Outgoing governors find it rough in battle for seats
Three outgoing governors found themselves in uncharted waters as they tried to seek other elective offices, losing resoundingly to their opponents during the Tuesday election.
The three — outgoing Busia governor Sospeter Ojaamong, his Makueni counterpart Kivutha Kibwana and Alex Tolgos of Elgeyo Marakwet — lost in their bids to seek seats in the senate and the National Assembly.
The biggest casualty was Prof Kibwana, who lost to outgoing Makueni MP Daniel Maanzo in the battle for the Makueni senatorial seat.
Maanzo had earlier vowed to beat Kibwana with more than 200,000 votes in the Makueni senate race, but not many of his friends and foes shrugged.
As the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) declared Maanzo the Makueni senator-elect yesterday, those who believed Kibwana, who has been hailed devolution champion, was indomitable, hung their heads low.
“Maanzo polled 146, 000 votes ahead of Kibwana who bagged 46,000 votes,” Makueni County Returning Officer Maurice Raria announced setting off, frenzied celebrations by the Wiper family and many unanswered questions by the supporters of Kibwana.
Whereas analysts are divided on whether voters rejected Kibwana because they didn’t understand his resolve to enter the senate race, there was a general consensus that Kibwana fell on Kalonzo’s sword.
Maanzo victory is partly attributed to a Wiper wave that raged across Ukambani where the party has delivered the governorship, senator and woman representative positions in Kitui, Machakos and Makueni counties in an unprecedented manner.
Maanzo and Senator Mutula Kilonzo Junior spearheaded a smooth campaign exclusively for Wiper candidates that saw them address countless rallies jointly and meet opinion leaders across the country.
Whenever he joined the Wiper campaigns, Kalonzo trained his guns on Kibwana. To the former vice president, Kibwana was the political ogre that needed to be eliminated.
As he drummed support for Maanzo, Kalonzo accused Kibwana and governors Alfred Mutua (Machakos) and Charity Ngilu (Kitui) of being out to undermine his chances of deputising Azimio presidential candidate Raila Odinga by creating the impression that the region was divided politically.
“They should be rejected at the ballot,” Kalonzo said as he wished Kibwana bad luck during his last rally at Wote Town where he drummed up support for the Wiper candidates.
Although Kibwana campaigned on the platform of protecting devolution gains and enhancing devolution in the county, the Wiper fraternity created the impression that he was on a mission to frustrate Kalonzo and Wiper leaders. This saw Kibwana belabor to fight sustained propaganda unleashed by Wiper against him.
As this was happening, the county boss had his underbelly exposed after many of his traditional support bases cast their lots with rival camps. Some of the insiders with whom he had fallen out include his deputy Adelina Mwau, Assembly Speaker Douglas Mbilu and former Water executive Rovert Kisyula.
Mwau contested the Makueni Woman Rep seat on a United Democratic Alliance (UDA) but lost to the incumbent Rose Museo of Wiper. Throughout the campaign period, Mbilu was the main figure in Maanzo’s campaign as Kisyula ran against his former boss. Throughout the campaign period, he faulted Kibwana’s candidature saying it was morally wanting.
Yesterday, Kisyula accused Maanzo of stealing the vote as he conceded defeat. He also blamed low voter turnout for his poor show. “There was a lot of voter bribery. Two of my challengers dished out handouts on the last two days. Whereas we wish the winners well, we should not celebrate them blindly. We shall hold the winners accountable,” he told reporters.
Tolgos on the other hand lost his bid to dislodge long serving Elgeyo Marakwet senator Kipchumba Murkomen.
Murkomen took to twitter to celebrate his victory stating thus; Thank you my people for re-electing me overwhelmingly by nearly 90 per cent of the total votes,” he stated.