How tribal politics is taking center stage in the proposed Endebes constituency in Trans Nzoia
Written by Leonard Wamalwa
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As the fate of the eighty newly proposed constituencies still hangs in the balance awaiting approval, aspiring parliamentary candidates in the Endebes constituency are setting a stage for a true battlefield based on tribal affiliations.
Hived from the larger Kwanza constituency, the proposed constituency is inhabited by two major communities of the Sabaot a.k.a the Sebei and the Luhya majorly the Bukusu sub-tribe.
Exclusive scrutiny done by West FM indicates that the creation of the constituency was greatly influenced by the members of the Sabaot community who are said to have solicited funds to enable them to lobby for the electoral unity which they believed was to be strictly for one of their own to lead.
Professionals and political leaders from the area are said to have made delegations to all the who-is-who people as far as the creation of the unit was concerned until it materialized and got its name appear among the eighty.
Sources privy to this indicate that after the name of the constituency appeared among the 80 and thus the prospective politicians starting to roll out their plans to become the new members of the created seat, the Sabaot community then realized that all was not over for them to have a Sabaot Member of Parliament from the community in Trans Nzoia county for the first time since independence.
They realized that other communities Luhya in particular are planning to field their candidates to vie for the seat and seems to be more influential than their own Sabaot aspirants who have showed up in large numbers.
The move has since then led to tension to start brewing gradually between the politicians from the two communities with each side vowing to win the seat.
It has been established from our sources that some groups from one side of the two communities have started masterminding plans of eliminating their opponents from the other side early enough before the going gets tough.
Senior security officers who sought anonymity confirmed that tension was already brewing in the area early enough before the true campaigns kick off during a yet to be confirmed time of the year depending on whether the elections shall be held in August or December.
In the run to the 2007 general elections that culminated to post-elections violence, the area was so volatile as militiamen believed to have come from the infamous Sabaot Land Defense Force – SLDF from neighboring Mt Elgon district terrorized the area leaving scores of people dead and to date most of the residents are yet to full resettle back in their homes after peace was restored.
Confirmation of the constituency is likely to spark fresh rifts between people from the two communities that have bordered each other for decades and had a history of conflicts for a long time especially during electioneering periods.
The Sabaot community member’s believe that the constituency was specifically created for them as a minority community in the region while their Luhya counterparts believe that they have a constitutional right as constituents to vie for the seat.
To date a total of nine aspirants have declared their interest in the seat with six coming from the Sabaot community while three come from the Luhya community.
They include; Dr Robert Bokose, Samwel Moiben a former nominated Member of Parliament in the Moi’s KANU regime, Mrs Jenniffer Masis, Dr Nathan Sang, Richard Kirui the current chief for Chepchoina ward and Reuben Chesebe.
Joshua Werunga a civic leader from Lessos ward in Kitale Municipality and a former mayor of Kitale town is among the top contenders from the Luhya community that is causing ripples and sleepless nights for the aspirants from the other community and even the current area MP who is also minister for Wildlife and Forestry Dr. Noah Wekesa is said not to be comfortable with him despite the fact that he has abandoned the parliamentary seat to vie for the governorship.
Despite the fact that Dr Wekesa shall not vie for a parliamentary seat in Endebes or Kwanza constituencies, he has his own preferred candidates that he would like to front against his former and current opponents and rivals.
Others are the current Nzoia county council chairman and regional development minister Fred Gumo’s young brother Albert Gumo.
The constituency that has over 30 000 voters is rich in resources bearing in mind that it is the home of virtually all the ADC farms found in the region adding up to over 34 000 acres of land.
Initial analysis and opinion indicate that the Sabaot community may lose out terribly to candidates from the Luhya candidates because of the obvious reason of sharing out votes from their community electorate among other factors that might be applied against them.