Clan war spices Baringo gubernatorial contest
The battle to unseat Baringo governor Stanley Kiptis has intensified mainly around the two Tugen sub-groups.
Perennial rivalry between the Arror and Samor communities has already started playing out.
Arror, which has a population of more than 100,000 out of 232,258 registered voters (according to 2017 election) in 892 polling stations holds the key to who will clinch the seat in 2022.
The rest of the registered voters are Samor and other minority communities.
Former governor Benjamin Cheboi and his successor Kiptis come from the Arror community.
The two are expected to run on Deputy President William Ruto’s United Democratic Alliance (UDA) party.
Other political heavyweights eyeing the UDA ticket are Labour Cabinet Secretary Simon Chelugui, Wildlife and Tourism Principal Secretary Dr Fred Segor and Baringo Assembly Clerk Richard Koech.
Segor also comes from the Arror community while Kiptis hails from the Lembus ethnic group, another Tugen sub-tribe who live in Eldama-Ravine and Mogotio constituencies.
Cheboi overcame a strong Kanu wave to be elected the first governor in 2013 on a United Republican Party ticket after garnering 99,356 votes against 44,883 votes by Kanu’s Kiptis.
He says he seeks to make a political comeback to complete the projects he did not finish before he was bundled out of office by the electorate.
“Insecurity remains a major challenge to us as a county and I will reach out to elders from the warring communities in a bid to find a lasting solution to the perennial menace which has derailed development over the years,” Cheboi told People Daily.
“One community should not be seen as the aggressors in raiding other communities. Bandits are few criminal elements whom we will not allow to stand in the way of potential investors,” added Cheboi.
He has assured livestock farmers in the area that the county government will continue the projects he initiated including setting up abattoirs for the processing of livestock products.
Segor has promised to invest in irrigation projects along the banditry prone Kerio Valley which he says has great potential.
He said that the county is also rich in livestock production and will ensure that more livestock markets and abattoirs and sale yards are set up in the region to boost the people’s economic livelihoods.
“We will invest on value addition in our livestock products for our people to reap fully from the sector which has a great potential,” Prof Segor told People Daily.
Chelugui who vied for the senate seat in 2017 but lost to Gideon Moi is also said to be eyeing the seat but is yet to make it public.
His heightened activities at the county veiled as launching government projects and attending church functions has however betrayed him.
Chelugui, was in 2017, prevailed upon by Deputy President William Ruto to vie for the senatorial seat and leave the gubernatorial seat to Cheboi.
The DP is said to have made the proposal to Chelugui when he hosted a delegation from Baringo County at his Sugoi home in Uasin Gishu county.
Chelugui however lost to Senator Moi and was later appointed Water and Sanitation Cabinet Secretary in the Jubilee administration.
Governor Kiptis who beat Cheboi in 2017 has dared his rivals to prepare for a bruising political battle in 2022.
“My development track record is there to be seen. Let them come. The people will decide who the best candidate is.
I have done a lot as my rivals engage in politics. Let’s meet at the ballot,” said Kiptis.
Baringo County is expected to be a political battle ground between DP Ruto and senator Moi who have been embroiled in a protracted battle of supremacy for the control of the Rift Valley vote.
Though Kanu is yet to announce if it will field a gubernatorial candidate, a mouth-watering clash is expected in the woman representative seat which is currently held by the independence party (Gladwell Cheruiyot).