Kenya's Most Authoritative Political Newspaper

Citizen Weekly

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Changing fortunes in Trans Nzoia county politics

The battle for Trans-Nzoia governorship  seat in 2017 continued to get hotter with the entry to the race by the principal of St Anthony principal Cosmas Nabongo  sending panic among all the candidates running for the seat including the current  governor Patrick Khaemba  who seems to have gone back to the drawing board to strategize his team.
As things stand, Khaemba might be forced to work extra hard and pull up his socks if he has to make any impact 2017. His performance as the governor of Trans-Nzoia to many especially the local is still below per.
Others eyeing the seat include an administrator David Taragon, Kakai Bisau, former minister Noah Wekesa, businessman Jared Gesuka and  Fr Godfrey Shiundu. Word has it, Wekesa may go for senatorship and back Joshua Kuttuny for governorship. Kuttuny brokered for Wekesa to be appointed as the chair of Bukura Agricultural Institute. Kuttuny and Wekesa are to run on Jap ticket.  
Kiminini MP Chris Wamalwa has declared Nabongolo as his preferred candidate for the governor’s seat. Eugene Wamalwa also touted as a front runner  might be stepping down  in favour of  Nabongolo as he takes home the seat of the senator.
Should Eugene opt to stand the senatorial seat, then it is obvious that Nabongolo will be the man to watch. Quietly it is believed that Nabongolo has both the support of Senator Moses Wetangula and Eugene to run for the governor’s seat.
Those close to both Wetangula and Wamalwa says that the two have already indicated that they will have no problems  with Nabongolo running for the seat come 2017 general elections. Other leaders said to be backing Nabongolo for the seat include the women representative Janet Nangambo, Cherangani  MP  Wesley Korir, former MP Kipruto Kirwa and the family of the late George Kapten.
Others keen to support Nabongolo for the seat are Kwanza MP Ferdinand Wanyonyi, Saboti MP Wafula Lazaro and Endebess MP John Pkose.
What went wrong in Trans Nzoia county constituencies?
That is the question that has dogged many political pundits as the areas moves towards 2017 general elections. To the Trans -Nzoia county assembly minority leader Hillary Kemei the leadership of Cherengani constituency is not being steered the way it is supposed.
For Kemei the constituency is void of the sparkling and maverick leadership that characterised the area for the last four decades. Since the days of Masinde Muliro, Cherangani constituency has seen on the national political map transcending through volatile criticism against the establishment.
Even during the tenure of Fred Gumo when it was called Kitale East, the constituency still evoked nationalistic politics.
Then came the time for Kipruto Kirwa who latter had to rise to the position of a cabinet minister. During his days, Kirwa was always ahead of others, both as a critic of the government and defender as a cabinet minister. Kirwa had to be succeeded by yet another vocal person in the name of Joshua Kuttuny, currently one of Uhuru Kenyatta’s handlers.
In the 2013 polls, there was surprise when Kuttuny was floored by novice Korir who was only known in athletics. In his early days, Korir was a darling of the Cherangani constituents as he criss crossed the area coordinating development projects while instilling the youths with the interests of athletics as a career. For now Kuttuny is set to run for governorship on Jap. His plan is to have Wekesa go for senatorship on the same party. Kuttuny was instrumental in having Wekesa appointed to be the chairman of Bukura Agricultural Insitute.
But Korir’s magic seems to be dwindling. It will be a miracle of Korir to make headway for the impending polls.
What is appalling the Trans Nzoia minority leader Kemei is that Cherangani was not receiving its rightful recognition from the county government, courtesy of lack of proper political representation.
For Kemei the MCA for Motosiet ward in Cherangany, the local leaders had the responsibility to engage the county government to ensure minority groups receive better services.
Said Kemei allied to William Ruto’s URP “We are ready to lead the way in engaging the county government squarely as far as the leadership of Cherangani is concerned. Saying he will try his luck in Cherangani in the 2017,  Kemei observed while Kirwa had  suddenly become mum Kuttuny was concentrating on national politics
“Nobody is agitating for the issues of Cherangany people,” he said adding that minority groups in Cherangani had been sidelined by the county government.
The MCA further said the deputy governor Stanley Kemei who hails from the constituency had tendered to ignore the area and was using a lot of his time confronting county issues.
He said minority groups in Cherangani had no representative to guide them. “I have offered myself to lead the way for us,” he added.
Kemei joins a group of youthful aspirants who have declared to introduce a new impetus of leadership in Trans Nzoia in 2017 with Saboti MP Lazaro  Wafula seemingly having less opponents.
This include Michael Mbito, Paul Moiben who is set to unseat the Endebess MP Robert Pukose, Abraham Sing’oei  and Moses  Lupao who are going for  Wanyonyi’s Kwanza constituency and Alfred Wamang’oli  who is to vie for Chris Wamalwa’s Kiminini seat.
Pukose is said to be changing his leadership style after realising that his opponents are sending waves across the constituency while Wamang’oli was putting up new tricks in Kiminini.