Former Keiyo South MP Nicholas Biwott will be remembered for a political fight with President Uhuru Kenyatta over the control of the Kenya African National Union (Kanu) party in the sunset days of former President Mwai Kibaki’s first term.
In 2006, Uhuru was caught between a rock and a hard place, being ousted from the Kanu chairmanship.
Uhuru, then the leader of the Opposition in Parliament, found himself at a political crossroads for supporting an idea to form an alliance with the Orange Democratic Movement-Kenya (ODM-K), which was seeking a strong candidate to contest against Kibaki for the presidency.
A number of Kanu supporters were said to have hatched a plot to join the Raila Odinga-led ODM-K. But a rival faction led by Mr Biwott opposed the decision, expressing discomfort over the party joining hands with Raila.
Reports indicated that Biwott’s faction was supported by retired President Daniel arap Moi, who termed the Raila-led group “tribal”.
The feud escalated when Biwott’s faction announced it had replaced Uhuru as Kanu chairman and William Ruto as the secretary general, almost ending his tenure as the official Opposition leader.
The Biwott faction of Kanu went ahead to acquire registration from the Registrar of Societies, a decision Uhuru claimed was a plot by the Kibaki administration to kill the Opposition.
“What has happened today is a travesty of justice and we shall not relent until we, the bona fide officials of Kanu, are recognised,” said Uhuru in streets protests.
But National Assembly Speaker Francis ole Kaparo ruled that Uhuru would keep his position as the Opposition chief despite being ousted from Kanu.
In September 2007, Uhuru announced that he would not run for the presidency and would instead support Kibaki’s re-election, sinking any hopes that Kanu would back ODM.
Uhuru’s political gamble won when Kibaki was declared the winner of the disputed presidential poll and he was appointed the Local Government minister in Kibaki’s Cabinet.
Biwott later formed his own political outfit – the National Vision Party (NVP) – and became the party leader, a position he held until he died yesterday.