Nyamira governor seat attracts eight contestants
The race for Nyamira County governorship has gained momentum, with clannism set to play a major role in determining the winner.
Governor Amos Nyaribo will be seeking re-election on the Progressive Alliance Party (UPA)after he ditched Amani National Congress (ANC), which sponsored his candidature in the last General Election.
Other aspirants are Walter Osebe Nyambati (UDA), Ben Momanyi (Wiper), Timothy Bosire (ODM), Joseph Kiangoi (ANC), Reuben Marwanga (Kanu), Mwancha Okioma (Jubilee) and James Kemoni (PNU).
Five of the eight aspirants have already named their running mates.Dropped ambition
Nyaribo has picked former West Mugirango MP James Gesami as his deputy, while Nyambati has named Ereneo Nyakiba after the latter dropped his governorship ambition.
Momanyi, who is the Borabu MP, has settled on Tom Otuto from West Mugirango.
For the past 10 years, Otuto has contested the seat unsuccessfully.
Kiangoi, who is a former North Mugirango MP and assistant minister for Local Government, has picked banker and entrepreneur Julius Mokogi as his running mate.
“My deputy and I have wide experience in both the national government and the corporate world. Given a chance, Nyamira will shine,” Kiangoi told his supporters .
Okioma, who contested the seat in the last polls but lost to John Nyagarama (deceased), has settled on Moi University lecturer Charles Nyandusi as his deputy. Those yet to name their running mates include Bosire, Marwanga and Kemoni.
Clannism is expected to play a central role in the contest. The county has two main clans: Abagetutu and Abagirango. Twice, the Abagirango have outdone the Abagetutu, with the election of Nyagarama.
Nyaribo, Momanyi, Kiangoi, Kemoni and Marwanga are from Bogirango clan while Nyambati, Bosire and Okioma are from Bogetutu. Interviews revealed that Nyaribo, Nyambati, Momanyi, Bosire and Okioma are the front-runners.
Disappointment over chaotic primaries — which made some aspirants become independent candidates, could also tilt the contest.
Nyambati (UDA) and Bosire (ODM) have urged residents to reject aspirants trumpeting the clan factor. Addressing boda boda riders at Rangenyo in West Mugirango constituency on Monday, Nyambati accused Nyaribo of fanning clannism.
“Elect leaders based on competence and performance; not on clan lines,” Nyambati told the riders.
Bosire echoed the sentiments, saying clan politics had adversely affected development in the county.
“We are asking our people to discard clannism. Reject leaders dividing the county,” Bosire said.
Nyaribo’s administration is also accused of investing resources from Nyamira in nearby Kisii county.
“We need a governor who can change the culture where workers take money from Nyamira to invest in other counties. Some county workers are also operating from Kisii, affecting service delivery”, resident John Ogwora said.
Big task ahead
Governor Nyaribo has a big task of convincing residents to re-elect him following accusations of mismanagement of county resources and poor health services. A number of county employees have also ganged up against him after he attempted to demote them five months ago.
Members of the county assembly also accuse him of failure to release bursary funds in time. “We are asking the governor to release the money in a week, failing which we will tell beneficiaries to camp outside his office,” said Duke Masira, the county’s majority leader.
But Nyaribo blamed the national Treasury for the delay. “We received the money two weeks ago and are currently disbursing the funds to various institutions,” Nyaribo said.
He added that MCAs take too long to submit the required information on the beneficiaries. “The MCAs are not honest. They are merely inciting the public against my administration,” he said.
Nyaribo asked the MCA’s to stop blaming him for their political failures in their respective wards.