By Kepher Otieno
They joined politics in the 1970s and served during the Kenyatta and Moi regimes. Most of their peers have bowed out of active politics to give room to the new generation, but not so for Nyanza’s old guard, who have now hit the campaign trail with gusto as they plot a major comeback in the next General Election.
Armed with cash earned from politics and businesses over the years, the old guard is telling youthful aspirants eyeing key seats in the county governments to wait a little longer.
This has sparked a big debate across Nyanza and has divided opinion over the return of the older politicians.
Former Education Assistant Minister Pharez Oluoch Kanindo and onetime Kisumu Town Clerk and Regional Development Minister Ojwang’ Kombudo are the face of the old guard, who have thrown their hats in to the ring. The two insist age is nothing, but a number when it comes to politics.
Kanindo, a career music producer of international repute, who once hosted Congolese music legends such as Franco, Tabuley and Mbilia Bel at his home in Awendo, is gunning for the Migori senatorial seat. He joined active politics in 1974 and vied for the then Homa Bay parliamentary seat, coming second. He later won the seat in 1979 and served until 1988. Kanindo will turn 70 in November this year. He has also served as the chairman of South Nyanza Sugar Company.
In the neighbouring Kisumu County, Mr Kombudo who is said to be more than 70-years old is determined to become the county’s first governor. Kombudo became the Kisumu Town Clerk in 1970. Many of the youthful politicians challenging him for the governor’s seat were born around or after that time.
He was the MP for Nyakach for 15 years from 1979 to 1992 when trade unionist Dennis Akumu trounced him. He is a wealthy man with vast interests in real estate and is conducting a door-to door campaign in the vast county.
In interviews, the two politicians said the age factor did not bother them and they vowed to win the seats with landslides.
Kanindo claimed he was in the race not for material gain, but to explore his treasury of political experience to spur economic growth in Migori County.
“My main aim is to use my wealth of political experience to mobilise all segments of the economy to and leaders to start viable development projects,’’ he says.
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