Raila Odinga and Oburu Oginga

ODM leader Raila Odinga (left) and his brother, EALA Legislator Oburu Oginga during a Christmas service at St Peter Nyamira ACK church in Bondo on December 25, 2018.

| File | Nation Media Group

Top political families now seek to reassert clout

What you need to know:

  • The families include former President Daniel Toroitich arap Moi’s and former powerful ministers Henry Kosgey, Julius ole Sunkuli and William ole Ntimama.
  • In Mombasa, members of Governor Ali Hassan Joho’s family have also declared interest in elective positions. 

Prominent political families will once again be jostling to retain their dominance on the country’s electoral map, promising titanic battles with incumbents.

Sons and daughters of the former top politicians have declared interest in various positions and are banking on the influence of their families to clinch the seats.

Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader Raila Odinga and his brother Oburu Oginga are expected to be on the ballot as presidential and possibly Senate candidates respectively. 

The Odingas have dominated Nyanza and national politics since the country’s independence. The ODM chief will be hoping to finally land the presidency in his fifth attempt.

Dr Oginga, who is an the East African Legislative Assembly MP, is considering contesting the Siaya Senate seat “where I am best suited to share my vast experience in legislation, spanning almost 30 years”. 

In Kisumu, Ruth Odinga, the ODM leader’s younger sister and former deputy county boss, will be seeking to dislodge Governor Anyang Nyong’o, who is in his first term, in the party primaries.

Ruth Odinga

Ruth Odinga, who is the Deputy Governor for Kisumu County.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

Also in the race are Dr Oginga’s two sons – Elijah Oburu and Jaoko Oburu.

In Siaya, Nominated Ward Representative Truphosa Osewe – Mr Odinga’s sister-in-law – will be going for the North Sakwa ward seat.

But it is in the Rift Valley where a majority of these powerful families are. There are families of former cabinet ministers Henry Kosgey and William ole Ntimama, for instance.

Other prominent families are that of paramount chief Lerionka ole Ntutu, the Sunkulis and Konchellahs in Trans Mara who have fielded candidates against one other for governor, senator and National Assembly positions in Narok county. 

The sons of Henry Kosgey – who once held cabinet posts during the Daniel arap Moi presidency – have set tongues wagging after declaring interest in different seats using Deputy President William Ruto’s United Democratic Alliance (UDA) ticket. 

Emgwen MP Alex Kosgey now wants to be Nandi Senator.

“I have accepted the call of the people to contest the Nandi Senate position in 2022,” the Emgwen MP said recently.

“I can serve better in the Senate, having been in the National Assembly for two terms.”

William Ruto and Alex Kosgey

Deputy President William Ruto with Emgwen MP Alex Kosgey.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

Mr Allan Kosgey, a lawyer, wants to unseat Governor Stephen Sang. In 2017, he lost the Kesses parliamentary seat race in neighbouring Uasin Gishu county to Mr Swarup Mishra. The lawyer says he has returned home, aiming for even bigger things. 

He blames Mr Sang for failing to improve the economic fortunes of Nandi county, a region he says has a huge potential. 

Mr Allan Kosgey also says the woes in the county government have been made worse by phantom workers. 

“It is unfortunate to witness Nandi stagnate in terms of development due to huge wage bills and hiring of many people unnecessarily. The county government has no development plans,” he said as he declared intention to unseat the incumbent governor. 

The two Kosgey sons have publicly thrown their weight behind the Deputy President, UDA and the “Hustler” movement. 

According to the senior Kosgey, succession politics is at top gear and the Rift Valley must be united behind Dr Ruto. 

He added that former President Moi told him to fill the leadership vacuum until another person emerges.

“When Moi retired from politics, he told the community that he was leaving Nicholas Biwott and myself but I never asked him what he meant,” the former minister said in Lessos, Nandi county, in early June. 

“Something now concerns us as a community ahead of the 2022 General Election. We are lucky to have a relatively young person who wants to be the country’s president. As you vote, begin with Ruto as the president.”
Powerful minister

In Narok, the Ntimama, Ntutu, Sunkuli and Konchellah families will also field candidates. 

