“A man could not rise beyond the destiny of his chi. The saying of the elders was not true—that if a man said yea his chi also affirmed. Here was a man whose chi said nay despite his own affirmation” – Chinua Achebe, Things Fall Apart.
Former ODM Executive Director Magerer Langat appears undecided over his political life in the Jubilee Alliance after he missed the coalition’s ticket to contest Kericho by election. Magerer, a former assistant minister in the Grand Coalition government and MP for Kipkelion fell out with ODM after he was quoted dismissing the Orange Party in a meeting he had gone to represent the party in October 2014.
The appointment as ODM Executive Director in July 2013 to take over from Janet Ongera who had bagged a nomination to senate was a reward to his loyalty to the party. Alongside former minsiters Franklin Bett (who has since quit politics), Prof Margaret Kamar, Dr. Sally Kosgei, Henry Kosgey and Musa Sirma; Magerer crumbled with the rise of William Ruto’s United Republican Party, which swept Kalenjin Rift Valley especially Nandi, Uasin Gishu, Bomet and Kericho counties.
Rather than use the new position as the head of ODM to rebuilt, recruit and rebrand the party, Magerer evolved into a double agent, leaking ODM strategies to the party’s opponents and using the party’s resources to destroy the party from within. At a Nakuru meeting between IEBC officials and political parties representaives in October 2014, Magerer shocked the participants by declaring ODM Party ‘dead’, despite being the party’s representative during the meeting. His comments were captured on video and audio which, the next day, reached ODM supporters. Enough was enough. It didn’t take long before he was tossed from ODM.
The ejection from ODM marked the final precipice of Magerer from grace to grass. Initially welcomed with open arms in JAP, it wasn’t long before he was pushed to the periphery of the outfit. No one, it turned out, wanted to trust someone who was so foolhardy as to openly dismiss a party he purpoted to represemt. The Nakuru incident was still very recent in people’s memories; and Jubilee participants in the meeting became wary of his presence in their party.
Kericho by-election came after President Uhuru nominated Senator Charles Keter to the cabinet. Magerer, fresh in JAP, threw himself in the ring. Joining him was Franklin Bett, who, as Chairman of ODM National Elections Board, had deliberately bungled both ODM nominations and elections in 2013 in what sources said was a ‘well paid’ service rendered to the Jubilee. It turned out Bett had prior to the election cut deal with Jubilee for a ‘safe landing’, being a man not used to staying ‘in the cold’ of politics. Whatever Bett did, or did not do, we may never know, only that he left ODM Party worse than he found it.
The two were defeated by a political novice called Aaron Cheruyiot, a former Moi University student leader in his late 20s. They both promised to ‘work together’ with the young man but the defeat weighed heavily on Franklin Bett, a former state house Comptroller and minister. He announced he’d quit ‘active politics’ soon after. Magerer Langat, however, still fairly young, has remained in the scene, albet, in worse form and shape. He looks battered.
Yesterday, in his most recent public appearance soon after losing the JAP nominations – bungled for the young man – he was hobnobbing with Bomet Governor Isaac Rutto who has just exacted a landslide victory against DP William Ruto in the Nyangores ward by election. Perharps, in Isaac Rutto, he now has a fighting chance, something which had increasingly eluded him ever since he was frogmatched out of ODM, for disloyalty.
Magerer, for all the sweet dalliance with Jubilee, is one foot out of the outfit. Remarkable.