In 2008, the Kajiado Central Member of Parliament Major (retired) Joseph Nkaissery, arguably one of the most disciplined MPs in the 11th Parliament, broke ranks with his party, ODM, by campaigning for a PNU candidate, Gideon Konchella, in the then Kilgoris by- election.
No one within the ODM party hierarchy dared to question the respected leader for this act of disloyalty to the party that sponsored him to Parliament, even though ODM was fielding and vigorously campaigning for its own candidate, who quite predictably was a non- Maasai from the Kipsigis community. In fact, Nkaissery was joined by other non- PNU politicians in the campaign front, urging the residents of Kilgoris to elect a native of the land.
Blatantly put, Nkaissery and his counterparts defied party loyalty to campaign for one of their own. Surprisingly, no one read elements of tribalism from this. To the Maasai, this was a question of putting their communities' interest first.
The same cannot be said of the URP's presidential candidate, William Ruto, who for the last two weeks has been under attack especially in the South Rift, where his popularity is strongest.
In late April, I wrote an opinion piece on Ruto that somehow rubbed a few people, my friends included, the wrong way. In the article, which was titled "Could this be Ruto's Achilles' heel?', I outlined basic facts which to me seemed to be Ruto's potential undoing especially in the vote rich Rift Valley. I hasten to say that the article was in all fairness, neutral. But little did I know that, barely two months down the line, some of the points I raised therein would come to manifest themselves.
Fast forward to the night meeting held at the International Bible Society in Lavington between Members of Parliament allied to Deputy Premier Musalia Mudavadi and William Ruto, where talks of an alliance between UDF and URP were allegedly not part of the discussion. The two factions wanted it known clearly, and especially by ODM's top brass that the agenda of the meeting was purely to discuss the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) list of nominated candidates from the ODM side.
The outcome of that meeting proved to be a rather bitter pill for the people from the South Rift to swallow, and indeed the Kalenjin community at large. The entire Kalenjin community was left with no representative to the regional legislative assembly- thanks to the URP leadership.
The URP, through Belgut Member of Parliament Charles Keter, tried to convince the Kalenjin people that they, URP and UDF, rooted behind former ODM councillor Ronald Ng'eny and Jenniffer Masis. In fact, he apportioned blame to ODM, saying that their former party did not campaign for the Kalenjin candidates.
We might never come to know who voted or did not vote for whom, but the fact remains that URP had vowed to shoot down ODM's list of nominations if they were not consulted. Clearly, URP was never consulted.
Judging from the calls that were made to breakfast shows of the two Kalenjin Vernacular FM radio stations, few people bought Keter's version of the story. Angry callers vented their anger on air and out rightly condemned the URP and Mr William Ruto in particular for what they termed as selfish dealings.
Perhaps what angered the callers most is the fact that Nancy Abisai, a strong ODM and Raila supporter who is also a member of ODM's National Executive Council and the only Luhya candidate nominated, sailed through with the help of UDF allied Members of Parliament.
Worse still is that the Members of Parliament from Central Kenya abandoned their political differences and combined forces with those from ODM to push through the election of former Thika Mayor Mumbi Ngaru, who is also a member of ODM's National Executive Council and a local political foe of Deputy Premier Uhuru Kenyatta.
Besides, this act of betrayal by Ruto and his cronies only served as a reminder to residents of Rift Valley of how Ruto out rightly rejected the nomination of the former Agricultural Development Corporation (ADC) managing director, William Kirwa, by President Kibaki to the post of Budget Controller.Most people feel that Mr Kirwa was highly qualified for the post and that his rivalry with Ruto cost him the position.
Unsurprisingly, Roads Minister Franklin Bett had a rather good time on Chamgei FM where he was the breakfast show's guest that morning, as caller after caller took on Ruto and is allies in URP. And reading the mood, ODM responded promptly by taking their campaigns to the South Rift, and particularly to Bomet where Mr Ng'eny hails from and where most of the callers seemed to be calling from.
Perhaps, Ruto ought to learn from Nkaissery and the other Maasai leaders that charity begins at home, and that sometimes politics goes beyond settling scores. Otherwise, I am bound to agree with the majority of the callers to the FM stations that we do not have a competent leader in Kalenjin land.