Governors pick scribes as running mates
Journalists dominated the list of individuals nominated as running mates for governor candidates.
Scribes were mainly beneficiaries of power-sharing deals meant to accommodate communities that could provide swing votes.
In Migori, former Cabinet Minister Dalmus Otieno (Jubilee) picked veteran journalist Maneno Mwikabe while United Democratic Movement candidate for Siaya Nicholas Gumbo went for David Ohito, a former editor at the Standard Group.
Otieno picked Mikwabe who ditched Migori ODM candidate Senator Ochillo Ayacko at the eleventh hour. Mikwabe is said to have changed his mind following consultations with Kuria elders. The arrangement has been that Luo and Kuria communities share key seats under a negotiated democracy.
Ayacko then settled on Dr Gimunta Mahiri to be his deputy.
It would be interesting to see what value he will add to Otieno’s camp, which has been struggling to endear itself to Kuria voters.
Mikwabe was one of the key campaign managers of Ayacko in the last General Election after he fell out with Migori Governor Okoth Obado where he was serving as the Minister for Trade and Industrialisation.
Former Migori MP John Pesa went in for Matiko Bohoko, another journalist who worked with the defunct newspaper Concord in Mombasa. He hails from Kuria.
Pesa said they will give both Ayacko and Otieno a run for their money on Democratic Action Party of Kenya. “We have already hit the campaign trail,” he asserted.
Pesa spoke as Mahiri stepped up campaigns for Ayacko in his electoral turf, urging the Abakuria to vote for them and ODM leader Raila Odinga for president.
Kuria community is seen as a strong voting bloc having added electoral numbers to over 100,000 from the last General Election.
The majority of voters from the community have been voting against the opposition. But even as candidates eye running mates from Kuria, an independent contender has opted for a deputy from Nyatike community.
Roby Okong’o from Awendo picked Dr Michael Owuondo, a lecturer at the Department of Geography at Moi University.
Okong’o yesterday said their candidature will cash in on the youth population.
More recently, young people in Migori have been at the forefront of some impressive economic and social justice forums.
“We want to build effective youth and adult relationships and provide new progressive ideas distinct from the old order,” Okong’o said.
Currently, young people aged 39 years make up more than a third of eligible voters in Migori, Siaya and Kisumu counties.
They are considered more ethnically diverse and liberal than older generations, with experts saying they could make a significant impact on this year’s elections.
In Siaya, Gumbo seconded Ohito after former Police Spokesman Charles Owino pulled out of the contest.
Gumbo termed the move as discreetly orchestrated by ODM mandarins to deny him a clear victory, but still exuded confidence that he enjoyed the critical mass to win.
Ohito’s choice must have been calculated to win members of his Ugenya constituency backyard.
Governors Alfred Mutua (Machakos) and Granton Samboja (Taita Taveta) are also journalists.
The other journalist who has been cleared is Francis Thoya, who will be Mvita MP Abdulswad Nassir’s running for the Mombasa governorship.
Nassir said his choice of Thoya came after extensive consultations and thorough vetting of various potential candidates.
Speaking while he was unveiled Thoya asked Mombasa residents to reject leaders who preach politics that could drive the residents along tribal and religious lines. “I took a break from politics to join the British High Commission in 2019 but just recently a group of elders and respected individuals from the county approached and asked me to come and help my brother Abdulswamad in this journey,” Thoya said.
In Kakamega, ODM candidate Fernandes Barasa says he settled on former Standard Group journalist and Lugari MP Ayub Savula as his running-mate to add “a political impetus” to his campaigns.
He said Savula understands the political terrain of the county has previously served as a journalist and is now an MP.
“Savula has been active in the political activities of Kakamega because he used to provide coverage for politicians when he worked as a news reporter,” Barasa said. “He gained experience that enabled him to successfully be elected MP for Lugari, not once but twice. So that experience is very valuable to our bid.”
He said Savula was also an astute businessman who could help him run affairs of the county effectively.
On his part, Savula said he would fully campaign for Barasa and also support him if they win in the August 9 elections.
“I have known Barasa for many years. He is a seasoned manager and I believe we shall win this seat and change the face of Kakamega,” he added.
Duo decided to join forces following a deal hammered by Azimio-One Kenya presidential candidate Raila Odinga, Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya and Defence Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa and Kanduyi MP Wafula Wamunyinyi.
Savula had earlier declared interest in the seat on DAP-K ticket after decamping from Amani National Congress in protest over the move by the Musalia Mudavadi-led party to join forces with Deputy President William Ruto.
In Uasin Gishu, independent candidate Zedekiah Bundotich alias Buzeki has unveiled his running mate ahead of the August 9 polls setting the stage for a bruising battle with Jonathan Bii alias ‘Koti Moja’ of United Democratic Alliance.
Buzeki yesterday unveiled Reuben Kipkosgei, a finance expert as his running mate even as he issued a warning shot to his opponents to prepare for a tough political duel.
“He rose from a classroom teacher, headteacher and a school manager for more than 17 years at Basic Education level to a part-time lecturer at the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology,” Buzeki said while unveiling Kipkosgei.
Kipkosgei works as Education Secretary and Property and Investment Coordinator at the Anglican Church of Kenya, Eldoret Diocese.
Kipkosgei said he hopes to use his expansive knowledge and experience in both the public and private sectors to solve managerial challenges facing the county.