1. Who is Peris Tobiko?
Peris Pesi Tobiko was born on November 16th, 1968 to a family of fourteen. His late father Mzee Tobiko ole Paloshe, though illiterate, ensured that he educated her despite calls to hand her over for marriage three times when she was between the ages of 11-and 18 years.
She is sister to Environment CS Keriako Tobiko and Richard Tobiko, the Nation Media Group finance director. She is married to Kishanto Ole Suuji, a banker she met at University who is currently a commissioner at The Commission on Revenue Allocation (CRA). She has four children and sources claim that she has two kids with Kishanto.
Peris Tobiko is a brilliant woman. Her educational excellence is impeccable. She started school at Mashuuru Primary School and acquired her Certificate of Primary Education (CPE) in 1981. She joined Moi Girs Secondary School Isinya for her Kenya Certificate of Education (KCE) between 1982 and 1985.
She attained The Kenya Advanced Certificate of Education (KACE) at Moi High School in Kabarak in 1987. She enrolled in the University of Nairobi in 1988 and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in 1992. She went on to further her studies in the same institution attaining a Master of Arts (Government/ International Relations) between 1993 and 1997.
Her employment history not only affirms her leadership qualities but has also made her rise to unimaginable levels only achieved by a handful. She was one of the three women featured in the Thomson Reuters Foundation documentary ‘When Women Rule‘ and is also one of 200 renowned Kenyan women featured in the 2019 book, Pioneers & Transformers: The Journeys of Top Achieving Women in Kenya.
Immediately after achieving her undergrad, she worked as a District Officer (D.O) in Embu in 1993. In 1994 and 1995 she became an Assistant Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock Development and Marketing. She went on to become a Benefits Manager in The National Social Security Fund (NSSF) between 1995 and 2007.
In 2007, she quit NSSF as a public servant and ran for the Kajiado East Member of Parliament office. She came in third.
In 2008, she became a member of Centre for Multiparty Democracy and then consulted with various Donor Agencies between 2000 and 2013. Between the years 2009 and 2011, she became a board member of The National Museums of Kenya and concurrently served as a Trustee of The Water Service Trust Fund (WSTF) in 2010 and 2011.
Her big break came between 2011 and 2012 when she served as the chairperson of the Tana-Athi Water Service Board. In 2013, she ran for the Kajiado East parliamentary seat once more and she became the first female Maasai Member of Parliament.
When she ran for the Kajiado East parliamentary seat on the Jubilee Party ticket, local Maasai elders held a ceremony to curse her and anyone who dared to vote for her since staunch cultural Maasai men think women should not lead. It came back as a shock in 2017 when she was re-elected for the same seat.
2. Political Dramas
Peris Tobiko has had a fair share of family feuds both in her nuclear and extended families. On October 8, 2021, the same day she ditched Jubilee Party for Ruto’s United Democratic Alliance (UDA), his husband caused chaos in the mainstream media claiming that she invited DP Ruto to his Ilporosat family home without informing him.
It is also alleged that she and her brother Keriako Tobiko are not on good terms due to their different political ideologies. Keriako Tobiko is at complete loggerheads with William Ruto, evidenced in the media. He tells Ruto that there is a shortage of fools in Kajiado, calling him a clerk and claiming that he is diving the Tobiko family.
More drama was caused during their father’s, Mzee Tobiko Ole Paloshe’s burial where according to kenyans.co.ke, it is said that Peris Tobiko and Kajiado Central MP Memusi Kanchori, never wanted the Kajiado Governor, Joseph Ole Lenku to speak in the burial.
His brother Keriako Tobiko claimed that Lenku had contributed generously towards the burial therefore he snatched the mic from Memusi and handed it over to Lenku. It is stated that Peris Tobiko, in the company of Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed, left the event immediately Lenku started to speak.
In January 2019, she was accused of inciting her community to violence. It was claimed that she incited retrenched staff of the East African Portland Cement against their former colleagues. She however said that she will continue to fight for human rights and will not be intimidated by anyone.
