By BEAUTTAH OMANGA
Promises to address farmers’ plight in Nyamira County is taking centre stage in campaigns for governorship with interested leaders churning out impressive manifestoes on how to make farmers reap from their sweat.
However, the sharing of seats to be contested across the county will definitely come in handy with deals being cut. Already there is talk on which constituency should provide what seat with West Mugirango leaders divided on what position they should gun for.
Former minister Henry Obwocha, a frontrunner for the county senator’s seat has a headache to deal with given some of his constituents want the area to produce a governor.
“The Nyamira County’s headquarters is in West Mugirango constituency and there is need for the area to produce a governor who will be more influential than a senator,” argues councillor Stanley Charana. So far, those seeking the governor’s seat in Nyamira include Robert Kombo, Makori Bikundo and Ndubi Kinaro from West Mugirango, North Mugirango and Kitutu Masaba.
The sharing of key seats aside, the two leading campaigners for the governor’s seat in the agriculturally rich county, Bikundo and Kinaro are working hard to outdo each other with impressive tales on how they intend to revamp the farming sector that’s the backbone of the county, ignoring the role clan and constituency politics will play.
Both agree tea farming has been poorly run and there is need for farmers to be assisted to reap maximum profits. They promise to help establish tea-blending factory in the region as well as looking for funds to establish factories to process bananas, avocados and pineapples.
“I intend to start a factory for locals totally independent from KTDA run ones and the differences will be that in the new factory, farmers will negotiate upfront the prices of their commodity unlike in KTDA where prices are determined in boardrooms,” said Kinaro.
On his part Bikundo, a retired senior KPLC manager, also says farming in Nyamira needs a fresh look to enable farmers benefit. He plans to get markets for locally produced crops by injecting funds into the industry.
His priority he says will be putting up a pawpaw juice, passion fruit juice, pineapple and brick and tile making industry if elected the first governor of Nyamira County.
“This will in turn stimulate growth of various markets in the county. The tourism sub-sector is not fully developed in then county but there exists potential especially in the tourist hotels and tourism sites’ he says.
As the two leading contenders traverse the region, there is need for the county leaders to address the ever-increasing population trends in Nyamira County. In the neighbouring Kisii County, former PS James Ongwae is said to be eying the governor’s seat as does former DC Peter Ndemo.