Stephen Kanyinke ole Ntutu ventured into politics in 1997 when he won the Narok South parliamentary seat from the incumbent, Samson ole Tuya. The following year, President Daniel arap Moi appointed him as an Assistant Minister in the East African Community.
Born on 1 January 1958 in Narok District (now known as Narok County), Ntutu attended Ole Sankale Primary School in Narok between 1970 and 1976 before joining Kilgoris Secondary School in 1977. After completing his Form Four his father, Lerionka ole Ntutu, a one-time Senior Chief, tasked him with managing his vast property, which included land holdings.
His father was a polygamist with several wives and 72 children, and was also a close friend of Moi. It was this friendship that led Ntutu senior to bow to pressure and give his son permission to venture into politics after Maasai elders prevailed upon him to do so.
The former MP’s younger brother, Kitilai Ntutu, recalled that their father was not too keen on the idea at first.
“Our father did not want to let him join active politics. He wanted him to continue managing his property. He gave in after the pressure became too intense for him to handle,” said Kitilai, who himself unsuccessfully vied for the Narok South seat on a KANU party ticket in the 2017 General Election.
In October 2001, Moi appointed Ntutu as Minister for Tourism. At the time, his ministers were defecting from the ruling KANU to opposition parties in an effort to secure their political future. Ntutu went on to be re-elected in Narok South and subsequently served in President Mwai Kibaki’s Cabinet. He is renowned for his fierce engagement with William ole Ntimama, a former MP and Cabinet Minister, over Maasai leadership.
Another of Ntutu’s brothers, Patrick Ntutu, is the immediate former MP for Narok West and ran, albeit unsuccessfully, for the governorship of Narok County in 2017.