Soipan gets nod, vows to vie for gubernatorial seat

Narok County Woman representative Soipan Tuya addressing Journalists after being given the greenlight by family elders to run for gubernatorial seat. Photo By Ben Leshau

By Ben Leshau

Narok Woman Representative in parliament Soipan Tuya has now been given a nod by her family to vie for the gubernatorial seat.

So far it appears she will be the sole female aspirant for the seat and will battle it out with a battery of male aspirants most of them her colleagues in parliament.

Traditionally, women among the pastoral Maasai community are supposed to tend to house chores and child-bearing and it was almost taboo for one to oppose men for leadership positions.

Things have now changed and the female gender is sticking out its neck and turning political tables without feeling intimidated or pulled back by cultural biases.

Despite the great strides made, the question that remains is if the pastoral community is now ready for a female governor come 2022?

Tuya, the first woman in the county to go against the grain, has already declared her interest to succeed the incumbent –Governor Samuel ole  Tunai who is serving his last term.

“Today I hosted family elders and briefed them on my bid for the governor’s seat,” she stated Tuya recently.

She continued: “I am happy that they embraced it and gave me their blessings. I am now free to kick-start my campaigns as soon as the Covid-19 pandemic subsides.”

Legislator Tuya who is married to Naroosura/Majimoto MCA Stephen ole Kudate is the only female elected leader in Narok apart from the area Deputy Governor Evalyne Aruasa.

Addressing journalists at his Narok home, Tuya who is serving her second term in the position exuded confidence that she was in the gubernatorial race to win and overcome the stereotype that a Maasai woman cannot lead.

“I have done my level best with the Sh40million National Government Affirmative Action Fund (NGAAF) and that little money has been felt in every corner of this county,” she said.

The MP explained that with a budget of Sh10 billion allocated to the county, as a governor she will be able to transform the fortunes of Narok.

She, however, reiterated that she was not vying for the seat as
insurance in the event the Woman representative seat would be
abolished.

“With or without the passing of the BBI, I will be going for the seat and I am ready to face off with all the men. I want to be the first women governor in the pastoral Maa counties in the country. Women are good as men as far as leadership is concerned,” she affirmed.

The elders who endorsed the female gubernatorial seat aspirant said whe was equal to the task of the county’s top seat.

Led by Kudate family Chairman, Mr Lucas Kudate and Julius
Kudate (Vice-Chair) the elders explained that they deliberated on her ambitions and gave her the green light.

“Unlike before, the Maasai of today are liberated and have elected women leaders before and we are hopeful that they will give us the first female governor in Maasai land through Soipan. Today we gave her our blessings,” said Mr Kudate.

On his part, Julius warned Ms. Tuya’s competitors against using their gender cards to discriminate against her saying that their antics will not bear any fruit.

“We have seen women such as Tanzania’s Suluhu Hassan rise to serve as presidents. Is governor’s seat higher than the presidency?” posed Julius.

He added that women make better and credible leadership unlike men who have always been involved in graft,” he added.

Among those who have expressed their interest in the gubernatorial seat include Labour CAS Patrick Ntutu and legislators; GabrielTongoyo (Narok West), Dr Korei ole Lemein (Narok South) as well as Narok North legislator Moitalel ole Kenta. Others include the Sunkuli brothers, Youth PS Charles Sunkuli and Nairobi-based businessman Andrew Sunkuli.

The Sunkuli family has however split on the two aspirants where each has vowed to press on despite the family pushing for a single candidate.

The family elders met a few months ago and fronted Andrew to fly the flag and advised Charles who is a scholar to stay put in the national government.

On the other side, CAS Ntutu will be making his second stab at the seat after coming second to Tunai in the last elections.

Three of the aspirants, Ms Tuya, Tongoyo and Ntutu are close allies of Deputy President William Ruto and are likely to square it out in the newly-formed United Democratic Alliance (UDA) nominations.

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