New record holders in 13th Parliament

The re-election of Bungoma senator Moses Wetang’ula, Eldas MP Adan Keynan and his Kapenguria colleague Samuel Moroto in the recently concluded elections now makes them the longest-serving MPs in the 13th Parliament.

While Mr Wetang’ula will be serving his sixth term, Mr Keynan and Mr Muoroto will be in their fifth terms. Mr Wetang’ula was first nominated by Kanu after the 1992 election, serving until 1997.

He was in the political cold between 1997 and 2002. During the December 2002 election, he was elected to represent Sirisia constituency and re-elected in 2007 for another five-year term that ended in 2013.

He served as Minister for Foreign Affairs from 2008 to 2010 and from 2011 to 2012, and for Trade from 2012 to 2013.

He was elected Bungoma senator in 2013 and re-elected in the 2017 and 2022 general elections.

Mr Keynan, 54, was first elected to Parliament as Wajir West MP on the Safina party ticket in 1997, serving until 2002.

He lost in the 2002 General Election but recaptured the seat in the 2007 on a Kanu ticket, serving until 2013.

Mr Keynan then moved to Eldas constituency that was carved from Wajir West. He was re-elected to the 11th Parliament on ODM and 12th and now 13th parliament on the Jubilee Party.

Mr Muoroto was first elected Kapenguria MP under Kanu in 2002 and has served nonstop since.

Mr Keynan says that politics in Kenya is unpredictable, noting that being a legislator has unique and underlying characteristics depending on personality and party.

“Politics has two aspects—pleasure and pressure. You have to strike a balance between the two. Expectations are always high, but you must be accessible to the people who sent you to articulate their issues.”

Mr Keynan said and Mr Muoroto got the elevation as Kenya’s current longest-serving MPs after their colleagues in the 12th Parliament and who were doing their fourth terms or more, either got elected as governors and senators, or lost in the August 9 General Election.

Mr Maoka Maore (Igembe North), Dr Naomi Shaban (Taveta), Mr Katoo ole Metito (Kajiado South), Mr Wafula Wamunyinyi (Kanduyi), Mr Maina Kamanda (nominated), Cecily Mbarire (nominated) and Mr Gideon Konchella (Kilgoris) were some of the MPs in their fourth terms in the 12th parliament.

They, however, either failed to defend their seats or did not get elected for the other positions they contested.

Ms Mbarire was elected Embu governor, with Mr Maore, Mr Wamunyinyi and Dr Shaban failing to defend their parliamentary seats.

Mr Metito and Mr Konchella were floored in their bids for Kajiado and Narok governorship respectively and Mr Kamanda did not run for any seat in the concluded elections.

Former senators James Orengo (Siaya) and George Khaniri (Vihiga) would have been the longest serving living MPs in Kenya had they opted to defend their parliamentary seats.

The two were in their sixth terms in the 12th parliament.

While Mr Orengo got elected Siaya governor, Mr Khaniri’s governorship bid for Vihiga County fell through. Interestingly, the two first went to Parliament through by-elections.

Although Mr Orengo has had his time disrupted twice by election losses since he was first elected in 1980, Mr Khaniri has served uninterrupted terms since 1996 when he came in through by-election to inherit the seat left by his father following his death.

Mr Khaniri first served as MP for Hamisi constituency and then got to the Senate in 2013.

Mr Khaniri says that it is hard to get elected to Parliament and even harder to defend a seat.

“When my father died, I didn’t have the kind of money that politicians splash around but people took me as one of their own,” said Mr Khaniri.

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