What you need to know:
- Now, area leaders led by Kanu nominated MCA Elijah Kasheusheu, want Prof Lonyangapuo to resign from the party for disrespecting and insulting top party leadership.
A political battle for West Pokot—seen as independence party Kanu’s last frontier—is fast gaining pace with Deputy President William Ruto, Baringo senator Gideon Moi, and area governor John Lonyangapuo pulling in different directions.
On Saturday, Dr Ruto addressed four rallies in the region, marketing United Democratic Alliance (UDA) as the Hustler nation party that will carry the day in the 2022 General Election.
In the visit, the DP dismissed a bid by Prof Lonyangapuo and Pokot South MP David Pkosing to start a party for the region, to accommodate the Pokot community, saying it was a bad idea.
This, even as Prof Lonyangapuo is still in a fight with Kanu over its treatment of the county that he says has the highest representation of Kanu elected leaders than anywhere else in the country, including neighbouring Baringo where Senator Moi comes from.
Besides Prof Lonyangapuo who was elected on a Kanu ticket, the independence party also carried the Senate seat won by current Majority Leader Samuel Poghisio and 14 of the 33 members of the county assembly, same as President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Jubilee.
Trouble for Kanu in West Pokot started last year when the party moved to expel four nominated MCAs, a move that angered Prof Lonyangapuo.
“You have pressed on the wrong button. Let's meet with them in 2022. Gideon and Salat are after finishing Kanu in West Pokot. We did campaigns for Kanu using all our resources to get our leaders and nominations. We can’t have Kanu only on paper,” the governor said.
He said that it was in bad taste for the party he had been loyal to expel leaders allied to him.
“Nick Salat is from Bomet where there is not even a single Kanu person elected on any seat, even in charge of a cattle dip. Here, I am elected on a Kanu ticket, the senator, and I have 14 MCAs. How can he expel my people? How can someone from outside the county come and dismiss my people? This is being abnormal, “said Prof Lonyangapuo over the matter late last year.
He has since kept mum on his next plans, but with Mr Pkosing insisting that a new party by him and the county boss was in the offing, the prospects of Kanu in this county it had one of its highest representations, are getting slimmer and slimmer.
The county assembly has been having leadership wrangles since May last year after a section of Kanu MCAs wanted to change the leadership position of the majority leader Thomas Ng’olesya and chief whip Maddy Polokou from their positions.
Now, area leaders led by Kanu nominated MCA Elijah Kasheusheu, want Prof Lonyangapuo to resign from the party for disrespecting and insulting top party leadership.
“Three camps in West Pokot County are coming out! Politics is shaping I repeat the battle in West Pokot county will be between two teams of Kanu and UDA. The idea of forming a village party is dead on arrival, “said Kasheusheu, who is a close ally of Senator Moi.
Mr Kasheusheu, who is Prof Lonyangapuo’s ally-turned-foe, said the governor should resign and seek fresh mandate.
Also read: New twist as Gideon Moi made Rift kingpin
The nominated MCA told Prof Lonyangapuo to be ready for a fierce battle in 2022.
“Let’s meet in 2022 and we have a gubernatorial Kanu candidate, “he said.
Former Lonyangapuo political advisor Stephen Kolimuk said they have faith in Kanu and they will not be swayed.
“It is wrong for the governor to resort to picketing. He is mixed up, “said Kolimuk.
However, Prof Lonyangapuo condemned the attempt to expel the MCAs, saying the top party leadership should give him space and work for West Pokot residents.
Late last year Senator Poghisio, also Senate Majority Leader, hosted the Kanu leader and a host of other leaders in Ortum for a fundraiser to support over 40 women groups.
During the event skipped by Prof Lonyangapuo, Mr Poghisio said West Pokot was Kanu’s stronghold, questioning the governor’s absence in the meeting attended by hundreds of the party’s supporters, claims the governor denies.
“Kanu is now split because of the bad behavior of Mr Poghisio. We strongly condemn such like uncouth behavior. We must unite to end disease, poverty and illiteracy as we were advised by our forefathers led by Mzee Jomo Kenyatta, “said Lonyangapuo recently.
But the senator, hitting back, said that Prof Lonyangapuo was only playing theatrics after failing to work for Pokot people.
“That’s is the person who should not be taken seriously, “said Poghisio
Kanu has 10 elected MPs; Baringo Woman representative Gladwell Cheruiyot, Tiaty’s William Kamket, Johana Ngeno of Emurua Dikirr, Samburu East’s Jackson Lekumontare, his Samburu West counterpart Naisula Lesuuda, Samburu woman representative Maison Leshomo, Daadab’s Dahir Duale, Mohamed Osman of Fafi and Senator Moi’s elder brother, Raymond Moi, of Rongai.