When William Kamaket, the MP for Tiaty, held his homecoming party on Saturday last week, one man was missing from the high table. That man was Joseph Kipkoros Makilap.
Ordinarily, Makilap would have been very visible and very loud at such a function, which was attended by the who-is-who of Baringo politics and even beyond. But as it was, he was missing, having failed to dislodge incumbent William Cheptumo in the race for the Baringo North parliamentary seat.
In the scheme of things, Makilap should have gone to parliament at the same time as Mr Kamket, and that almost happened. Makilap lost narrowly to Cheptumo in a nail-biting finale that ended 12, 493 for Cheptumo and 12, 343 for Makilap.
And having foregone the chance to defend his MCA seat to run for parliament, he now finds himself in the cold politically at a time when Kamket is basking in glory.
Although Makilap and Kamket have rarely seen eye to eye over the last five years when they were both in the Baringo County Assembly, their lives are so full of coincidences that make their career path so similar.
In 2013, Makilap went to the assembly as the MCA for Barwessa Ward, a seat he secured partly through the help of the Kanu leadership, and got elected deputy majority leader, chairman PAC and PIC, again via help from his party’s leadership.
With those posts, only the Speaker, Kamket, would have stood on Makilap’s way when it came to the exercise of power. Mr Kamket himself had benefitted from Kanu help to secure the speaker’s seat. But if Kanu’s hope was to control the county’s legislative body using the two, that backfired badly, with the two men fighting it out all the way up to election time las year.
With their tenancy in the county assembly coming to an end, each man went to vie for a parliamentary seat in his constituency, Tiaty for Kamket and Baringo North for Makilap.
Come nomination time and Makilap suffered a setback when he reportedly fell out with Kanu supremo, Gideon Moi, forcing him to decamp to PDR party. That made his job difficult but he still managed to run a vibrant campaign.
He was off to a slow start when he started campaigning for the Baringo North parliamentary seat, but slowly gained momentum and a few weeks to elections appeared comfortably ahead of the incumbent, Mr Cheptumo.
But in the closing stages of campaigns, Cheptumo rallied back and clawed back some ground the he had lost to his challenger. Whether or not he regained sufficient ground to win is a matter that was taken to the High Court.
Makilap challenged Cheptumo’s win in court but the latter’s election was upheld, leaving Makilap to reflect on what might have been.
Makilap’s supporters still believe their man was robbed of victory, while those of Cheptumo believe he won fair and square.
What remains a fact is that Cheptumo is back to his seat and Makilap is now out, in all probability, for five years.
Makilap’s supporters believe 2022 will be a walkover while those Cheptumo are promising that their man will put Makilap where he belongs once and for all.
For the first time then, it can be argued, Kamket is ahead of Makilap by five years. Yet these two men have always been only a step ahead of or behind each other.
At school, was a year ahead of Makilap. Kamket went to Tenges High School in Baringo in 1989 while Makilap joined the neighbouring Sacho High School just one year later, in 1990.
Upon completing form four, Kamket went to the Kenya Institute of Mass Communication (KIMC), from which he graduated with a diploma.
Makilap, on his part, went straight to university but left to join Kagumo Teachers College to pursue a diploma course in teaching, when things did not work out in university.
Both men therefore ended up with diplomas, one in teaching, the other in journalism.
Kamket subsequently proceed to Makerere University for a bachelors degree, and the University of Nairobi for Masters. It is not clear if he has upgraded beyond his diploma in education.
Both men are go-getters bound to steamroller their way to their targets, flattening all obstacles on their way.
While Kamket comes from Tiaty, Makilap comes from the neighbouring Baringo North although he is widely believed to have roots in Tiaty, Kamket’s constituency.
But on Kamket’s day of glory, when the who is who of Baringo politics converged on Chemolingot, Makilap must have been asking himself how on earth he lost his own race in Baringo North on August 8 last year.