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Confusion in Trans Nzoia politics ahead of 2022 – Weekly Citizen

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The suspicion that Ford Kenya leader Moses Wetang’ula could endorse Kiminini MP Chris Wamalwa as the party’s flagbearer for the Trans-Nzoia’s governor race in the 2022 polls is the biggest puzzle thrown to William Ruto and Devolution cabinet
secretary Eugene Wamalwa as the duo strategise for control of the county. The likely endorsement of Chris could rekindle the 2013 and 2017 memories where Ford-K party settled on Governor Patrick Khaemba as its gubernatorial candidate throwing the party in disarray with its members before Khaemba emerged the winner in two consecutive general elections against fancied and experienced politicians such as Noah Wekesa. The question is: Could the 2013 and 2017 history repeat in 2022 for the Ford-K?

Patrick Khaemba

The Kiminini MP is serving his second term as he moves to face off with big guns such as Eugene, Rift Valley regional Commissioner George Natembeya, Ruto’s allies Abraham Sing’oei and Kakai Bisau and Ben Wanjala? Even as Wetang’ula seeks support within One Kenya Alliance with co-partners ANC party leader Musalia Mudavadi, Kalonzo Musyoka of Wiper and Kanu’s and Gideon Moi, in Trans-Nzoia as part of Western region, the DP and CS Wamalwa fight Ford-K dominance in Trans-Nzoia. By picking on the Kiminini MP to succeed Governor Khaemba, Wetang’ula will effectively be sending signals that Chris could also decide the fate of the five constituencies of Saboti, Endebess, Kwanza, Cherengany and Kiminini. The Building Bridges Initiative had proposed the creation of two additional constituencies in the county. This will make both DP Ruto and CS Wamalwa go back to the drawing board. Ruto is not leaving anything to chance with respect to his presidential ambitions while Eugene seeking to reclaim his lost glory for the national political clout.

Chris Wamalwa

Trans-Nzoia faces three political scenarios. The county is cosmopolitanism and politics of endorsement are fast stocking up as Governor Khaemba exits the scene without little hint of his probable successor. And thirdly, political parties are re-examining their performance in the last two general elections with Ford-K and Jubilee standing in the way to stop Raila Odinga’s ODM and Mudavadi’s ANC. The Jubilee leadership in the county is currently being held by CS Wamalwa after most of its leaders aligned themselves to the UDA, a party associated with DP Ruto. However, the CS is showing signs of shifting to another political outfit ahead of next year’s polls. UDA is currently causing sleepless nights to the Jubilee fraternity as it is likely to sway majority of its followers spearheaded by Allan Chesang’ who is eyeing to unseat Jubilee’s senator Mike Mbito in the forthcoming general elections. Already, Chesang’ has offered a building in the posh Kitale Milimani area which will house UDA’s county headquarters to rival the deserted Jubilee. But the UDA house started on the wrong footing when a group of drugged youths descended on it with stones over yet to be known reasons.

Eugene Wamalwa

The county’s 2022 politics are centered around four horses: the DP Ruto who has candidates in the area for various seats, Eugene interest in succeeding Governor Khaemba or opt for a parliamentary seat, the high-riding gubernatorial aspirant the Kiminini MP and Senator Mbito. Latest indications are that the first-term senator had shifted his goal posts from the governor’s race and decided to defend his seat with the bitterness of ensuring the downfall of Kakai Bisau against Eugene or Chris. Mbito was Bisau’s running mate in 2013 but as the duo fell apart with the former going solo to win the senate seat in 2017 things worsened when Bisau was hired to work in the DP’s office with whom the senator has also fallen apart. In the 2013 polls, Ford-K emerged the ruling party in the county through Khaemba and bagging parliamentary seats of Kiminini and Kwanza while the defunct New Ford Kenya NFK associated with CS Wamalwa became the majority party with URP then allied to DP Ruto as the minority. Wesley Korir made it as the only independent candidate in the county to win the Cherangany seat by unseating the fancied Joshua Kuttuny of URP. Kuttuny reclaimed the seat in 2017 on the Jubilee ticket.

George Natembeya

The two are now gearing up to wrestle each other next year with reports indicating that the former area MP Kipruto Arap Kirwa and Julius Tunduria are counting on the support of Ruto for the seat. Kanu did not win any seat in the two elections while ODM won Saboti through Caleb Amisi. Kanu has no county party officials except for the old few hangers-on who are ever squabbling over rent from the party’s assets and property in Kitale town. This is where party leader is to make any impact in the county. As Ruto puts his presidential case across the county, questions are being asked as to whether or not he will endorse Bisau or Sing’oei to face off with Eugene or Chris for the governor’s race. Eugene could drop his gubernatorial ambition for his ally the county assembly speaker Joshua Werunga. Can the DP also back either Kirwa or Tunduria to oust Kuttuny in Cherangany? Still can CS Wamalwa prop up Moses Lupao to remove Kwanza MP Ferdinand Wanyonyi and Alwin Sasia to vote out the Endebess legislator Robert Pukose, the DP’s right hand man in the area? Will Governor Khaemba back his deputy Stanley Tarus to take over him in 2022 or will he propel his finance CEC Boniface Wanyonyi and his predecessor Ben Wanjala to climb the ladder to the governor’s office?

