What you need to know:
- New party won’t field a presidential candidate in 2022 but will follow President Uhuru Kenyatta’s political direction, CS says.
- Samburu County Woman Representative Maison Leshoomo said Upya Movement is a game changer for pastoralists.
Leaders from northern Kenya’s arid and semi-arid lands (Asals) have affirmed formation of the Upya Movement, a political group aimed at uniting pastoralists ahead of the 2022 General Election.
Treasury and National Planning Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani said during a fundraiser in Ndoto area in Samburu, on Saturday, that Upya Movement is the vehicle to champion for political interests of the region in 2022.
The former Marsabit governor noted that the region has for long suffered socio-economic marginalisation.
“Pastoralists have really suffered despite us covering Kenya’s large landmass. We need to speak with one voice so that we join other regions in sharing the national cake [or else] there is a possibility that we will continue to lag behind,” the CS said.
He said Upya won’t field a presidential candidate in 2022 but will instead follow President Uhuru Kenyatta’s political direction.
“We support our President Uhuru Kenyatta and his quest to unify the country. We will, therefore, follow the political direction that he is going to give to us,” Mr Yatani said.
Samburu County Woman Representative Maison Leshoomo said Upya Movement is a game changer for pastoralists as they seek to join other regions in sharing the national cake.
She added that the outfit is ready to join any other alliance that President Kenyatta will direct, reiterating that development is key as the Asal region still lags behind in terms of infrastructure, security and general socio-economic development.
However, Samburu Governor Moses Lenolkulal sees the formation of Upya as a move by President Kenyatta to ensure the Northern Kenya block does not vote for his deputy William Ruto.
The governor, who is a Ruto ally, avoided drumming up support for the Upya Movement.
Quest for unity
Instead, the county chief asked President Kenyatta to speed up unfinished projects in the county to benefit locals.
Mr Lenolkulal pointed out the construction of the Naibor-Suguta-Maralal tarmac road as a key project that is yet to be completed.
However, the governor said they were happy with projects the national government had initiated in the county, which once complete would give them the first ever tarmac road.
Samburu North MP Alois Lentoimaga termed Upya as a big step for pastoralists’ quest for unity.
“We [leaders] have decided to unite with our people in order to avoid being left out in the ongoing political movements. We will speak with one voice,” he said.