Kenya's Most Authoritative Political Newspaper

Citizen Weekly

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Kwale women rep seat generates heat

Kwale women representative seat is attracting more interest from leaders some of who have already hit the ground to assess their popularity among voters.
The seat is held by Zainab Chidzuga of ODM. She is accused by Cord supporters of betrayal after she joined forces with a section of Coast MPs to advance Jubilee interests. Kwale county is an opposition zone.
Consequently, Cord officials and supporters in Kwale county are reportedly hunting for Chidzuga’s replacement. Among those being mentioned include nominated senator Agnes Zani whom Cord leader Raila Odinga initially pushed to become ODM’s secretary general during last year’s chaotic Kasarani party polls. The party has since appointed acting officials.
Apart from Zani, the name of a former nominated councillor Fatuma Masito is featuring prominently. She is a well known political figure in the county and observers say if she succeeds in landing the Cord ticket, she is capable of giving her competitors a run for their money. She is a grassroots mobiliser and her ability to mingle with the common person is added advantage.
For Zani, even though well connected at the party national level, her support within the county cannot be ascertained. Another of her disadvantage is that her younger brother Nicholas Zani has declared interest for the county governorship. This development is bound to work against both of them if they insist in contesting for seats in the same county.
Sources say negotiations are ongoing among the siblings geared towards convincing Agnes to shift her political base to neighbouring Mombasa county. In the last general elections, her name featured as a potential Mombasa governor running mate to a top candidate.
The other big name featuring in the list of would-be Kwale women rep seat aspirants is that of immediate former Kenya ambassador to Pakistan Mishi Mwatsahu. Even though she has not declared her interest in politics, friends and a section of family members are reportedly pushing her to enter the 2017 race.
If she contests, observers say she will be a force to reckon with as she is a known mobiliser. She is a former director of social services at the defunct Mombasa municipal council. She was also a former county clerk at the former Kwale county council.
Analysts say she has a vast network in the county which she can activate to campaign for her. But it is further said that her political calculations would also be determined by the political direction her elder brother Chirau Mwakwere takes to avoid spoiling for each other. Mwakwere is  currently Kenyan High Commissioner to Dar es salaam,  Tanzania.