The entry of William Ruto in Gusii politics through a new party come the 2022 general elections has hit a snag following the disagreements between regional point man Joash Maangi who is also the Kisii deputy governor and other frontrunners who were riding on the deputy president’s back.
Maangi has of late been dismissing Ruto’s former close ally and Nyaribari Masaba MP Ezekiel Machogu who is keen on succeeding Governor James Ongwae forcing a number of elected and nominated MPs and MCAs to jump ship.
The Kisii deputy governor who has been boasting to be the Kisii regional kingmaker having brought on board the deputy president prior to the last general elections where he left former senator Chris Obure and women representative Mary Otara in the political cold has this time round been abandoned by his close associates who are dancing with the governor.
Maangi, now the Kisii political watermelon is running out of options and is of late been trying to get the attention of Interior cabinet secretary Fred Matiang’i by camping at Harambee House with a promise to court him and sway the Kisii votes to his side. Maangi is said to be worried about his political future.
Surprisingly, the CS has been avoiding Maangi due to his association with Ruto. At one time after waiting for hours without success, the deputy governor was overheard saying omuntu oyo nigo atindete nechinguru, meaning this man is drunk with power.
This is due to his behaviour prior to the last general election where he claims to have helped Governor Ongwae carry the day against the Jubilee wave which brought on board retired politician Simeon Nyachae’s family coupled with hefty financial handouts. But his critics aver that he is a politically spent force who has failed to utilize his golden opportunity by working with his boss who has joined Uhuru Kenyatta.
From the deputy governor’s Bomachoge clan, Ongwae has joined hands with the majority and minority leaders in the Kisii county assembly, Timothy Ogugu and James Ondari, where they have managed to implement several development projects.
Maangi is known to have gone missing from the political scene since last December where he eventually failed to attend the first BBI consultative forum attended by a number of leaders from Kisii and Luo regions led by opposition leader Raila Odinga. The self-proclaimed kingpin has suffered major blows including a number of security personnel seconded to him opting to go back to uniform.
Having realized that the political ground is not fertile for them, Ruto has reassembled his arsenal where he is prepared to take on Uhuru Kenyatta’s choice when his presidential term comes to an end where they have organized for elections of officials across the county with Maangi being the Nyanza regional organizing secretary.
Among the MPs who are currently with the Kisii deputy governor are Bomachoge Chache MP Alpha Miruka, South Mugirango MP Silvanus Osoro and West Mugirango MP Kemosi Mose who have been accused of misleading the deputy president for personal survival.
Maangi’s shortfalls also range from his failure to meet Obure and former South Mugirango MP Manson Nyamweya, Kisii county women representative Janet Ong’era and Dagoreti North MP Simba Arati who have been forging a Gucha alliance so that the region can benefit from the coveted seat which has been in the Kisii side for the two consecutive terms.
According to an insider from the deputy governor’s handlers, Maangi recently had a night meeting in Kisii where he dismissed Sam Ongeri, Obure and Manson as outdated leaders and Arati as a Nairobi political hooligan who only enjoys support from boda boda riders.
This now leaves Machogu as the only competitor in the eyes of Maangi but he has termed him a walkover since he is only known in Nyaribari Masaba. The return of Machogu in the system has forced the political schemers to go back to the drawing board with those who had proposed Senator Ongeri to succeed Ongwae with Kitutu Chache South MP Richard Onyonka being his running mate designate.
Onyonka’s plan is to have the aged Ongeri win and inherit the seat in case something happens midterm. Being senile, even if in office for a full term, Onyonka as deputy will be the de facto governor.
Machogu was elected on the little known National Alliance Party of Kenya ticket and has since been working on various development projects to counter the former regimes with schools, roads and electricity being top of his priorities.
If he goes on with the so-called Jubilee Asili Alliance, then Maangi will face the worst in his political experience since the team which is prepared to take over from governor Ongwae has so far kicked off their political journey, and the deputy governor’s remaining lieutenants will be abandoning him one by one since the ground will not be all that welcoming. Arati’s entrance has been received with mixed reactions in the county.
His camp says he has the support from ODM leader Raila Odinga. The Arati Tosha team leaders are Rogers Ongeri and Eric Onchonga. Also in the race are Gusii Governance Civil Society Organisation Secretary Rachel Otundo, former South Mugirango MP Manson Oyongo and lawyer Lumumba Nyaberi.