With Elgeyo Marakwet Governor, Engineer Alex Tolgos, winding up his second and final term in office, the 2022 gubernatorial race in the county will be graced by new faces.
Many are following keenly to see just who will immerse themselves in the race, but for keen political observers the race to succeed Governor Tolgos has been made tricky by one; Senator Kipchumba Murkomen.
Why would Murkomen make it tricky? One would ask. The answer is simple, all aspiring candidates are waiting for the former Senate Majority Leader to make known his future political moves.
If Murkomen was to vie for the Governor’s seat his victory is a forgone conclusion. Despite his axing from the Senate leadership, his ratings have risen and he now enjoys the glory of political limelight following his outspokenness and open criticism of President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Kieleweke faction.
However observers are of the view that Murkomen is not likely to abandon National Politics for the governors seat which is considered ‘local’.
A governor’s seat, though plum has its achilles heels in that it plucks you out of the National limelight and localises your politics. In the political sphere it is the ‘village’ political seat.
Currently, Murkomen is seen as the second most prominent political leader in the ‘Kalenjin Nation’ after Deputy President William Ruto, albeit fighting for space with other leaders in the region. It is in view of the above that he is better positioned to succeed DP Ruto if he remains in the Senate where it boosts his political image than as a governor.
It is rumoured in the corridors of power that if DP Ruto wins the Presidency in 2022, Murkomen is poised to become the Senate Speaker; a position that pushes him to fourth in command in the country. A more reason he is likely to seek a third term as Senator, which also provides an easy scenario for a by-election in the county without creating a leadership vacuum.
Without Murkomen’s fiery outspokenness coupled by point blank and hard-hitting responses to opposing camps that will leave an open field for aspiring candidates to declare their interests to succeed Tolgos.
Possible candidates include; Former Keiyo South MP Jackson Kiptanui, Speaker Kiplagat Sabulei, Deputy Governor Wisley Rotich and Sasini Boss Moses Changwony.
Interestingly, all the candidates rumoured to be eyeing the post hail from the Keiyo Sub-tribe and most are close allies of Senator Murkomen.
Elgeyo Marakwet politics has been largely controlled by the Marakwet Sub-tribe in that they always vote as a block. Keiyo’s have in the past two general elections had many candidates for the three top county seats and always end up split-votting.
The picking of Sabulei as Speaker in the beginning of this term is seen as an initial signal that he could be Murkomen’s favorite candidate if he opts to retain his Senate seat.
It however remains a wait-and-see political situation until Murkomen makes his future political ambitions known.