Written by Leonard Wamalwa
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Kitale deputy mayor (2nd left) speaks to journalists and others after the High Court rulling on Electrol Boundaries [PHOTO|Leonard Wamalwa|westfm]
Members of the Sabaot community living in the larger Trans Nzoia County broke into celebrations shortly after the high court gave its final ruling on the 125 cases filed to petition constituency and wards boundaries in the country as proposed by the Interim electoral and boundaries commission – IEBC.
The celebrators among them three civic leaders, the Kitale deputy mayor Pius Arap Kauka, Matumbei and Kiboroa wards councilors Philip Sakong and Gilbert Kitiyo said the court’s decision to accept the IEBC proposal to have Sikhendu and Nabiswa wards moved from Saboti constituency to the newly formed Kiminini constituency is a major boost to the community.
They noted that the new mapping of the wards shall ensure a fair and justified competition for the candidates from the community who want to vie for the Saboti parliamentary seat that had all along been dominated by leaders from the Luhya community that were majority in the area.
“We are very happy about the high court’s move to take Nabiswa and Sikhendu wards to Kiminini and we are now very sure there will be no clashes between the Sabaots and Bukusus because we shall now share the elective seats well and other resources,” said Kauka.
The chairman of the former interim boundaries commission Andrew Ligale and the entire IEBC commission was appreciated by the community for considering their proposals during the public hearings in which different groups of people and communities gave their views over the commission’s proposal of the new boundaries.
Sabaot community has been at loggerheads with their Bukusu and other Luhya sub tribes living in the area over the dominance in leadership that has seen the Sabaot decry their marginalization in many aspects.
Under the new dispensation of devolved governments, ripples have been raised amongst leaders and people from the two warring communities that despite coexisting for many decades have never had a lasting peace that is always elusive during electioneering periods.
Following the creation of two more constituencies in the county that saw Kiminini and Endebes included in the 80 constituencies, the Sabaot community has been heard in various occasions and different forums insinuate that the constituencies were specifically created for the community to have their people become parliamentarians.
Many have been heard muttering that they should at all costs clinch the two parliamentary seats to at least have one of their own enter the August house from Trans Nzoia as an elected MP for the first time apart from former nominated MP Samwel Moiben who was nominated to parliament by retired president Daniel Arap Moi during the KANU regime.
Despite the Sabaots claiming that they were the original inhabitants of Trans Nzoia before the colonialists and people from other communities and parts of the country entered the county including Bukusu’s who have also claimed ownership, the Sabaots have ever remained to be complaining of being marginalized in a land believed to be their cradle land.
Trans Nzoia has been always perceived to be a true face of Kenya due to its cosmopolitan set up that has witnessed people from over 42 tribes live there but whenever it comes to elective exercises, the Luhya community has been seen to out-number other communities in votes hence always determine the voting pattern that has always locked out Sabaot candidates.
However the creation of the two constituencies might still be a taunting task for the community to ensure their preferred candidates win the seats bearing in mind the large number of candidates from the community that have shown interest in vying for the two seats especially the Endebes seat.
Over seven politicians from one community have declared their aspirations to vie for the seat in Endebes against two or slightly more aspirants from the Luhya community who are still a factor in the two constituencies.
The creation of the two constituencies and the hiving of the two wards from Saboti constituency to Kiminini constituency received sharp reactions from leaders in the Luhya community who saw the move as a plot by the then Ligale led commission to create a soft landing for parliamentary aspirants from the Sabaot side by reducing the Bukusu or Luhya votes in the two respective units.
Yesterday’s high court ruling might spark further reactions from the losing Bukusu side that had petitioned the IEBC to have the decision reversed to re-instate the two wards in Saboti.
Even though political analysts have pointed out cross-border voter registration as an immediate move by the Luhya community who might opt to have most of their voters register in Saboti polling stations instead of Kiminini in order to maintain the numbers needed to have their candidates win the seat.
On the other side, the Sabaots might also be forced to use unorthodox means to have their kinsmen from the Sebei in neighboring Uganda to acquire Kenyan identity cards and hence become voters to rally support for their candidates.
Unconfirmed rumors had earlier indicated to West FM that the process of having the Sebeis acquire Kenyan identity cards has been going on in most parts of Endebes constituency under the watch of area administrators who incidentally are majorly from the Sabaot community.
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