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Saturday, December 29, 2007

There is a new dawn over Rift Valley

The rejection of all three sons of former president Daniel Toroitich arap Moi by their constituents and their subsequent humiliation at the hands of ODM is a major statement about the clamour for change, not only in Rift Valley, but Kenya as a whole. This signals a major re-alignment in Rift Valley politics.

Jonathan Toroitich, Raymond Moi and Gideon Moi lost their bids for the Eldama Ravine, Rongai and Baringo Central parliamentary seats to newcomers – all on ODM tickets. Gideon Moi fared much worse, as he is the outgoing MP for Baringo Central, having pranced to the 9th Parliament unopposed in the 2002 elections. But he could not contend with political novice, former commissioner of lands Sammy Mwaita, who made history but unshackling the constituency from the yoke of KANU and the Moi dynasty. For more than half a century, Baringo Central has know no other MP, and upon retirement, the elder Moi bequeathed the seat to his favourite son Gideon. In Eldama Ravine, Moi’s eldest son lost to the youthful Moses Lessonet, while in Rongai another son, Raymond, lost to ODM’s Luka Kigen. The scenario witnessed in largely Tugen districts of Koibatek and Baringo where Jonathan and Gideon were candidates, was repeated in the five Kipsigis districts of Kericho, Bomet, Bureti, Kipkelion and Sotik, where ODM swept the polls with a landslide.

In the South Rift, 13 former MPs from the Kipsigis region lost their seats in five districts. Former Belgut MP, the youthful Charles Keter (Belgut) was the only outgoing MP to have successfully defended his seat. A former MP Isaac Ruto (Chepalungu) bounced back after five years. Two former nominated MPs Franklin Bett (Bureti) and Kipkalya Kones (Bomet) on ODM tickets were elected.

Leading the pack of losers is Health Minister Paul Sang, whose bid for a third term in Bureti constituency died in the water.  Other former MPs who lost include John Koech (Chepalungu), Nick Salat (Bomet), Anthony Kimetto (Sotik), Ayub Chepkwony (Belgut), Noah Too (Ainamoi) and Kipng’eno arap Ngeny (Ainamoi). Others were Sammy Koech (Konoin), Raphael Kitur (Konoin), Dr Esther Keino (Belgut), Dr Sammy Ruto (Kipkelion), Bishop Daniel Tanui (Kipkelion), and Samwel Rotich (Kipkelion).

The election of newcomers, taking place at a time when the retired president had traversed the entire Rift Valley region campaigning for President Kibaki, is a statement the voters are tired of anything to do with Moi.

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