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Citizen Weekly

Sunday, 23 November 2014

RUTO'S URP SUCKED INTO TRANS NZOIA WARD BY-ELECTION

The impending Matumbei ward by-election in Trans Nzoia county is likely to tilt the political equilibrium of this agricultural region and shape its political direction.
A new political order is bound to emerge based on the outcome of the  by-election. The poll is as a result of the death in September of New Ford Kenya’s county representative Ronald Wanjala Matongolo.
New Ford Kenya leader Eugene Wamalwa is fighting to retain the seat while Moses Wetang’ula of Ford- K is determined to wrestle the seat from the jaws of his political nemesis. Deputy President William Ruto with support from the party’s Endebess MP Robert Pokose is also angling to stamp his authority in the county.
Ford Kenya has the party’s Trans-Nzoia organising secretary Ken Wafula who began mobilising voters early enough in preparation for the by-election scheduled for December 29 as the key man in the by-election.
Already, 18 Luhya hopefuls have moved to Ford-K including eight who decamped from Wamalwa’s New Ford-K. Of the 18, several stepped aside following negotiations between them and Governor Patrick Khaemba leaving only eight to proceed to a nomination process held on November 13 that saw Boniface Khalila picked as the Ford-K candidate  with a landslide victory.  Sifuna was among those who defected to Ford K with the influence of Wafula.
He will face off with NFK’s Judith Matongolo, the widow of the late Matongolo, whose direct nomination by the party saw all the other hopefuls defect to the rival Ford K party.
Ruto’s URP is fielding a former councillor Philip Sakong.
Insiders say due to the Luhya community fielding two strong candidates, the populous vote is bound to be split in favour of the URP candidate. The URP torchbearer is also likely to benefit from the Kikuyu and Kisii vote in the area. However, Sakong ride is not going to be easy. He has been challenged to explain why he received Sh400,000 compensation for IDPs when his name featured negatively in post- election violence reports.
A staunch ally of overnor Khaemba and party leader Wetang’ula had this to say: “I am determined to give my governor a Christmas gift and my party leader a New Year present in the name of a win for the Ford-K candidate. Ford-K is the party bestowed to us in Trans-Nzoia by Masinde Muliro, Wamalwa Kijana, George Kapten and Mayor Sitati Maboni. We must recapture this county”.  If Ford-K wins, the NFK will lose one nominated slot to its rival.
Ford-K will then have nine MCAs bringing to 11 Cord’s county legislators thus clinching the minority leadership from URP.
Already, tension is high ahead of the by-election with supporters of NFK and Ford-K clashing in Kimondo area where Eugene had gone for a function.
On Saturday last week, Wetang’ula, Khaemba, Henry Ole Ndiema and Wafula held a meeting with 13 Ford-K contestants who lost in the nomination and prevailed on them to support the winning candidate further consolidating its troops.  UDF of Musalia Mudavadi has not fielded a candidate but is supporting NFK.