Ms Lydia Ntimama and her brother, Tempes are eyeing the Woman Representative and Narok North parliamentary seat respectively. Lydia failed in her attempts to be Narok woman representative in 2013 and 2017. Tempes is eyeing a seat that was held by his father for decades. 

William ole Ntimama, a powerful Cabinet Minister in the Moi and Mwai Kibaki governments and the community “spokesman”, died on September 1, 2016.

Raila Odinga and William Ole Ntimama

ODM leader Raila Odinga with then National Heritage Minister William Ole Ntimama during leaders meeting in Kilgoris, Narok County.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

The other influential family is that of former paramount chief Lerionka ole Ntutu. The Ntutus have declared interest in top political seats in Narok county, setting the ground for a titanic battle with the incumbents.

Labour Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) Patrick ole Ntutu has openly declared his support for Deputy President Ruto, leaving many tongues  wagging. 

The CAS wants to take over from Governor Samuel Tunai who is serving his second and last term. 

He says he will contest the position on a UDA ticket, becoming the first top government bureaucrat to openly declare his support for the DP.

He is expected to face lawmakers Gabriel Tongoyo (Narok West), Mr Korei ole Lemein (Narok South) and Soipan Kudate (Woman Representative) who also wants to be the county boss on a UDA ticket.

Ms Kudate’s candidacy is likely to rattle the populous Ilpurko clan, which will have to decide who among her, Mr Ntutu, Dr Korei and Mr Tongoyo will fly the flag.

In Narok county, development and clan considerations will come into play in the race to succeed Mr Tunai.

In the 2013 elections, the split of votes among members of the Ilpurko clan who contested the top county position made it easy for Mr Tunai to emerge victorious.

Clan and ethnicity will play a role in determining who wins the seat in a county occupied by the Ilpurko, Siria and Uasin Gishu clans. 

The Kipsigis also have a huge presence in the county. 

Early this year, Dr Ruto endorsed Mr Ntutu as the next Narok governor.

His two brothers – Kitilai and Sikona Ntutu – are running for Narok South and Narok West parliamentary seats, respectively.

The family, which produced the first Narok Senator Stephen ole Ntutu, seeks to reclaim its political supremacy. 
Governor Tunai has set his eyes on the Narok Senate seat when his term comes to an end. 

The Tunai family also boasts of Kimintet Ward Representative Kuya Kijape. He is the governor’s  uncle.

Mr Julius Sunkuli was the Internal Security Minister during the Moi presidency. 

His two brothers – Charles (Youth Affairs Principal Secretary) and Nairobi-based businessman, Andrew – are expected to face off in the Narok governor race.

This will, however, not be the first time the family is producing siblings to contest the same position.

Andrew and Charles Sunkuli unsuccessfully contested the Narok Senate seat.

Andrew Sunkuli

Nairobi businessman Andrew Sunkuli when was unveiled by his Moitanik clan and the larger Sunkuli family to contest Narok's governorship election in 2022 in a ceremony held on January 14, 2020 at Poroko village in Trans Mara West Sub County in Narok County. 

Photo credit: Ruth Mbula | Nation Media Group

Julius, who served as Kilgoris MP, has been trying to reinvent himself politically. He contested the Kilgoris parliamentary seat and lost. 

In Trans Mara, members of the family of former Narok West MP John Konchellah, are also warming up for 2022. Mr Konchellah has since died. 

His son Gideon Konchellah, the third term Kilgoris MP, is the family’s political heir apparent. 

His brother, Dalton Konchellah, was in the Narok Senate race in 2017 but came a distant fourth. 

Dalton is said to  be eying a political seat next year but has not given details. 

The other political family seeking to maintain its dominance in Narok county politics is that of former Narok West MP Samson ole Tuya.

Mr Tuya’s daughter, Soipan – the incumbent Narok Woman Representative – has declared her interest in the governor position. 

She is the only woman in the contest. 

Her husband, Stephen Kudate, who is the Naroosura/Maji Moto Ward Representative, has declared interest in the Narok South parliamentary seat.

