Rift Valley Regional Commissioner Natembeya, MP to face off in governor race
Devolution Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa has declared that he will not vie for the Trans Nzoia governor’s seat in 2022 as had been earlier anticipated.
The CS, who appears keen to stamp his authority on Trans Nzoia politics, will instead throw his weight behind Rift Valley Regional Commissioner George Natembeya.
It was widely expected that Wamalwa was keen on contesting his former Saboti parliamentary seat with an eye on a Deputy Prime Minister’s post had the Building Bridges Initiative sailed through.
Making the declaration when he spoke in Endebess during the funeral of former Egerton University Vice-Chancellor Prof Richard Musangi last month, the CS said he was ready to walk alongside Natembeya as the latter seeks the governor’s seat.
“Prof Musangi had asked me to state if I was vying for the governor’s seat. Allow me to answer him before he is lowered to his eternal resting place. I am not keen on contesting the seat. I will be walking with my brother Natembeya,” he said.
The CS said he and one-time Kwanza MP Noah Wekesa were keen to support efforts by Amani National Congress leader Musalia Mudavadi, Ford Kenya’s Moses Wetangula and Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya deliver a Luyha presidency.
Wamalwa is understood to be behind the formation of the Democratic Action Party. He is fighting for supremacy in Trans Nzoia against Wetangula’s Ford-Kenya and Deputy President William Ruto’s United Democratic Alliance (UDA).
Eugene was responding to remarks by Kiminini MP Chris Wamalwa, who had declared himself as the most astute aspirant to succeed Governor Patrick Khaemba.
He said as a two-term MP and the leader of Catholic lawmakers in the country he had been blessed by the Pope at the Vatican in Rome.
“Leadership comes from God the Almighty and I am sure the people of Trans Nzoia will be electing me to succeed governor Khaemba. I am ready to carry on with the aspirations of our founding fathers,” said the Kiminini MP.
“I will table a motion in the National Assembly for the establishment of a Michael Wamalwa University in Trans Nzoia once I am elected governor in remembrance of Musangi as a pioneer in the field of education,” said Wamalwa, who has accused Natembeya of playing politics while still as civil servant.
But responding to the Kiminini MP, Natembeya said the national government was ready to allocate land for the construction of a public university instead of pursuing the parliamentary route “to sieve out some of the degrees obtained from the streets.”
“Trans Nzoia residents have beckoned me to come and walk with them in this great journey of making this county great again, said Natembeya. In an apparent dig at the Kiminini lawmaker, Natembeya lambasted politicians, who he said were taking advantage of funerals to advance their interests.
“The national government had its own plans of settling the landless, issuance of title deeds, addressing the water shortage and commissioning of roads in the county,” added Natembeya.
Wamalwa’s public declaration of support for Natembeya has opened a Pandora’s box with the Kiminini MP vowing to stop the Rift Valley administration chief whom he describes as a “mere policeman.”
Other candidates in the race are Kakai Bisau and Dr Abraham Sing’oei, both allied to Ruto’s UDA.
It is only Bisau who contested against Khaemba in 2013 and 2017 and emerged third and second position respectively. Initially, the Devolution CS fronted Bisau on the defunct New Ford Kenya.
Ford Kenya has parted ways with Khaemba over alleged disloyalty.
Natembeya’s declaration comes on the heels of frantic efforts by the Sabaot community to push for nomination of one of their own, Milka Psiwa as his running mate to counter the Kiminini MP, who seems to have settled on another Sabaot, Saboti Ward Rep David Kaboloman as his running mate.
A delegation of Sabaot elders, led by the former Kitale deputy mayor Pius Kauka, appealed to Natembeya to grant them the new Saboti sub-county name Psiwa to deputise him if elected governor.
County has five constituencies namely Cherangany, Saboti, Kwanza, Endebess and Kiminini with 25 wards; accounting for 339,622 registered voters as per the 2017 Independent Electoral Boundaries Commission records.
In the 2017 polls, Jubilee emerged the majority party with Ford Kenya being relegated to the Minority.