KNA The race to succeed Samuel Tunai as the Narok Governor is shaping up as six leaders have declared their interest in the position come August 2022.
The current Narok West Member of Parliament (MP), Gabriel Tong’oyo, County Woman MP Soipan Tuya Kudate, Narok South MP; Dr Korei Lemein, Youth Affairs Principal Secretary (PS) Charles Sunkuli and his brother former Ambassador Andrew Sunkuli and Labour Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS), Patrick Ntutu, have already publicly affirmed their interest in the Office.
The list is likely to grow longer as other entrants such as Narok North MP Mointalel Ole Kenta are said to be harbouring similar ambitions.
However, clanism among the Maasai community who are the majority in the County and other communities including Kipsigis, Kikuyu and Kisii among others who reside in the vast Devolved Unit are likely to play a role in shaping who takes over the gubernatorial seat.
Among the Maasai community, the Purko clan is the largest and they mostly influence how the Maasai community vote.
This is not the first time for the Sunkuli family to produce two brothers to vie for the same political position in the county. In 2013, Andrew Sunkuli, a Nairobi businessman, former Ambassador Julius Ole Sunkuli ran for the senatorial seat where both lost.
Julius Sunkuli, who was then Kenya`s Ambassador to China resigned from his job to vie for the senatorial seat on a TNA ticket where he garnered 51, 200 votes against his brother Andrew Sunkuli who got 77, 000 votes on an Independent Candidate.
The two brothers lost the chance to be the first senators after Stephen Ntutu of URP easily romped home with 94, 000 of the total votes cast.
The Sunkuli brothers are likely to repeat the same drama yet again after Youth Affairs Principal Secretary, Charles Sunkuli and his elder brother, Andrew, expressed their interest for the top seat in the County.
The two brothers, who hail from Kilgoris Constituency have on different occasions been endorsed by elders from their Moitany clan to vie for the seat.
The total number of registered voters in the County as published by Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) in 2017 was 341,730 and is distributed as follows: Narok North 78,380, Kilgoris 67,079, Emurua Dikirr 35,531, Narok East 39,559, Narok South 65,772 and Narok West 55,409.
Narok South, Transmara East and Narok West Constituencies have a sizable chunk of votes from the Kipsigis Community who largely influence the elections outcome. Narok West MP, Gabriel Ole Tong’oyo, has the backing of Deputy President, William Ruto and is likely to command a sizable vote from the Kipsigis in the two constituencies.
He is also likely to command a ran away with a portion of the Maasai votes because he is from the Purko Sub-tribe who are the majority of the Maasai community in Narok.
Mercy Cherotich Tembur from Emurua Dikirr Constituency (Transmara East Sub-county) recently rooted for Gabriel Tong’oyo at Talek in Narok West and urged Talek residents to vote for him as the next governor.
She had contested for the County Woman Rep. as an Independent contestant in 2013 and managed garner 53,981 votes against Soipan Tuya of URP who won with 108,380 votes.
While speaking at a burial ceremony of the late Senior Sergeant Bob Kipkemoi Aruasa, who was a brother to the Deputy Narok Governor, Evelyn Aruasa, at Olmekenyu in Narok South on July 3, 2021, leaders exchanged hilarious words which received cheers from the crowd.
Aruasa perished in a military helicopter crash at Oltepesi in Ngong,Kajiado County together with other 10 military officers last month.
“We know that President Uhuru Kenyatta is done with his term and the nearest person who know where he has left, is none other than His Excellency William Samoei Ruto,” Narok West Legislator, Gabriel Tong’oyo said.
Narok Woman Representative, Soipan Tuya, is the first woman to eye for the top seat in the dominantly patriarchal County. According to the opinion of Tajewuo Ole Kiramba, a resident of Olokurto, he says he does not believe a woman stands a chance to clinch the gubernatorial seat in the otherwise male controlled community.
Despite all odds, Soipan believes she can clinch the seat and take Narok County to the next level of development. She is counting on her development record among women and youth to propel her.
She says that she has worked hand in hand with Governor Tunai in all projects and that is sufficient to make her the next County Boss.
PS Charles Sunkuli is a close ally of President Kenyatta and has been included in government by being given critical positions.
He was the Principal Secretary for Devolution before he was moved to the Youth Affairs` docket.
“Later next year, I will take over the peace initiative from where Tunai will leave it, this is to continue uniting the residents of this cosmopolitan County,’ Sunkuli reiterated at Bob Aruasa’s funeral.
Sunkuli’s plans might be affected by his family member Andrew who has been endorsed by elders from his clan. Andrew Sunkuli is a vibrant and vocal politician who vied for the Senate but lost to Stephen Kanyinge Ole Ntutu of URP.
“I was the second last time and the first one is going, who will take over?…I want to tell my sister Soipan and Tong’oyo and all others, because I was told to wait and I waited, you should also wait for a while,’ Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS); Ministry of Labour and Social Protection, Patrick Ntutu said recently.
Patrick Ntutu was in the governor’s race in 2017 where he came second by garnering 93,628 votes against Samuel Tunai of Jubilee who won with 146,660 votes. Ntutu who vied on the Chama Cha Mashinani (CCM) ticket conceded defeat and is now back to the race again.
Narok South MP, Dr. Korei Lemein, who is an educationist also is eying the position. He is counting on the votes of his Purko clan of the populous Maasai clan and development record in his Constituency to propel him to victory. He is also a close ally of Deputy President William Ruto.
The Narok North Legislator, Moitalel Kenta, who comes from a renowned Purko family recently told off people whom he said were using his name to gain popularity. Kenta said that he will declare his interest and position at an appropriate time.
The legislator who is a lawyer by profession has been an ardent supporter of ODM leader Raila Odinga and President Uhuru Kenyatta. He might be banking on the judgment on the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) case that is in court to declare his interest.
He is known for his unwavering stand and fight for land justice to his constituents and the people of the county at large. With the support of the handshake, Kenta might be the next Narok Governor.
As the 2022 General Elections continue to gather momentum, politicians in Narok County are marking their boundaries in readiness for a bruising battle for the top seat in the County.
The Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) determination that will be delivered on August 20, this year might shape the county’s politics destiny. They say, a day in politics is a very long time. Only time will determine the course the politics of the Narok Gubernatorial race will take.