Why political bigwigs won’t seek re-election

Written by on 13 April 2022

High-profile politicians have continued to drop out of contests to defend their seats to focus on national politics.

 With the country entering the homestretch ahead of the August 9 General Election, another handful of senior politicians are opting out of elective races altogether as they seek to establish a fairly unpopular path among the political elite.

 In a country where politicians earn huge salaries on top of a wide range of lucrative perks and other privileges in addition to being treated like rock stars by their diehard followers, the decision by a number of them to leave their seats for other missions elsewhere has left tongues wagging.

 Kanu leader Gideon Moi, Orange Democratic Movement chairman John Mbadi and Tharaka Nithi Senator Kithure Kindiki are among top figures who are not defending their seats. They join an expanding list of colleagues who will not be vying for any post in the coming elections.

  Others are Woman Rep Sabina Chege (Murang’a) Soipan Tuiya (Narok), Beatrice Kones (Bomet East), Ronald Tonui (Bomet Central) and Benjamin Washiali (Mumias East).

Chege is, however, still undecided with strong indications that she might prefer a place in the Azimio-One Kenya Alliance administration rather than defend her seat.

Speaking through an aide last weekend at a function in his constituency, Webuye East MP Alfred Sambu, who has been missing in action for several months, hinted at relinquishing his seat and endorsing his successor.

  Governors Paul Chepkwony (Kericho), Patrick Khaemba (Trans Nzoia), Josphat Nanok (Turkana), Hassan Joho (Mombasa) and Salim Mvurya (Kwale) have also not committed in diving straight into senatorial contests like their colleagues who have served for the constitutionally required two terms.

Their Isiolo counterpart Mohamed Kuti, who is serving his first term, has also decided not to defend his seat because of failing health. 

Gideon, who is serving his second term as Baringo senator, is a key member of the Azimio-One Kenya Alliance led by President Uhuru Kenyatta, ODM leader Raila Odinga and Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka. He is banking on it forming the next government where he could play a big role.

 For Mbadi who remains a prominent figure within ODM, his hopes lie in Raila becoming the country’s fifth president. 

As a ranking MP boasting of 15 years of an uninterrupted term in the National Assembly, the Suba South MP looks to play a significant role in the next government if Azimio wins in August.

 “This was a result of a discussion I had with my party leader…it is a discussion I think is good for the party. I am interested in my party forming the next government,” said Mbadi. Washiali had on the other hand announced that he was stepping down after representing the constituency for three consecutive terms to concentrate on Deputy President William Ruto’s presidential campaigns.

Gains prominence

Kindiki, who is serving his second term as a senator, has gained prominence within Ruto’s Kenya Kwanza Alliance and has been identified as a possible  deputy.

Talks have been rife that he could be offered a senior position in Ruto’s government with indications he could be picked as speaker of either House or even Attorney General.

 Woman Reps Soipan and Chege are presently embedded in national presidential campaigns for Ruto and Raila respectively hoping to win themselves lucrative posts if their candidate wins.

Soipan was also asked by Ruto to abandon her quest to become Narok governor and back UDA candidate Patrick Ole Ntutu, the former Interior Cabinet Secretary. Chege is one of the prominent faces fronting Raila’s candidature in Mt Kenya region.

 Several governors serving their final terms have also opted out of competitive politics, the latest being Samburu Governor Moses Lenolkulal who had initially transferred his ambitions to the Senate seat but has since frozen the ambitions.

He will back Senator Steve Lelegwe, a diehard supporter of Ruto.

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