BBI verdict dashes hopes of 2022 poll aspirants in Kajiado
Last week’s Court of Appeal’s ruling that overturned the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) has forced some politicians in Kajiado County back to the drawing board after the hopes that new constituencies would be created were dashed.
In the Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill, 2020, which has been declared null and void by the courts, Kajiado was allocated three additional constituencies.
Most politicians in the county had backed the BBI, with the promise of the three new constituencies being one of the motivating factors.
Only Kajiado South MP Katoo ole Metito and some members of the County Assembly, opposed the BBI. Metito is ally of Deputy President William Ruto.
Some politicians had also banked their hopes for being elected into Parliament on the new electoral units that would have been created by BBI.
For instance, Kajiado East, which was among the constituencies that were to be split into two, there were talks to have one parliamentary seat occupied by a native of the area while the other would be given to a member of communities which migrated to the area.
If the BBI had succeeded, there would have been a new Kitengela constituency.
Businessman George King’ori, who unsuccessfully ran for governor in 2017, had declared interest in the proposed Kitengela constituency seat.
“If the constituency had been divided into two, King’ori stood a better chance of convincing the immigrants to support his candidature.
He is well known and has established political networks and is popular among the immigrant communities,’’ said Ali Sharif, a political observer.
King’ori told People Daily that the BBI ruling had changed his game plan.
“The BBI ruling means I will now campaign in the entire constituency. I was waiting for the outcome of the proposed Constitution amendments.
I will still vie and I am ready to face my opponents and accept the outcome of the people’s choice,” he said.
Area MP Peris Tobiko has declared interest in the governorship.
King’ori is a member of The Service Party and has hosted party leader Mwangi Kiunjuri in the county.
Former senator Peter Mositet and former governor aspirant Solomon Kinyanjui were planning to contest in the constituency that would have resulted from the splitting of Kajiado North.
Mositet said the ruling was a big blow to his ambitions but maintained he will still vie for the Kajiado North seat.
“My headache is now which political party I will vie on. I am considering joining the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) but I will go slow and observe the political dynamics before I make a final decision,” said Mositet.
Kinyanjui said he had opted out of the parliamentary race and will now run for governor where he will face the incumbent Joseph ole Lenku.
“We were dealt a big blow by the court ruling on the Constitution amendments.
The political landscape will change and some of us instantly make decision on the next move.
I am going for the governor seat. If the BBI had sailed and constituencies had been created, I would have gone for the MP seat,” said Kinyanjui.
He said he was widely consulting and shopping for a political vehicle on which to mount his gubernatorial bid.
Kajiado West constituency was also earmarked for a split had the BBI process succeeded.
Some aspirants in the county had taken a wait-and-see approach because of speculations that next August elections could have been postponed to accommodate the BBI.
Governorship aspirant Josiah Tarayia ole Kores said he had not been campaigning because he believed the 2022 elections would be delayed to allow the BBI process, including the referendum, to be concluded.
“In my own thinking, I thought BBI would sail through in court and the General Election would be postponed.
I was looking at a situation where the focus would shift from the 2022 General Election to the referendum.
Things have turned out different. I will now be forced to consolidate my campaign team and hit the ground running,’’said Kores.
Kores was The National Alliance (TNA) candidate in the 2013 governor race but his nomination was cancelled by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission over questions about his academic papers. David Nkedianye of ODM went ahead to win the election. Kores has since joined ODM.