What you need to know:
- With two main political camps clearly emerging, the choice is narrowing down to William Ruto’s UDA and Raila Odinga’s ODM.
- The One Kenya Alliance is also staking its claim on the political arena though its principals have not been as active.
With campaigns for elective seats intensifying, the cut-throat contest has not spared blood relatives and marriages.
But it is the passion for Deputy President William Ruto and Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) chief Raila Odinga that is generating the most heat.
Other than the apparent split in prominent families, ordinary households have not been spared either, with younger members not reading from the same script as the older folks.
When Kajiado East MP, Peris Tobiko, invited Deputy President William Ruto to her home in Isinya, it did not go down well with her husband.
After taking the unprecedented step of reporting Dr Ruto and United Democratic Alliance (UDA) politicians to police for trespass, Mr Kishanto ole Suuji made it clear that he did not welcome his wife’s new political journey.
“The Deputy President has no reason to enter another person’s property without being invited. I am hurt. I don’t support what is going on and I don’t support the political activity on my farm in Kajiado county. I dissociate myself with what is going on at the farm,” Mr Suuji, a top official with the Commission on Revenue Allocation (CRA), said.
Mr Suuji’s reaction is an example of how the 2022 politics is causing family tension and division.
With two main political camps clearly emerging, the choice is narrowing down to Dr Ruto’s UDA and Mr Odinga’s side.
The One Kenya Alliance (OKA) – made up of Amani National Congress, Ford Kenya, Wiper Party and Kanu – is also staking its claim on the political arena though its principals have not been as active as the DP and Mr Odinga.
Ms Tobiko’s decision to decamp to UDA makes her family situation even more complicated.
Her brother, Cabinet Secretary for Environment Keriako Tobiko, is a critic of the DP.
Months ago, he referred to Dr Ruto as “the president’s clerk”.
The CS has also been freely associating with Mr Odinga.
The Kajiado East MP says she will battle it out for the governor seat with incumbent Joseph ole Lenku.
The 2022 politics has become a sizzling hot potato that has seen families split.
Nowhere was this clearer than during the Machakos Senate by-election in March.
In the contest was Wiper Party’s Agnes Kavindu Muthama.
On the opposite side of the political divide was her former husband, Johnson Muthama, who was behind UDA’s Urbanus Ngengele.
As the campaigns intensified, the Muthamas’ adult children – Alice and Moses – joined the fray and sided with their father.
They said their mother joined the race to embarrass their father.
Ms Muthama went on to beat Mr Ngengele, becoming senator, a seat once held by her former husband.
She replaced Mr Boniface Kabaka, who died in Nairobi on December 11, last year.
Kindiki family members in Tharaka Nithi county are also in different political camps.
Prof Kithure Kindiki was a Jubilee marksman in the 2017 election and vigorously campaigned for President Uhuru Kenyatta’s re-election.
His elder brother – Professor Isaiah Kindiki – was the leading ODM and National Super Alliance (Nasa) light in Mt Kenya East.
“If it is about my brother, I have no comment,” Senator Kithure Kindiki told the Saturday Nation when contacted yesterday.
There are situations such family conflicts can be costly, as was witnessed in the Kiambaa parliamentary by-election in June.
Following the death Kiambaa MP Paul Koinange, three of his family members came out to fight for the ruling Jubilee Party ticket.
The first to declare interest in the seat was Ms Lena Koinange, who is the daughter of former cabinet minister Mbiyu Koinange, and who the family endorsed.
Then there was her niece, Damaris Wambui.
With time, the widow of the fallen MP – June Koinange – also said she would be in the contest.
The three women were eyeing the Jubilee Party ticket.
But that was not all as family spokesperson Leonard Karuga said 10 Koinanges were interested in the Kiambaa seat.
In the end, none of the Koinanges got the Jubilee ticket as the party settled on Mr Kariri Njama who went on to lose to UDA’s John Njuguna.
In the Juja by-election that Jubilee also lost, the campaign of the party candidate Susan Njeri – the widow of the immediate former MP Francis Munyua Waititu – was marred by reports of her stepson Michael Waititu eyeing the seat.
Locals said he would support a rival candidate if he failed to join the race.
The family later dismissed the rumours and rallied behind Mrs Njeri.
The political split between the Wetang’ula brothers – Moses and Timothy – has been documented over the years.
Even as they campaigned under the Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (Cord) and Nasa umbrellas in 2013 and 2017 respectively, the two have not been in the same parties.
Moses, the Bungoma Senator, is the Ford Kenya party leader while Timothy, the Westlands MP, is an ODM life member.
The split is expected to grow as the elections approach.
As Ford Kenya chief, Senator Moses Wetang’ula is one of the OKA principals while the Westlands MP remains a supporter of Mr Odinga and the Orange party.
There was also the case of Bomet East MP Beatrice Kones and her first born son Kipng’etich Kalya in 2017.
Ms Kones was running on a Jubilee ticket while the son flew the Chama cha Mashinani flag, a party affiliated to then Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto.
Rivalries have not spared prominent families either.
One family had to seek the intervention of elders and people who were close to its patriarch to stop a member from decamping to DP Ruto’s team last year.
While it may not be certain if Kenyans will be treated to the rivalries next year, examples abound in 2013 and 2017.
The Sunkuli brothers – Andrew and Julius – ran for the Narok Senate seat in 2013 and lost to former Tourism minister Stephen ole Ntutu.
Andrew, who was an independent candidate, came second while Julius who had bagged The National Alliance (TNA) ticket was third.
There are reports of Andrew and Labour Chief Administrative Secretary Patrick Sunkuli eyeing the Narok governor position.
Governor Samuel Tunai is serving his second and last term.
Mr Ntutu says two family members in different political camps is not necessarily a sign of enmity.
“That is the essence of democracy. Who says that being brothers or sisters means one cannot choose candidate A and my sibling settles for B? Siblings or couples must be allowed to exercise their democratic right. Politics is competition, not war,” he said.