Inside Politics

Governor aspirants begin picks for running-mates

Monday, March 28th, 2022 07:00 | By
Mombasa Governor aspirant Suleiman Shahbal. PHOTO/Courtesy

Candidates for governorship seats have started unveiling their running mates for the August 9 elections.

 Their choices seem to have been driven by negotiated power deals involving clans as well as accommodation of minorities especially in the cosmopolitan counties.

 In Mombasa, ODM’s Suleiman Shabhal unveiled former cabinet minister Karisa Maitha’s sister, Selina Maitha Lewa as his running mate.

 Shahbal said the former government administrator was fit for the post.

 Shahbal insisted he was focused more on Lewa’s abilities as an individual rather than her family name or gender.

  “When seeking a deputy governor, you must keep it in the back of your mind that whoever you select could be the next governor in case of your death or anything. Select someone who is professional, competent and understands the agenda for Mombasa,” he said.

Shabhal’s move is seen as yet another tactic in the scramble for the vote-rich Mijikenda community distributed across all the six sub-counties of Mombasa.

 Mombasa has a total of 580,223 registered voters as per 2017 official Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) register where about 50 per cent of these voters are said to be from the Mijikenda community.

It is against the above backdrop observers argue that the Mijikenda factor will remain crucial in the Mombasa gubernatorial contest.

“Mijikenda are like the owners of Coast with Kwale in the South having two sub clans of Mijikenda that is Duruma and Digo and Kilifi in the north having the rest of the seven Mijikenda sub clans. Interestingly therefore you will find a lot of influence from the community either working or residing in Mombasa City. Any person who wants to become the next Mombasa governor will have to appeal to the Mijikenda vote,” Pwani University  Professor Halimu Shauri said.

Various aspirants

 In the past successive Mombasa governorship contests, various aspirants including Governor Joho, Shahbal, former Senator Hassan Omar, former Nyali MP Hezron Awiti have picked Mijikenda running mates to bolster their chances of winning the seat. 

In Machakos, former State House Chief-of-Staff Nzioka Waita settled on Machakos County Assembly Speaker Florence Mwangangi as running mate.

 Mwangangi, the mother of Health Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) Mercy Mwangangi was among those contesting for the seat.  The lawyer was a member of the first Judicial Service Commission under the 2010 Constitution representing women. She had previously toyed with the idea of running before the compromise last week to back Nzioka.

 Waita will be vying on the Chama Cha Uzalendo party ticket, an affiliate of the Azimio la Umoja Movement.

Besides Waita, others in the contest to succeed outgoing Alfred Mutua include Mavoko MP Patrick Makau, ex-CAS Wavinya Ndeti, Deputy Governor Francis Maliti, and former Senator Johnson Muthama the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) national chairman.

 Kisii county governorship aspirant Manson Oyongo, unveiled both his preferred  deputy and his choice for woman representative.

 Oyongo who is the Kenya National Congress ( KNC) party leader settled on  Dr Alfred Ndemo from Bogetutu clan and Julie Nyanchama ( Bonchari), saying he will work with a Senator  from another party.

  Speaking during a delegates meeting attended by aspirants for parliamentary seats and MCAs he said he has given other parties a chance to elect a Senator who can oversight him.

 “ I urge my agents to campaign for me at the grassroots so that I can win the seat and bring forward looking change. I implore voters to use their votes to bring a change through me,” Oyongo stated.

 Oyongo said if elected governor, he will form cooperative societies for youths and women to access interest free loans to invest to boost their lives, adding that the members will guarantee each other in the revolving fund.

 Oyongo will compete against Dagoretti North MP Simba Arati who has picked former Nyaribari Chache MP Robert Monda for running mate as well as UDA’s Ezekiel Machogu who will run alongside lawyer Ogamba Migosi from the Kitutu clan.

 The other candidate for the seat, Chris Obure, who hails from Bobasi constituency has picked civil servant William Mbaka from  the Kitutu  clan and Charles Onyancha (Bonchari) as running mate and Senator respectively.

  In Nairobi County, Bishop Margaret Wanjiru who is vying using the United Democratic Alliance ticket (UDA) has settled on Patrick Musili the Hospital Hill Ward Rep.

Wanjiru said she picked on Musili to ensure that she has garnered votes from Kamba community.

 “I have settled Musili since he is the best person to deliver me Kamba votes. With Kambas on board I believe I will be able to fill my basket and emerge victorious in the August polls,” said Wanjiru.

 The clan factor could also be a key factor in the choice for running mate in the cosmopolitan Kajiado county.

 Governor Joseph Ole Lenku who is facing stiff competition has decided to retain his Deputy Moshisho Martine to balance the clan matrix.

 The two major Maasai clans in Kajiado are Orok Kiteng’ (black cow) and Odomong’i (red cow).

 “ As a leader from the Maasai community it was clear to me that I must balance. Every clan must feel they are represented, that’s why I retained my DG since we come from different clans”, he said.

While Lenku hails from Orok Kiteng his deputy comes from the Odomong’i  clan.

 Kajiado South MP Katoo ole Metito and his Kajiado East counterpart Peris Tobiko, as well as former governor David Nkedianye have thrown themselves in the ring to square it out with him.

 Others said to be eyeing the seat include former National Transport Safety Authority (NTSA) boss Francis Meja and former Olkejuado county council chairman Taraiya ole Kores.

 For counties like Kirinyaga, the Governor Ann Waiguru will choose a new person since the current Deputy Peter Ndambiri has announced intentions to succeed her.

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