Linah Kilimo

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Linah Jebii Kilimo (born October 22, 1963) is a Kenyan politician who was an MP for Marakwet East constituency from 2002 to 2012. She first ventured into politics in 1997 by contesting the parliamentary seat on a KANU ticket, but lost to John Kiptoo Marrirmoi during the party primaries. She defected to Charity Ngilu's SDP but her campaign didn't gather sufficient momentum because of KANU's dominance in the region. However, she managed to unseat Marrirmoi in the 2002 general elections on a NARC ticket.[1]

In 2005, she opposed the Constitutional Referendum,[2] a de facto vote of no confidence in the Kibaki government.[3] When the government lost the referendum vote, she was removed from the Cabinet alongside high-profile politicians such as Raila Odinga and Kalonzo Musyoka.[4]

The defeat of the government marked the birth of Orange Democratic Movement (ODM),[5] the largest political party (as at 2013 general elections). She was reluctant to join the newly formed party (ODM) possibly because of her experience in the way party nominations are conducted. Indeed, in 2007 she defended her seat on a KENDA ticket, thus, avoiding any party nominations.

Her tactic of avoiding party nominations paid off because she managed to retain her parliamentary seat. When ODM held its primary nominations in the constituency, the results were disputed, leading to a bitter rivalry between the supporters of Sammy Tangus and Charles Yano. The former was given the ODM ticket while the latter defected to ODM-K. It is believed that a significant number of Yano's supporters switched allegiance to Kilimo just to "prevent" Tangus from winning the general elections.[citation needed]

2007 General Election Results
Candidate Party Number of Votes
Linah Jebii Kilimo KENDA 9,206
Sammy Kiprotich Tangus ODM 7,418
Charles Kimutai Yano ODM-K 6,344

Although Kilimo lost her seat in the 2013 elections, she is still a force to be reckoned with. In fact, if it were not because of a 'spoiler' running in her stronghold, she would have retained the seat.

2013 General Election Results
Candidate Party Number of Votes
David Kangogo Bowen URP 11,599
Linah Jebii Kilimo TNA 9,195
Sammy Kiprotich Tangus KNC 3,272
Other candidates 850

Major Achievements

  1. Marakwet-Pokot Peace Deal. Kilimo was one of the regional leaders who brokered the Marakwet-Pokot peace deal, popularly known as the Kolowa Declaration. The Marakwet and Pokot ethnic groups were in a bitter war between 1991 and 2001 over cattle rustling. Thousands of lives were lost as a result of fighting. The war was hardly reported in the mainstream media possibly because of government censorship. In 2002, Kilimo brokered a peace deal, which ended the fighting.[6] Sporadic attacks still occur, but they are not as deadly as those of 1990's.
  2. Tarmac Road. Kilimo used her influence in government to tarmac the Kapsowar-Chesoi-Tirap road. The road between Chesoi and Embobut was virtually impassable since independence. However, the election of Kilimo brought new changes to the region. It is now possible for public service vehicles to operate between Embobut and Kapsowar.
  3. Electric Grid Expansion. During Kilimo's tenure, the national grid was extended from Kapsowar to Tirap. The Chesegon region was also connected to the Turkwel-Eldoret power grid.
  4. Reduction in Female Genital Mutilation Cases. Kilimo has been instrumental in eradicating female genital mutilation. She brought the issue to the national limelight during her first term as an MP.[7] Her stance on the issue backfired immediately in her village because the practice is still considered sacred. She had to backtrack in order to save her political career. In spite of this setback, she has managed to influence many families who would have otherwise allowed their daughters to be circumcised.

Major Failures

  1. Misappropriation of Constituency Development Funds. When Kilimo was first elected as the MP for Marakwet East Constituency, the constituency was ranked 4th out of 210 in terms of best utilization of funds from the CDF kitty. However, things gradually took a new turn during her second term as MP. The constituency was the worst in terms of the utilization of CDF.[8]


  1. ^ Ng'etich, Philimon Suter And Peter (2007-07-02). "Kenya: Six Men Ranged Against Mrs Kilimo in Marakwet". The Nation (Nairobi). Retrieved 2016-09-30.
  2. ^ Andreassen, Anders (2006). Of Oranges and Bananas: The 2005 Kenya Referendum of the Constitution (PDF). Bergen, Norway: CMI. p. 6. ISBN 82-8062-159-8.
  3. ^ "BBC NEWS | Africa | Q&A: Kenya referendum". Retrieved 2016-09-30.
  4. ^ "BBC NEWS | Africa | Kenya's entire cabinet dismissed". Retrieved 2016-09-30.
  5. ^ Nyamori, Moses. "How referendum campaigns gave birth to ODM". Retrieved 2016-09-30.
  6. ^ Elfversson. "Peace from below: Governance and peacebuilding in Kerio Valley, Kenya" (PDF). Journal of Modern African Studies. 54 (3).
  7. ^ "Taking Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting Out of the Cultural Mosaic of Kenya | UNFPA - United Nations Population Fund". Retrieved 2016-09-30.
  8. ^ Kiplang'at, Jeremiah. "Sh380m CDF cash misused, says report". Retrieved 2016-09-30.