By Standard Team
Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta’s party, The National Alliance has stamped its presence on the political map after its candidates easily won by-elections in Kangema and Kajiado North.
It also sent the clear message that TNA is the party to beat in Central Kenya come the March 4 General Election.
Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) candidate also won by a landslide in Ndhiwa to retain the seat formerly held by the late Orwa Ojode.
TNA scooped the Kangema seat that was held by the late Cabinet Minister John Michuki as well the Kajiado North seat that was held by the late Prof George Saitoti who dies in a helicopter crash that also killed his deputy Ojode and four police officers.
Moses Ole Sakuda who was touted as the front runner for the Kajiado North seat on a TNA ticket beating his closest rival, ODM’s Peter Ole Mositet.
ODM ran away as expected with the Ndhiwa seat with Augustine Neto beating his two other contestants Tom Otieno of Kanu and TNA’s Rosemary Mumo.
A promised challenge by the Kanu candidate in Ndhiwa dissolved quickly as the vote count rolled in. Raila had jested that he would not run for the presidency if ODM lost the seat.
By the time of going to press in Kajiado after counting 80 out of 117 polling stations Sakuda had garnered 24,840 which is 55 per cent of the total votes cast followed by ODM’s Mositet with 12,955 or 35 per cent.
In Kangema, Ngahu, who was also the preferred candidate of the late Michuki’s family, garnered 13,752 votes in the 47 polling stations followed by Simon Kamau of UDF who emerged a distant second with 2,981 votes.
In Ndhiwa, Neto got 21,565 votes in the 140 polling stations following by Tom Otieno Alila with 2,290 votes and Kanu’s Rosemary Rumo had 216.
Earlier in the day as the voting got underway both Sakuda and Mositet had exuded confidence in winning the seat, but Sakuda had the last laugh.
During the last elections Sakuda gave the late Saitoti a run for his money during the hotly contested polls on an ODM ticket.
It took the intervention of riot police officers at the time to disperse voters during the counting as the ballots were too close to call. Supporters of Sakuda at the time believed that their candidate had won and was rigged out.
Sakuda then filed a petition challenging Saitoti’s reelection for the post but was later to change his mind and drop the case after he held “consultations” with Saitoti to what many believe he was prevailed upon to drop the case.
In the morning, Sakuda said he had no doubt that he was going to be the next MP of Kajiado North because he enjoys widespread support from the electorate.
He said although the voters did not turn out in large numbers, those who did had exercised their democratic right by ensuring that the constituency gets a person who is best suited to be their next MP.
“I have a feeling that this is going to be my day but let us wait and see the final outcome,” said Sakuda.
He also praised Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) officials for conducting the by-election in a professional manner.
The seat fell vacant following the death of the late Saitoti together his assistant minister Joshua Orwa Ojode among others in helicopter crash at kabuki area in Ngong.
On the other hand Ngahu gave Uhuru’s new outfit sweet victory in Kangema by handsomely beating his closest rivals Muturi Kigano of Saba Saba Asili and UDF’s Simon Kamau.
“I’m optimistic that people of Kangema has faith in me. From the rounds I have done around the constituency, people are convinced that I’m the right person,” said Ngahu after voting Tuthu Primary School earlier in the morning.
He said his first priority once in parliament would be to finish the development projects started by the late Michuki.
“Having worked closely with the departed MP, I will not let down the people of Kangema. Michuki was a servant of the people and I would not be any different,” declared Ngahu.
Ngahu had during the nominations receiving the backing of the Michuki family led by the late Mrs Josephine Michuki a move that sent tension in the constituency
The 47 year-old is the managing director of Prime Mover Insurance brokers, which has branches across the country.
Ngahu has also farming interest in Rift Valley concentrating on wheat and maize.
The candidate won TNA nomination after polling 4,820 votes after getting backing from the immediate Michuki family who included Josephine Michuki who died later.
He went to Githiga primary school before joining Thika High and St Mary High schools for his O level and A level.
He joined Kenyatta University where the graduated with Degree in education before teaching in a number of secondary schools.
He has settled in Tuthu location where he has a large tea estate that is normally used as a demonstration farm to educate farmers on crop husbandry by agriculture officers.
He has promised to embark on water, roads and village polytechnics and streamline bursary allocation in a bid to ensure the needy students complete their education.
In Ndhiwa, Neto who had been touted as the frontrunner clinched the seat to succeed the late Ojode who perished with his long time friend and his boss the late Saitoti.
“I have done my campaigns and groundwork and all is well…I am certain that I will carry the day,” Neto had told our reporters after casting his vote in the morning.
He added that he had an advantage against his rivals having run on a party that had massive support in the constituency and Nyanza region at large.
“The ODM nominations were the toughest contest and I made it. These elections are just formality because voters have already decided to elect me,” he added.
He added he was not underrating his opponents but he was confident that they would not manage to beat him.
Oyugi noted that the presence of Prime Minister Raila Odinga in the constituency over the weekend to drum up support for him gave him more mileage.
“Voters here have a lot of respect for the PM and they would not go against his request. He asked them not to embarrass him by voting for my opponents and that is what I expect them to do,” he added.
Neto added he would come up with a strategic plan, which would guide his leadership if he wins the seat.
“It has been a tough campaign and a serious political experience for me,” he added.
He pointed out that winning the seat would be a beginning of his political career.
-Reporting by Francis Ngige, Moses Njagi, Boniface Gikandi, Mangoa Mosota and James Omoro