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Kenya: ‘Handshake’ Politics Trigger Shifting Alliances in Kajiado County – AllAfrica.com

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Months to the 2022 General Election, the ongoing battle for voters’ hearts and minds has ushered in a new season of political alignments and realignments.
And in Kajiado County, the recent dalliance of erstwhile rivals Jubilee Party and the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) has introduced new dynamics in political relationships, with friends embracing foes and others breaking away from old partnerships to forge new ones.
In line with the Azimio La Umoja initiative spearheaded by President Kenyatta (Jubilee) and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga (ODM), their respective party members are holding joint political meetings and endorsing candidates perceived to back the “Handshake” pact.
The Jubilee-ODM camp has left no doubt that it will be supporting the re-election of Governor Joseph ole Lenku, a scenario that has made other gubernatorial hopefuls seeking the “Handshake” ticket jittery.
Parliamentary and ward aspirants are jostling for space in the “Handshake” camp, while others have found a home in Deputy President William Ruto’s United Democratic Alliance (UDA).
Kajiado East MP Peris Tobiko, upset by the endorsement of Mr Lenku, ditched Jubilee for UDA last month. And ODM has witnessed a whirlwind of movement to the party recently.
In Kajiado West, the parliamentary frontrunners are Mr Joseph Ole Simel (ODM) and Mr Moses Konana (Jubilee), while in Kajiado South, Mr Sakimpa Parashina, Mr Daniel Nina Livondo,Mr John Parit and Mr Shadrack Saibulu Wenger are all battling for the “Handshake” coalition ticket.
In Kajiado Central, Lenku die-hards Moses Birisha and Christopher Koisikir are in contention, while the governor’s personal assistant, Mr Daniel Kanchori, is seeking the ODM ticket to challenge Mr Kakuta Maimai and Mr Wilson Kisemei. Nominated Senator Mary Seneta will be seeking the Kajiado East parliamentary seat on an UDA ticket.
Former Senator Peter Mositet will challenge Mr Alfayo Otuke and Dr Solomon Kinyanjui for the “Handshake” ticket in the Kajiado North parliamentary race.
“We’re not only laying the groundwork for [Mr] Odinga to ascend to power, but also ensuring that he has enough grassroots support [to govern]. We will ensure that there are no fallouts in our camp after the party primaries,” Peter Mositet, Nairobi Metropolitan Area Transport Authority Board Chairman said.
To boost his chances of clinching the Jubilee-ODM ticket for a fresh gubernatorial run, former Governor David Nkedienye has lured his erstwhile nemesis, Kajiado North MP Joseph Manje, to his camp in a deal that would see the lawmaker become his running mate in 2022.
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Amid the horse-trading and deal-making in the “Handshake” camp is a concerted effort by Mr Kenyatta and Mr Odinga’s allies to fend off the Ruto onslaught as the DP makes forays in the county. UDA has been on a charm offensive, effectively creating two competing camps. One is led by Ms Tobiko and the other gravitates towards Kajiado South MP Katoo Ole Metito. Ms Tobiko and Mr Metito are both eyeing the UDA ticket to oust Mr Lenku.
Mr Lenku’s footsoldiers have spent the last fortnight holding joint Jubilee-ODM grassroots meetings in Kajiado North, a swing vote constituency, in a bid to lock out their rivals. Assembly Chief Whip James Waichanguru said ODM ward reps have been supporting the Jubilee Party agenda in the House since the 2018 Kenyatta-Odinga pact.
“We are working together to form a formidable force that will defeat our rivals in the elections. Our agenda is to win all posts in the county,” Mr Waichanguru told the Nation.
Although Dr Ruto is said to be keen on uniting Ms Tobiko and Mr Katoo, there is no love lost between the two with Ms Tobiko insisting that she will beat Katoo hands down in the primaries and Mr Metito,known for being a shrewd politician , confident of clinching the party ticket.
“If I beat my sister, she should support me. We are not stopping anyone from joining UDA. We welcome everyone,” Mr Metito remarked during a rally in Mashuru that the DP attended recently. During the event,Ms Tobiko told the DP to his face that she was the only one capable of challenging Mr Lenku.
“If I get [the nomination], Mr Lenku will have tough times ahead,” she said.
Read the original article on Nation.
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