Balancing equation dilemma for Ukambani hopefuls

By Mutuku Mwangangi
Monday, July 26th, 2021 00:00 | 2 mins read
From left: Governors Alfred Mutua (Machakos), Charity Ngilu (Kitui) and Kivutha Kibwana (Makueni). Photo/PD/File

The choice of running-mates will be a major headache for candidates seeking the  governorship  in the Ukambani counties of Machakos, Makueni and Kitui. 

Politicians wishing to succeed Makueni Governor Kivutha Kibwana include Senator Mutula Kilonzo Jnr, former KMTC chairman Philip Kaloki, Kibwezi West MP Patrick Musimba, Makueni County Woman Rep Rose Museo and Makueni county executive Robert Kisyula. 

Both Kaloki and Musimba come from Kibwezi West constituency while Museo hails from Kilombe whereas Mutula is a native of Mbooni.

Kaloki  considers Musimba as his biggest source of headache. Although the independent lawmaker has not publicly announced his gubernatorial bid his name has dominated talks on succession politics in the countless Makueni public spheres.

Both Musimba and Museo are advantaged to pick their running mates from various possible regions but are said to be rooting for candidates from Makueni, Kaiti or even Kibwezi East. 

Although Makueni MP Daniel Maanzo is said to  be eyeing senator post, Kaiti and Kibwezi East regions pose a better place to pick running mates for the duo. 

Makueni residents have argued that if the governor is picked from Kibwezi, then the senator and Woman Rep has to come from either Mbooni or Kilome regions.

Kibwana hails from Kibwezi west while his deputy Adelina Mwau hails from Kilome.

In Machakos, top gubernatorial contenders  in  Transport Chief Administrative Secretary Wavinya Ndeti, Mavoko MP Patrick Makau and Machakos County Assembly Speaker Florence Mwangangi hail from Mavoko sub-county leaving them with an option of selecting their running mates in the rural constituencies of Masinga and Yatta or even Kangumdo, Kathiani and Matungulu. 

In 2017, Ndeti who ran against Governor Alfred Mutua chose a deputy from Masinga constituency while Mutua who hails from Mwala picked his deputy  Francis Maliti from Yatta.

But residents of Machakos have ruled out electing a governor from Mwala; Mutua’s home constituency which also happens to be home for County Woman Rep Joyce Kamene.

Similarly, Maliti who hopes to succeed his boss next year will be forced to pick a deputy from urban sub counties of Machakos town and Mavoko in order to balance the equation.

Kitui County has a similar landscape after residents of the rural constituencies of Kitui East and Kitui Rural have factioned themselves as ‘Ndee Nation’ (border region) and are a factor in 2022 countywide pick.  

The gubernatorial seat has attracted at least five candidates who are: Former Governor Julius  Malombe, former MP Kiema Kilonzo, former Nairobi Deputy Governor Jonathan Mueke, former Senator David Musila and incumbent Charity Ngilu. 

Notably; both Ngilu, Mueke and Kiema come from the same constituency while Musila hails from Mwingi.

The people of the marginalized ‘Ndee’ regions have consistently bargained for a stake if any of the candidates was to get their votes. 

Mutuku Mwangangi

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