18 pioneer governors who lost seats 2017 seek comeback in August polls
At least 18 pioneer governors who lost their seats in the 2017 are seeking a comeback in next month’s General-Election.
The former governors are banking on the networks they established when they were at the helm and their development record while in office.
They, however, have to work harder to ward off challenges from opponents who are out to exploit their shortcomings during their first term.
One of the would-be comeback kids is the first Council of Governors (CoG) chairman Isaac Ruto who lost the Bomet seat to Joyce Laboso in the last election.
Laboso died in July 2019 and was replaced by her deputy Hillary Barchok who is defending the seat on a UDA ticket.
Like in the last election, Ruto is running on his Chama Cha Mashinani party ticket. Unlike 2017, however, the party is affiliated to Deputy President William Ruto’s camp.
In the last election, the party was part of the Nasa coalition which did not resonate well with a majority of voters in the Rift Valley region.
Bomet, like most Rift Valley counties, is a stronghold of the Deputy President who is running for the presidency on a UDA ticket and leads the Kenya Kwanza Alliance. Chama Cha Mashinani is an affiliate of the alliance.
Ruto is riding on the slogan Taret Taret, which loosely means it does not matter what level one ended their education as the governor would ensure they are hired in his administration so long as they have a skill.
“I’m the leader of everyone, those who have gone to school and those who have not. The graduates and those who didn’t go to school,” he said in Chepalungu last Saturday.
Former Kitui Governor Julius Malombe, who lost to Charity Ngilu five years ago, is also seeking a comeback using a Wiper Party ticket.
Recently, the path to the seat was smoothened for him when Governor Ngilu dropped out of the race. Azimio presidential candidate Raila Odinga promised her an appointment in his administration if he wins next month’s election.
Ngilu defeated Malombe in 2017 in a stiff competition that saw the former scrape through, becoming one of only three women to be elected governor. Others were Laboso and Kirinyaga’s Anne Waiguru.
Malombe is, however, facing former Nairobi Deputy Governor Jonathan Mueke of UDA, former Kitui Senator David Musila on a Jubilee ticket and one-time Kenyan ambassador to Uganda Kiema Kilonzo.
In Homa Bay, former Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero has pitched tent in the rural county after transferring his ambitions from the city. He is vying as an Independent after being elbowed out of the ODM nominations.
Kidero is facing Woman Rep Gladys Wanga who was given direct nomination by ODM, a decision that Kidero and others protested.
Kidero, who won ODM the city governor’s seat in 2013, hopes to successfully ride against the party’s popularity in the Nyanza region.
“The people have erupted! Their eruption is a demonstration of a burning desire to embrace change in Homa Bay,” he said during a recent campaign event in Karachuonyo constituency.
Senate Speaker Kenneth Lusaka is also in the race to recapture the Bungoma seat which he lost in 2017 to Wycliffe Wangamati.
Lusaka, who is the UDA candidate on a Ford Kenya ticket, is determined to turn the tables in his favour this time around. Wangamati is defending the seat on DAP-K ticket, an Azimio-One Kenya affiliate.
The Speaker has labelled his campaign the “Second Coming of Lusaka”.
“Hundreds of workers employed by my government have suffered, have been punished because they were employed by my administration. This is not right, I will not do this when I take over,” he said on Saturday.
In Kiambu, first Governor William Kabogo hopes to rise again to the helm of the county leadership after he was defeated in 2017.
The Tujibebe Wakenya party leader is in a heated battle with four others in the race to fill the seat currently held by James Nyoro who occupied it after the impeachment of Ferdinand Waititu.
Nyoro is defending the seat on a Jubilee ticket, UDA is sponsoring Senator Kimani Wamatangi while Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria is vying on his Chama Cha Kazi party ticket. Thika Town MP Patrick Wainaina Jungle is an independent candidate while Mwende Gatabaki is flying the Safina Party’s flag.
In Isiolo, former Governor Godana Doyo wants to recapture the seat that he lost in the last election.
He is an independent candidate in a race seen as open after Governor Mohammed Kuti opted not to go for re-election owing to illness.
In Kajiado, David Nkedianye (Jubilee) is eager to beat Governor Joseph Ole Lenku (ODM) who ousted him in 2017.
In Kisumu, former Governor Jack Ranguma has won the support of some renegade ODM lawmakers who are fronting his candidature against Governor Anyang’ Nyong’o.
Ranguma aims to exact revenge on August 9 on Movement for Growth and Democracy ticket. Like Kidero, he has to contend with ODM’s tide in the backyard of Azimio presidential candidate Raila Odinga.
Former West Pokot Governor Simon Kachapin is too determined to pay back Governor John Lonyangapuo, who beat him in the last election, in his own coin.
He is vying on a UDA ticket, Lonyangapuo is the Kenya Union Party candidate while Nicholas Atundonyang represents Kanu.
In the neighbouring Baringo, ex-Governor Benjamin Cheboi successfully cleared the first hurdle by winning the UDA ticket in the April nominations.
However, he faces opposition from incumbent Stanley Kiptis and Eldama Ravine MP Moses Lessonet, both who went Independent after losing in the UDA nominations.
Founding Governor of Nandi Cleophas Lagat is also on a mission to re-occupy the seat. He lost in the UDA nominations to his successor Stephen Sang but picked an Independent ticket.
In Tana River, Hussein Dado was handed the UDA ticket to battle for re-election against incumbent Dhadho Godhana of ODM.
Former Governors Joseph Ndathi and Joshua Irungu are eyeing the Kirinyaga and Laikipia seats respectively.
Ndathi is on The Service Party ticket while Irungu (UDA) is running against incumbent Ndiritu Muriithi of Jubilee.
At the Coast, ex-county bosses Issa Timamy (Lamu, ANC) and John Mruttu (Taita Taveta, UDA) are also eyeing their former positions.
In Garissa, former Governor Nathif Jama got the ODM ticket in the race to win back the seat he lost five years ago while Ahmed Abdullahi (also of ODM) is attempting the same in neighbouring Wajir.
They both got direct party tickets but face formidable opponents including incumbents on other Azimio affiliates and UDA.a