Jubilee party members in Narok yesterday elected a team of 20 interim officials to head the party after hours of delay and intrigue.
Two factions of the party were contesting the positions, one led by Narok Governor Samuel Tunai and the other leaning towards Narok West MP, Patrick Ntutu. The elections were delayed for hours as the Ntutu faction sought to convince Governor Tunai to agree to a backroom deal where the two leaders would draw a list of nine names each and impose the list on the county party membership.
The Ntutu faction also wanted the venue of the election to be shifted away from the previously agreed – and party headquarter sanctioned – venue at the Maasai Girls High School grounds.
The Governor, who commands the support of the majority of party members in the County, declined to sanction the backroom deal, citing the need for transparency and wider participation of Narok leaders and aspirants as required by the Jubilee party rules. The party regulations require that interim party officials should be elected by an electoral college of all seating MPs, MCAs, the Governor and the Senators and all aspirants for electoral positions who have duly registered and paid the aspirant fees.
The stalemate continued for the better part of the day as the Returning Officer, Franklin Mwendani, sought to persuade the Ntutu faction to drop its hard-line position and conduct the elections as required by party regulations.
In the end, the Returning Officer proceeded with the elections where the party members supporting Governor Tunai swept the board. 20 interim party officials were elected, six of them nominated by aspirants while the MCAs nominated 6 and the elected members of parliament nominated another six. Special interest groups, among them the disabled nominated another two officials.
211 aspirants, four members of parliament and 40 out of the 47 elected county MCAs participated in the elections.
Speaking after the elections, Governor Tunai thanked the people of Narok for holding peaceful elections and called on the new officials to serve all members impartially and ensure all contestants, whether incumbent or not, are treated equally. The Governor also reiterated his support for Jubillee and its presidential ticket of President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy president William Ruto, emphasizing that he had no plan B outside of the Jubillee party, unlike his competitors who were already murmuring of abandoning the party.