Superstition surrounds death of ministers
Published on June 11, 2008, 12:00 am
By David Ohito
Is it a jinx? That was the question on the lips of many stunned Kenyans as news of the deaths of two more MPs filtered in.
Three Kipsigis MPs have died in quick succession. Tuesday’s death of the ever smiling Roads minister, Kipkalya Kones, and Assistant minister, Lorna Laboso, adds the tally to that of former Ainamoi MP David Kimutai Too, who was shot dead at point blank range in Eldoret just days after he was elected MP.
Kones and Laboso were on a political mission to oversee the election process for the ODM candidates in Kilgoris and Ainamoi by-elections.
The ‘jinx’ of VIP air crash is still fresh in the minds of many Kenyans. On January 24, 2003, Narc had just won elections and ministers and MPs were in a celebratory mood.
They attended Funyula MP Mr Moody Awori’s homecoming in a chartered flight. But, as fate would have it, the plane crashed after taking off from Busia airstrip, killing Labour minister Ahmed Khalif.
Six other MPs — Mr Raphael Wanjala, Ms Martha Karua, Ms Jebii Kilimo, Mr Joshua Toro, Mr George Khaniri and Mr Raphael Tuju — were injured.
On April 10, 2006, a Marsabit air crash claimed 20 lives, among them six MPs. The crash was one of the biggest air disasters in the country.
The ODM candidate in Kilgoris is Mr Johanna Ng’eno. Last year he run on a Kaddu ticket after what he termed flawed ODM nominations. When elections were ordered afresh, Ng’eno decamped to ODM.
He is pitted against former Immigration minister and PNU candidate, Mr Gideon Konchella.
The contest has been billed a community tussle between the Maasai and the Kipsigis.
Kipsigis have about 34,000 registered voters, while the Maasai have about 35,000. Other communities, workers and farmers form 5,000 voters.
Previously, it was a clan issue dividing the vote, but now the group that turns out in large numbers will decide today’s winner.
As the news trickled in Kilgoris and Transmara, residents gathered in small groups to discuss the scanty details from radio and television.
The ODM candidate for Ainamoi is Mr Benjamin Lang’at. He is the brother of the late Too. The by-elections are scheduled for today.
The contest for the seat had divided even the ODM party, with some leaders from the Maasai community breaking ranks with the party.
On Sunday, ministers Henry Kosgey (Industry) and Charity Ngilu (Water) were scheduled to lead a campaign to the area, but missed their flight when the pilot failed to turn up.
The by-elections have renewed rivalry between PNU and ODM and it remains to be seen how many seats each of the key partners in the coalition will scoop.