What you need to know:
- In Maasai politics, clans are so important as they influence on who wins or loses elections.
- Last week, Mr Metito, the longest serving MP in Maasai-land led a delegation of supporters to Mr Ruto’s Karen home
Deputy President William Ruto has received a boost in his fight for the Maasai votes after veteran Kajiado South legislator Katoo ole Metito ditched President Uhuru Kenyatta’s side for Tangatanga.
In what seems to be a positioning spree in the county, Mr Metito’s surprise move is an indicator of upcoming realignments that could shape how the cosmopolitan Kajiado County, regarded a Jubilee zone, could vote in 2022.
MP Metito and Kajiado Governor Joseph ole Lenku have so far been close political allies, having shared a rental house in their formative years but the MP’s shift to Tangatanga is likely to strain their political relationship.
Although both MP Metito and Governor Lenku come from the same constituency, they are from different clans. In Maasai politics, clans are so important as they influence on who wins or loses elections.
Governor Lenku comes from the more populous Orokiteng’ clan while MP Metito is from the more politically suave but less populous Odomong’i.
The pair had made their political partnership an unbeatable combination owing to the inevitable political horse trading among clans in the county.
Mr Lenku, a key ally of President Kenyatta, has remained steadfast in promoting the handshake between Mr Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga, a stance that was cemented by his appointment as the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) point man in the Maa nation counties of Kajiado, Narok and Samburu last year.
Last week, Mr Metito, the longest serving MP in Maasai-land having been elected 17 years ago through a by-election, led a delegation of supporters to Mr Ruto’s Karen home lifting the lid on where his political loyalty lies in the Uhuru succession.
In a calculated hit back last weekend, the Kieleweke arm of Jubilee was hosted at the Kajiado home of Cotu boss Francis Atwoli. Jubilee vice-chairman David Murathe, Kanu leader Gideon Moi and MPs Maoka Maore (Igembe North), Memusi Kanchory ( Kajiado Central) and William Kamket (Tiaty) attended the highly publicised meeting.
Sources in Kajiado’s political scene say Mr Ruto may have chosen Mr Metito as his point man with an eye on the Senate seat. The argument was that the Senate candidature would give Mr Metito space to transverse the county and hunt for votes for Mr Ruto. Mr Metito now joins Kajiado West MP George Sunkuyia and nominated senator Mary Seneta as Mr Ruto’s key supporters.
But as Mr Metito switched sides, Mr Lenku’s camp received Mr Memusi, his erstwhile critic, in a battle for the populous Matapato section in Kajiado Central.
In addition to Mr Lenku and Mr Memusi, the Uhuru camp has Senator Philip Mpaayei, Kajiado North MP Joseph Manje, Assembly Speaker Johnson Osoi and 31 out of the 41 MCAs of the County Assembly of Kajiado.
Kajiado East MP Peris Tobiko is gravitating towards Kanu leader, Mr Moi, a position re-enforced by her invitation to visit Mr Atwoli together with Mr Moi.
Governor Lenku told Sunday Nation that the handshake remains the “real deal” ahead of 2022.
“There are politicians who haven’t settled on the path they want to take and they want to attract some attention to remain relevant. Politics of survival is likely to be with us. For us, we follow President Kenyatta and his political counsel,” the Governor said.
Minority Leader at the Assembly Daniel Naikuni rubbished the defections saying some leaders had become envious of Governor Lenku’s unifying effort and were hell bent to divide the Maasai community.