Counties face crisis as senior officials quit to join politics

Thursday, January 27th, 2022 05:41 | By
Former Rift Valley Regional Commissioner George Natembeya. PHOTO/COURTESY

Regional governments are facing a huge crisis as senior officials comply with the law to resign and join politics ahead of the February 9 deadline.

As required by the Elections Act, the employees will have to quit office six months to the General election, to begin the journey to elective positions they are eyeing.

People Daily has established that many county officials are warming up to exit plum public offices to venture into active political campaigns ahead of most party primaries in April.

This has left most counties scrambling to find their replacements.
In Kwale, at least five county officials are set to resign to vie for various political positions. Two CECs; Ramadhan Bungale and Chiforomodo Mangale are eyeing Matuga and Lungalunga MP seats respectively. Bungale will face off with former TV presenter Mwanaisha Chidzuga for the UDA ticket in the party nominations.

County Secretary Martin Mwaro will also be running to unseat Magarini MP Michael Kingi in Kilifi county.

Others are Salim Mrina, the political advisor to Deputy Governor Fatuma Achani and Matuga Sub-county administrator Nimusimu Mwasina. Mrina is eying Kinango MP seat while Nimusimu seeks to replace Zuleikha Hassan as the Kwale Woman Rep.

Speaking to People Daily on phone, Bungale said he is waiting for February 9 to resign. “I am waiting for February 9, which is the specific date given for me to resign. I am not doing it earlier,” he said.

Mangale, who, is planning to unseat Lungalunga MP Khatib Mwashetani, will be vying for the seat on ODM ticket.

In Nyamira, the Director of Finance, Dr Philip Nyanumba, has resigned and is set to vie for Bomachoge Borabu seat in Kisii through the ODM.

He has appealed to fellow aspirants to respect each and campaign peacefully.

“I have been in the civil service for 32 years. I have been cleared from the county and want to serve Bomachoge people as a MP,” Nyanumba said.
He will face off with incumbent Prof Zadok Ogutu, Albert Nyaundi, Obadiah Barongo, Albert Ombiro, Onderi Ontweka, Geoffrey Moimbo and Dr Dan Mogoi.

In Kisumu, a number of CECs have shown strong indications of running for various seats.

Roads CEC Joyce Osogo is eyeing Homa Bay Woman Rep seat. Her Environment counterpart Salmon Orimba is contemplating running for Kisumu East seat, currently held by two-term occupant Shakil Shabir.

Their Education counterpart John Awiti is expected to try his luck in the Kisumu West seat after losing last time to incumbent Olago Aluoch, who has vowed to defend the seat.

“I am still weighing options,” Awiti said.

Also venturing in the battle for the Senate seat is Prof Judith Atyang, the Lands CEC. “I am going for it, whatever it is. I will be on the ballot, I have resolved to go serve the grassroots people in another capacity,” said Atyang. The seat is held by Fred Outa.

They will square it out with Nominated MP Rose Nyamunga who has also declared a bid for the same seat.

In Migori, Trade, Cooperative and Tourism Executive Sheila Ghati, Energy counterpart Rebecca Ghati and Education Executive Iscah Oluoch are set to resign.

While Sheila is eyeing Migori Woman Rep seat, Oluoch wants to be Awendo MP and Rebecca wants to succeed Governor Zachary Obado.
Also Silas Jonyo, the Director of Culture and Sports, wants to be MP for Awendo. Jonyo and Oluoch have already hit the campaign trail seeking to oust incumbent Walter Owino of ODM.

“I am going to run for the elective seat, and will soon launch a bid,’’ Jonyo said.

Mombasa ICT and Youth CEC Seth Odongo also said in an interview, he would resign early next month to vie for Migori gubernatorial seat.
County Secretary Chris Rusana is also quitting in favour of the governor race.

In Homa Bay, Finance CEC Nicholas Koriko and County Secretary Isaiah Ogwe, are among those tipped to resign and vie for a seat.
Koriko and Ogwe both want to succeed Governor Cyprian Awiti.

In Siaya, Trade Executive Adrian Ouma is eyeing the Gem seat, held by Elisha Odhiambo of ODM. “I am in the race and will resign by February,” he said. In Nyandarua, several executives are set to quit to seek elective posts.
Public Administration and ICT Executive Murani Ngugi confirmed that he had already served a quit notice, as he will be vying for the Kinangop MP seat.

“I am serving my notice time and February 6 will be my last day of work,” Murani said.

National government
Industrialisation, Trade and Cooperatives Development Raphael Njui said he plans to give the Kipipiri seat another shot after he emerged second behind Amos Kimunya in 2017.

Njui said he has not yet resigned, adding that he was still consulting his boss to see the way forward.

He promised to give more information later.
In the national government senior officials are also packing their bags to join politics.

Kenyan ambassador to China Sarah Serem is said to have tendered her resignation to vie for the Uasin Gishu governorship. “She’s just gone back to her former working station to clear up. She will come back to fully focus on her campaigns,” an aide to Serem told People Daily.

Serem, a former Salaries and Remuneration Commission chairperson is among a number of aspirants who will battle out for the UDA ticket. Others are former Kenya ambassador to Pakistan Julius Bitok, Nairobi County Environment Executive Vesca Kangogo, local politician Jonathan Bii and Soy MP Caleb Kositany.

Tourism Chief Administrative Secretary Fred Segor has also set his eyes on the Baringo governor’s seat after the clergy formally endorsed him recently.

“I have already begun the handing over process to go and focus on my political ambition…I am doing the final bit of it which I hope to conclude on or before February 9th as was set by the IEBC,” he told People Daily. He will fight for the UDA ticket with the incumbent Stanley Kiptis, Baringo Assembly Clerk Richard Koech and former Governor Benjamin Cheboi.

There have been a push to delay the resignations but the High Court dealt them a blow on Tuesday after dismissing an application to declare unconstitutional a section of the Elections Act requiring them to leave office six months to the day of elections.

Judge Anthony Mrima dismissed an application by Eric Wanyamah to declare Section 43 (5) of the Act unconstitutional on grounds that it discriminated against civil servants. Judge said the matter had already been determined by the court in 2012 and had not been appealed yet. With the new development, a number of senior Government officials were yesterday preparing to vacate office.

Already, former Rift Valley Regional Coordinator George Natembeya has resigned to vie for Trans Nzoia governor’s seat.

Hundreds of civil servants are set to follow him in the coming week.

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