Choppers and harambee money: Kanu, Jubilee politicians flex muscles in Baringo
The show of might between Kanu and Jubilee intensified when the parties competed on the number of choppers that could be squeezed into a women’s fundraiser.
Many of the county’s residents believe only high-flying politicians can afford to add aircraft to their campaign machinery.
Kanu leaders turned up with three planes and Jubilee leaders just one at the event in Bartolimo, Baringo North Sub-county on Wednesday.
Baringo Senator Gideon Moi (Kanu chairman) gave Sh1 million while the supporters who accompanied him gave another Sh3.5 million.
The Kanu leaders who put up the show included West Pokot Senator John Lonyangapuo (kingpin), county speaker William Kamket (Tiaty MP aspirant) and former Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo (Elgeyo Marakwet senatorial aspirant).
Others were Rift valley coordinator John Bii, secretary general Nick Salat and Emurua Dikir MP Johana Ngâ€™eno. Also present was Bomet Governor Isaac Rutto who is Chama Cha Mashinani part leader.
Jubilee leaders ’embarrassed’ by the lesser show of might included Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen and Kericho Senator Aaron Cheruiyot.
Others were Makueni MP Daniel Maanzo, Baringo North MP William Cheptumo, Baringo Central’s Sammy Mwaita and county woman representative Grace Kiptui.
Part of the crowd laughed when staunch Jubilee supporter Baringo Governor Benjamin Cheboi got out of his vehicle to present his contribution and drum up support for his re-election bid.
Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen closes the door of a helicopter hired by Jubilee leaders for a women’s fundraiser in Bartolimo, Baringo North subcounty, December 7, 2016. /JOSEPH KANGOGO
Murkomen asked Gideon to consider ditching Kanu for Jubilee lest he gets locked out of the next government.
But Kanu politicians and their supporters chanted their ‘mambo bado‘ slogan, telling their rivals that they will “show them dust” at the ballot set for August 8, 2017.
We are telling Kenyans that we do not fear anybody in this country, no matter how many choppers they use for campaigns. We are ready as Kanu to use more than theirs. Who is ‘small’?” said Ng’eno.
He boasted about Kanu having the financial muscle required to take on Jubilee.
We are not the Kanu of 2013. This time hell will break lose. We hope to take most, if not all the elective positions,” he said.
There was a rumour about President Uhuru Kenyatta facilitating the Kanu leaders to diminish Deputy President William Ruto’s popularity in the Rift valley region.
We fear the President might be considering appointing Gideon as his successor ahead of his retirement in 2022. He could be funding Kanu to flatten Rutoâ€™s ambitions,â€ a resident told the Star.
Gideon dismissed Murkomen’s remark about him losing politically if he does not ditch Kanu for the ruling coalition. He termed the Senator Ruto’s “chief sycophant”.
We had a discussion in the Senate with Murkomen. He told me he was a paid messenger of Ruto’s and had the message for me to leave Kanu,” he claimed. “I told him off and said their little plans shall never work.”
Gideon further criticised Murkomen saying he was too young and lacked the capacity to understand anything concerning retired president Daniel Moi family.
He said the Senator should start rebuilding his reputation by asking “his boss” Ruto to publicly apologise for insulting him and his family.