Opposition outfit NASA has gained with key defections in the North Rift, which is also Deputy President William Ruto’s backyard.
The defections come at a time when the DP is hosting President Uhuru Kenyatta for Jubilee relection campaigns.
Eight allies of the DP, most of whom are former MPs, have joined campaigns for NASA presidential candidate Raila Odinga, who is expected to host several rallies in the region.
Those who have publicly announced they have joined NASA include Chesumei MP Elijah Lagat, former Ambassador Stephen Tarus, who is also a former Emgwen MP, former Eldoret South MP Peris Simam and Mosop ex-MP David Koech.
Others include former MP John Cheruiyot, former Army Commander General (Rtd) Augustine Cheruiyot and former Eldoret South MP Jesse Mais.
Some of them had participated in the Jubilee primaries but lost, complaining of flawed nominations designed to favour certain people.
Koech was an official of the Jubilee party.
The politicians confirmed to the Star that they had defected to NASA. “NASA is the winning team and its the way to go,” Mais said.
ODM Secretary for Devolution Kipkorir Menjo said, “They have decided to join the winning team. We are already working with them to ensure we penetrate this region that is wrongly perceived to be a Jubilee stronghold.”
Although most of them lost their seats, they are still influential within their areas and likely to play a key role in influencing locals to back the opposition.
“We are organising a forum where we will all meet and plan how to approach campaigns in the next weeks,” Menjo said.
NASA has appointed coordinators in all Rift Valley counties who will coordinate Raila’s presidential campaigns in the region.
Some of the counties will have two coordinators who will work with the national campaign secretariat in planning the rallies.
NASA has appointed Pius Kidombo and Daniel Saina to lead the campaigns in Nandi, while in Elgeyo Marakwet John Chebii will be the coordinator.
In Uasin Gishu, Menjo will be the coordinator, although he will also help in other counties.
“We will have coordinators in all the counties so we can easily plan our activities during the campaigns,” he said.
Other coordinators will also be deployed in all counties countrywide.
The coordinators will work with elders and other groups who have offered to help in popularising NASA.
NASA has however not fielded many aspirants in the region, although several have been cleared to vie.
They include Moira Chepkok who will be vying for the woman representative position in Uasin Gishu through ANC. Tom Murgor will be running for the Senate seat in the county on the ODM ticket. David Songok will vie for the Turbo MP seat on an ODM ticket.