Abraham Sing’oei

Can the governor sponsor county chief of staff Patrick Simiyu for his third trial for the Cherangany seat against the likes of lawyer Bernard Milimo being favoured by Chris seen as the front runner for the governor race? And further, can Chris back Joseph Pepela to become the next Saboti lawmaker on the Ford-K ticket against the party’s other aspirants such as William Nangulu and Jubilee’s Lazaro Wafula and for Robert Wekesa in Endebess against Paul Moiben? Saboti aspirant Wycliffe Pakachini says politics of endorsement has no place in Trans-Nzioa county and that the 2022 polls will be about competition. This is the same story for another Saboti aspirant Rodgers Bokose who says that the constituency should be contested by the residents and not outsiders. Ruto, Eugene, Chris and Wetang’ula have their own challenges to address and it will be up to the individual aspirants to up their campaigns. Except for Bisau who was recently endorsed by a section of Bukusu elders for the governor’s seat, Governor Khaemba’s former rivals including Andrew Wanyonyi, Wekesa, Moses Khaoya and Joel Gesuka have taken a back seat. In 2017, Ford-K cashed on the blunder by the Jubilee party in asking Sing’oei to pull out of the Kwanza parliamentary race which enabled Wanyonyi to have an easy ride defending the seat.

Kakai Bissau

All eyes are now set on Ford-K party which in its past elections considered some of its aspirants as special and handed them direct nominations and this time round Wetang’ula must follow the rules to avoid a fallout that is threatening to tear the party into pieces. But even as the political parties battle for supremacy in the 2022 polls, Ford-K and UDA fraternity concur that it would be suicidal for both groups to go against Wetang’ula and Ruto and for Weta, he stands better chance in the county owing to the recent win for the Kabuchai by-election in Bungoma. This has effectively put off the former UNCTAD secretary general Mukhisa Kituyi and his company who had planned to use Trans-Nzoia county as one of his campaign home ground. This effectively spells outright support for the Bungoma senator by the so-called deep state and alignment with the One Kenya Alliance. The Sabaot community is still adamant the additional of the two seats for Trans-Nzoia county as outlined in the BBI would be an added advantage to them. The community is banking on the Saboti MCA David Kaboloman as the favourite running mate of Chris or to be appointed in next government should the Kiminini MP become the next governor.

Mike Mbito

A prominent women leader Naomi Okul is still hopeful that the Court of Appeal will annul the judgment of the High Court that declared the BBI illegal and open up to more constituencies to allow her contest the proposed Kitale Town seat. Chris walks away from Kiminini constituency politics well knowing that Ford-K will retain the seat in 2022 with the possible party nominations that may bring together the area MCA David Kisaka and a newcomer Joseph Wafula. This is also the same for Kwanza constituency where the Kiminini MP has a sizeable following. But the mood in Kwanza seems to call for a fresh parliamentary representation arguably for youthful politicians with respect to Moses Lupao and minority leader Emmanuel Waswa. Back in Kiminini, insecurity remains the main challenge both MCA Kisaka and Wafula, a vet, and this could be the main agenda for the residents as they Chris. The voters are also yearning for piped water and improved infrastructure in primary schools to cope up with the students’ fast-growing population.

Allan Chesang

In the neighbouring Saboti with 76,802 voters, all is up for grabs with Amisi fighting the mother of all battles to retain the seat while in Endebess with less than 47,000 voters Pukose could have little resistance to make a third win since the creation of the constituency. Cherangany seat remains the tricky one with aspirants keeping their fingers crossed. With a total of 76,506 voters, the area has proved to be a hotbed with the likes of Kuttuny and Kirwa and lately the influx of the younger generation of the Ford-K politicians. A political analyst Vincent Rono from Cherangany, however, says any aspirant who will defend the interests of the local dairy and maize farmers will have an upper hand adding that Kirwa had attempted to achieve this while serving as the cabinet minister for Agriculture but failed midway. And for ex-MP Korir, he had managed to install milk coolers in the area with the assistance of American donors. The senate seat has not attracted much sparkle with the incumbent Mbito expected to make a return match but with the youthful Chesang’ putting up a spirited war. Others in the race for the senate are Kanu’s Nixon Mutuku, Richard Chesebe, Ken Simiyu, Alex Matere and Henry Ole Ndiema. The women rep Janet Nangabo is facing accusations of having abandoned the female gender for her personal gains.



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