moi expressed optimism that he would trounce his opponents if he gets backing from the Kalenjin community.
He promised to transform the country, especially areas that are lagging behind in development.
“I have already made an ultimate decision and I am not backing down however tough the duel is. I am only asking my community to support me in this journey,” said Mr Moi. “If I lose, I will have lost humbly than being despised and if I win, it will play to our advantage as well,” he added.
He appealed to the Kalenjin community, on whose backing his father rode to the leadership of the country and maintained a 24-year stranglehold, to give him a chance to prove himself.
“I am your own son and you had enough confidence to vote for me as an MP for five years and a senator for two terms. We should also walk together to State House because I promise not to disappoint you,” he said.
The Kanu leader said the party would make a declaration on September 30 at the Bomas of Kenya but he did not want to pre-empt what was in store.
“I promise that I will come back home after the Bomas of Kenya declaration next week to seek your blessings because we need to speak in one voice if my political ambition is to come into fruition,” the Baringo senator said.
The battle for control of the vote-rich Rift Valley is shaping up and Baringo County is emerging as the epicentre of the tussle pitting Dr Ruto against Mr Moi and their supporters.
The duo has in the recent past been engaging in supremacy battles as they flex their muscles for their 2022 presidential bids.
Mr Moi’s political rally at his home, which was attended by religious leaders, elders and local leaders, was seen as a move to seek blessings from his community before embarking on his quest to vie for presidency.
And while he put on a brave face, the announcement by Mr Moi comes at a time his allies— West Pokot Governor John Lonyangapuo, former minister Musa Sirma, Ainabkoi MP William Chepkut and a host of MCAs— have defected and all, but the governor, joined Dr Ruto.
Baringo County’s Woman Representative Gladwell Cheruiyot called for unity.
“This region cannot continue providing the stage for political theatrics as we move closer to the General Elections at the expense of the people while other regions are focusing on development. We have our two sons vying for the top seat and that should not cause divisions because whoever wins will be to our great advantage,” said Ms Cheruiyot.
“Senator Moi has gained enough experience to lead this nation and we are urging him also not to be distracted by his political rivals who have already sensed defeat.”
West Pokot Senator Samuel Poghisio said the independence party was united and had entered into coalitions with other parties to form a formidable base ahead of the elections.
The party’s secretary General Nick Salat said they had supported other parties since 2002 and appealed to Kenyans to support them in the next general elections.
Mr Salat announced that plans were underway for the independence party to unveil its master plan to Kenyans.
Ex-Senator Zipporah Kitony said Mr Moi has an overwhelming support from other communities in the country and urged the Kalenjin community not to be distracted by politicians who want to achieve their own vested interests.
The meeting was also attended by Kanu national delegates and other local leaders from the region among them West Pokot county assembly speaker Catherene Mukenyang, Baringo Deputy Governor Jacob Chepkwony, Kanu allied MCAs and other local leaders.
He also challenged his political rivals to prepare for tough political times, adding that he had prepared well to face them in the ballot.
“This journey is not for the faint-hearted and those who feel that they cannot face me, should shelve their ambitions,” he added.