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Keep off Kisii politics, governor seat rivals tell Arati

By Robert Ochoro
Monday, June 22nd, 2020
Dagoretti North MP Simba Arati.

Dagoretti North MP Simba Arati’s entry into Kisii county governor race is causing jitters with possible opponents telling him to stick to Nairobi politics.

Arati has been conducting quiet campaigns in the county. He is leveraging his campaign on age, closeness to Opposition chief Raila Odinga and youth’s affinity.

The youthful MP has asked his possible opponents, Transport Chief Administrative Secretary Chris Obure and Senator Sam Ongeri, both long-serving politicians, to pave way for generational change. 

Deputy governor Joash Maang’i, who is associated with Deputy President William Ruto, is also keen to succeed Governor James Ongwae.

Speaking recently at a funeral, Obure declared that he will be in the race and should not be written off.

He dismissed critics who say he is too old, stressing he was still “young and as fit as a fiddle”.

But Arati, who has denied claims  that Raila had prevailed upon him to shelve his governor ambitions, vowed not to be intimidated by rivals.

“Political cowards are tainting my image. I will not step down and back another aspirant because I know I will win,” he said.

Several aspirants

His chief campaigners, Rogers Ongeri and Eric Onchonga, have rubbished claims Arati was a Nairobi politician and should not be interested in  an upcountry seat.

“Arati is a Kenyan and can vie for any political seat anywhere in the country. Nobody has a right to limit his ambitions,” said Onchonga.

Two years to the next general election, several politicians and technocrats are eyeing Ongwae seat. The governor his not eligible to run again because he is serving his second and final term.

MPs Richard Onyonka (Kitutu Chache South) and Ezekiel Machogu (Nyaribari Masaba) have also declared interest in the seat.

Others are Gusii Governance Civil Society Organisation Secretary Rachel Otundo, former South Mugirango MP Manson Oyongo and lawyer Lumumba Nyaberi.

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