3. Her Political Prowess
According to IEBC, Kajiado East has a total of 102,804 registered voters. It comes second from Kajiado North with 127,953 voters. The Voter Distribution in Kajiado East is as follows:
- Kaputiei North Ward – 19,942 registered voters
- Kitengela Ward – 36,831 registered voters
- Oloosirkon/Sholinke Ward – 28,244 registered voters
- Kenyawa-Poka Ward – 9,812 registered voters
- Ilmaroro Ward – 7,975 registered voters
If Peris Tobiko won by 51% in her constituency, it means that she garnered a total of 52,430 votes if there was 100% voter participation. This is almost the entire number of registered voters in Kajiado Central (56,434 registered voters) and Kajiado South (59,976 registered voters).
Coming from an insanely patriarchial community where men have a monopoly on all decision-making processes, Peris Tobiko remains an enigma. If men were to vie for the Women’s Representative position in Kajiado, there would be no female leader in Kajiado. For Peris Tobiko to emerge the winner in such a society means that she is not just another “female icon” striding for recognition.
When she hosted William Samoei Ruto, in her Ilporosat family home she says, “Your excellency, hiyo nafasi nikipata tu, nikipata hiyo nafasi, huyo jamaa, ataona siku mrefu, ataona siku mrefu your excellency.” This loosely translates to, “Your excellency, should I get the opportunity (maybe the UDA nomination) that person (maybe referring to the incumbent Kajiado Governor Ole Lenku or one of her gubernatorial seat rivals) will face a very hard time beating me.”
The United Democratic Party (UDA) recently did its party nominations and her greatest rival the incumbent Kajiado South MP Katoo Ole Metito won the nominations with a whopping 72,679 votes. She came in second with 26,002 votes and the former Director-General of the National Transport and Safety Authority, Francis Meja came in third with 13,097 votes.
Tobiko and Meja both refuted the results saying that the nominations were not free and fair. She called it a shambolic and a shameful exercise in an interview she did with Citizen Tv.
On her Twitter account, she posted a video of a lady getting out white papers which seem to be the party’s nominations papers from her coat, and wrote, “Only those intent on deceiving themselves can refute the truth. The exercise in Kajiado was a sham tainted by an opponent who chose theft over honesty & misused people like this young lady who was found red handed with several pre-marked ballot papers. #PerisTobiko #UDA #Kajiado“
She posted yet another video of stapled pre-marked UDA nomination papers and wrote, “Katoo forcing his will on the people of Kajiado by stealing votes and robbing the voters their right to make their own decision is an embarrassment to the party, county and country at large. These were the pre-marked ballot papers found on his people. #UDANominations #PerisTobiko“
UDA Disputes Committee says that it received a total of 115 complaints two of which were from gubernatorial positions; in Uasin Gishu and Kajiado Counties. They stated that they are all under consideration and they will render a decision by Thursday 21st April 2022.
Should they dismiss the case and Katoo still wins, that will not be all for Peris Tobiko. Peris is a powerful politician who seems to know how to play her cards well. She is one secretive woman and I bet all other politicians eyeing the gubernatorial seat would really want her as their running mate.
Peris Tobiko is not on good terms with Lenku. They have in the past challenged each other’s leadership. In a video by Mutembei Tv, she claims that Ole Lenku has not planted a single tree, Kitengela is still struggling with water and immense dust and he cannot erect simple cabro roads let alone tarmacked ones.
Ole Lenku goes ahead to tell her that she should not divide Kajiado County as she did before with her friend, the former Kajiado County Governor, David Ole Nkedianye. In another video by NTV, Lenku says that Peris Tobiko just wants votes from the Kamba people but she does nothing for them.
Peris Tobiko has the fate to decide who the next governor will be. Besides her, there are three notable politicians eyeing the gubernatorial seat; the former Kajiado Governor, David Ole Nkedianye, the incumbent governor Joseph Ole Lenku and the Kajiado South MP Katoo Ole Metito.
Should Peris Tobiko decide to back any of the three as a running mate, there will be a very high probability that they would win. We all know that she is also not on good terms with Katoo following the recent UDA nominations and we would definitely think that if she were to back someone, that would be her friend Nkedianye as Lenku says. But there are no permanent enemies in politics, we have seen rival politicians make a truce.
If she decides to run as an independent candidate then the motto will change to, “every man for himself and God for us all!” Does the fate of the next Kajiado governor depend on who Peris Tobiko backs? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.
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