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Citizen Weekly

Sunday 24 August 2014


Following last week’s appointment of Sam Ongeri as Kenya’s permanent representative to the UN-Habitat, the Jubilee administration must now go back to the drawing board to recruit a new political pointman to push for their interest.

Deputy President William Ruto seems to be the man doing the ground work. Ruto has made several visits to both Kisii and Nyamira counties, something that has left Cord more worried than ever before.

With Ongeri now out of the political arena, Ruto is now said to be quickly making political inroads in the larger Abagusii region. Last week, he was hosted by the Kisii Deputy Governor Joash Maangi at a fundsdrive where politics took centrestage.

There have been speculations that Ruto has been on a mission to make political inroads in the Abagusii region but is yet to identify a man who can fit in Ongeri’s political shoes.
One name that has featured prominently as possible pointman Jubilee wants to bring on board to reach out to the Abagusii people is that of Maangi. Although he was elected on ODM ticket, he has always shown willingness to work closely with Jubilee administration.

Immediately after taking oath of office, Maangi hosted Ruto during his homecoming party, something ODM did not take kindly. ODM had wished that the party leader Raila Odinga was to be the man to grace the occasion but Maangi for some unknown reasons, picked Ruto.

To further show how Maangi has been working with Jubilee, during previous by-elections in Kisii county, he secretly campaigned for Ford-People candidates against the wishes of ODM. Ford-People is in the Jubilee coalition and not in Cord coalition.

At one time, Maangi and his boss Governor James Ongwae were hosted by the president and his deputy at State House Mombasa and again, ODM claimed the two had betrayed their party. Of late Ongwae has distanced himself from Jubilee functions as Maangi continues to getting closer and closer to the Jubilee administration.

It has been whispered among the Abagusii leaders that Jubilee is set to make political inroads in the region that voted overwhelmingly to Cord during the last general elections. The matter has now seen political realignments as Ford-People now seem to be the party of the moment having won all the by-elections in the region.

Analysts say as much as Jubilee wants to have a new political pointman, it must only be done through Ford-People and this further complicates matters for Maangi who is a Cord man. Although there have been rumours that Maangi could ditch ODM for Ford-People, he has always laughed it off saying 2017 is still far away and that it is time to deliver on the election pledges they made to the electorate.

Word on the ground has it that Maangi is secretly plotting to team up with Charles Nyachae to run on a joint Ford-People ticket for the Kisii gubernatorial seat in 2017. Should Maangi ditch ODM and accept to be Nyachae’s running mate, and considering the Ford-People wave that is now sweeping across the Abagusii land, then they are likely to give Ongwae and his new running mate a run for their money.

 Maangi and Nyachae are buddies and have been spotted at several social joints holding deep discussions and although Maangi has always denied such allegations, word on the ground has it that Maangi has been under pressure either to run for the governor on Ford-People ticket in 2017 or support Nyachae’s bid as his running mate.

There is nothing stronger on earth than fear. Both Ongeri and Ongwae have feared the strong wind of change in the nine sub-counties in the recent past. Ongwae has feared what to tell the Cord family leaders since he lost four consecutive by-elections in the county. As the senior most member in Kisii county, he lost in Bobaracho ward by-election in Nyaribari Chache sub-county to Ford-People where Sam Nyangenya won, then followed the most hotly contested Machoge Borabu that TNA won through Joel Onyancha. Nyaribari Chache sub-county seat also eluded them, Ongwae and Ongeri while Ongwae supported Chris Bichage ODM,Ongeri supported Robert Monda of TNA but they lost to Richard Tongi of Ford-People. Ford-People boost of nine MCAs out of 45 mixed parties, good schemers and monied in the Kisii county assembly, Wilfred Monyenye, the Kisii Central ward Francis Aburi of Ichuni ward, former Keroka mayor Nyaribari Masaba, Tom Onguti of Ibeno ward Nyaribari Chache and Sam Nyangenya of Bobaracho ward.

Others are Dan Apepo South Mugirango and a Siocha of Machoge. These are the most feared members of the Kisii county assembly under their umbrella of grassroot support and political schemers. Monyenye and Aburi have been in the political arena for over 30 years.