In Nakuru and Baringo counties, the family of Kenya’s second President Daniel Moi, who ruled for 24 years is also keen to retain dominance in the Rift Valley and Kenya in general.

More than a year after the former president’s death, his larger-than-life stature still looms large.

At the time of his death in February 2020, he had established a “dynasty”, with two of his sons – Gideon and Raymond – holding elective seats.

Gideon is Baringo Senator and the chairman of the former ruling party Kanu while Raymond is the MP for Rongai in Nakuru county. 

Senator Gideon Moi

Baringo Senator Gideon Moi at a past event. 

Photo credit: Waweru Wairimu | Nation Media Group

Less than 11 months to the General Election, Dr Ruto – a political rival of the Mois – seems to have crafted a strategy to end the dynasty.

The Sunday Nation has established that Dr Ruto has devised a grand plan to lock out the Mois from elective posts or their “projects” in the two counties. 

“The UDA plans to field strong candidates in Rongai constituency and Baringo county to whittle down the Moi influence next year,”  a party operative who did not want to be named told the Sunday Nation

“We want to ensure all elected leaders in Nakuru and Baringo come from our party.”

The President Uhuru Kenyatta succession politics is expected to be a critical factor in the Rongai constituency race.

Rongai is cosmopolitan, hosting people from different Kenyan communities. Most work in sisal plantations, with many having bought land and settled in the constituency. 

And as the General Election approaches, more of the Daniel arap Moi scions are said to be eyeing other elective seats. 

In Eldama Ravine, for instance, Clinton Moi wants to be the next MP.

Several people have expressed interest in the seat on a UDA ticket. 

They include former East African Community Minister Musa Sirma, who has been an ally of the Baringo senator for years but decamped to the UDA early in the year. The other is the incumbent MP Moses Lessonet.

For 10 years, the DP has run the show in the region, attempting to elbow Gideon Moi out. Gideon is the last born in the Moi family. 

Recent political changes nationally spearheaded by President Uhuru Kenyatta and Mr Odinga, however, have elevated the Baringo senator and given him some influence in the Rift Valley politics. 

A major battle pitting the two prominent leaders is fast shaping up, with each seeking to exploit the other’s weak points and win the hearts of millions of voters in the vast region. 

From Homa Bay county, Tom Kajwang will be defending his Ruaraka seat in Nairobi as his younger brother Moses – who is the Homa Bay Senator – battles it out to retain his seat on an ODM ticket. 

Moses Kajwang became senator after the death of his elder brother Gerald Otieno Kajwang in November 2014.
Then there is the Joho family in the Coast. 

Mombasa Governor Hassan Ali Joho is almost done with his second and last term. He hopes to land a senior government position should Mr Odinga win the presidency next year. 

The governor’s younger brother Said Abdalla Joho will be making a second attempt at capturing the Nyali parliamentary seat, which he lost to TV journalist Mohamed Ali. 

Their cousin, Mohammed Amir, recently decamped to the UDA on whose ticket he hopes to win the Mombasa Senate seat.

The Wetang’ula is another prominent family politically. Moses Wetang’ula is the Bungoma senator while his brother Tim Wanyonyi is the MP for Westlands in Nairobi. 

Moses wants to retain his seat while his younger brother wants to succeed Nairobi Governor Ann Kananu

There had been rumours of Tim attempting to wrestle the Bungoma governor seat from Mr Wycliff Wangamati. 

Tim Wanyonyi

Westlands MP Tim Wanyonyi addressing his supporters at Kenyatta International Convention Centre, Nairobi where he launched his bid for Nairobi Gubernatorial seat on November 14, 2021.

Photo credit: Evans Habil | Nation Media Group

The Kindikis and the Gachaguas are prominent in Mt Kenya. 

Prof Isaiah Kindiki and Tharaka Nithi Senator Kithure Kindiki – also a professor – have often been the opposite sides of politics.

The former has been an ally of Mr Odinga. The senator was previously  in President Kenyatta’s camp but switched to UDA after being removed as the Senate Majority Leader.

Reported by Eric Matara, Onyango K’Onyango and Walter Menya 


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