Unlike 2002 general elections where the Ford-People had over 11 members of the national assembly, outside Kisii it has Benson Mbai of Masinga sub-county of Machakos county. Kisii county has three members in Bobasi sub-county Steve Manoti,Nyaribari Chache sub-county has Richard Nyagaka and Bonchari boosts of Zededeo Opore which makes party leader Simeon Nyachae smile. The trio in the national assembly is loyal and is not likely to change camps with the likes of Manson Nyamweya of South Mugirango who defected to ODM but Joel Onyancha of Machoge Borabu and Jimmy Angwenyi of Kitutu Chache North who ditched the party to TNA. The first three are not cowards but fear letting down the party leader, Simeon Nyachea. 

Though not in active politics, they boost the possibility of seeing Nyachae’s soldiers win political battles. When former cabinet minister Ongeri speaks on matters of political parties, he reminds his colleagues when they were swept by Ford-People 2002 in now Kisii and Nyamira counties and fears that the same could happen to them as things stand on the ground.

 During that time, Nyachae vied for the presidency which he scored a distant third but swept all the then 10 constituencies in the larger Gusii.
Among the registered political parties in the community are Ford-People, PDP and Kenya Social Congress. Those who fell during the heavy storm of Ford-People included Obure and  Ongeri. The party brought in the likes of Geoffrey Masanya who had contested 1969-1997 without winning until then that they he benefited from Ford-People. Former principal of Nyanchwa Mixed Secondary School Joel Onyancha. Ongwae might be wary of Charles Nyachae  who is rumoured to be keen for the seat  in  2017 as Nyamweya is crisscrossing Kisii county unnoticed and has vast experience  in looking for votes unlike the duo.

Nyamweya has warned Ongwae not to panic and cry foul with earlier campaigns of Nyachae Junior, he also did the same using former PM’s office to gain popularity which bore fruits for him before he resigned for governor’s seat. Former councillors Steve Arika, Peter Mogire, Nyang’au Misaro and Silvester Maranga, teaming up with current MCAs Wilfred Monyenye, Dan Apepo, Francis Aburi are politically skillful and fast schemers who can turn political tables down against Ongwae. On the eve of multiparty politics in 1992, the larger Gusii had been electing their leaders on different political parties save for 2002 elections when they bagged all seats and now claim that they were duped and can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Nyachae though retired from active politics has the capacity and influence to shape the community towards the government of the day.

 In and out of office, Nyachae has been influencing Kisii politics since Kenya’s first President Jomo Kenyatta, Moi, Kibaki and now Uhuru. During 2007 and 2013 two unsuccessful presidential bids by Raila Odinga when the community rallied behind the former premier, the community has started to play in their own league by joining the winning team. This has scared the current crop of leaders and who are wondering who will be their next captain between Moses Wetang’ula or Stephen Kalonzo are perceived not to have the political muscle to fight.

This makes both Ongwae and Obure to weary of the changing Kisii political trend. Sources privy to Gusii politics see Ongeri and senator Obure political life threatened since they have not mentored their sons into the political arena.

 The source said former region leaders had their son tested in political leadership. The late James Nyamweya had George Omari nominated as an MP; the late Dr Zachary Onyonka has Richard Momoima who has been elected twice. The late John Omanga has Kennedy who contested for the Nyaribari Chache by-election without success. But both Ongeri and Obure can be contended with missing one of their own like the late Lawrence Sagini, the late Mugunde Anyieni, the late Momanyi Bw’otieno and George Anyona just to mention but a few.

Nyachae Jnr has a constitutional right to join politics like the other sons of former elected leaders and nominated since independence. Nyachae Senior can play a big role in shaping the political terrain in Kisii politics just like Jaramogi Odinga who has Raila and  Oburu Odinga, Jeremiah Nyaga had Joseph and Norman, Ronald Ngara had Katana, Moses Mudavadi had Wycliffe Musalia, Nassir has Abdulswamad, Moi has Raymond and Gideon while Uhuru is the son of former Kenya’s first president.

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