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Trio seeking ODM ticket to unseat coalition partner in Kanduyi

By Grace Wekesa | Published Mon, March 20th 2017 at 00:00, Updated March 19th 2017 at 20:42 GMT +3
Bungoma County assembly speaker John Makali speaking to press in his office. He said that speakers from all 47 counties have decided to appeal the ruling delivered last week by Bungoma high court Judge Justice Alfred Mabeya that stops MCAs from impeaching the executives. (PHOTO: TITUS OTEBA/ STANDARD)

Kanduyi parliamentary seat in Bungoma County has attracted aspirants seeking to unseat Ford Kenya's Wafula Wamunyinyi.

The aspirants are Bungoma County Assembly Speaker John Makali, lawyer Edwin Sifuna and security consultant Gilbert Wangila.

The three will battle it out for Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) ticket during the primaries to be held next month.

The other contestant is Chrisantles Mukoche, outgoing deputy director of polytechnic and ECDE in Bungoma county, who will vie on Jubilee party.

Wamunyinyi will be seeking a fourth term on Ford Kenya party ticket. Pundits say it will be a two-horse race pitting Wamunyinyi and whoever wins the ODM ticket in party primaries.

Kanduyi is a cosmopolitan constituency and the largest in Bungoma County with over 300,000 people. Registered voters are estimated at 110,000, spread in eight wards.

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It is the only constituency that was not divided in the county during boundary review.

Kanduyi hosts major education institutions, industry and business communities in Bungoma including Kibabii University that recently received its charter, Kibabii Diploma College, Nzoia Sugar Company, Sangalo Institute, Mabanga Farmers Centre and Masinde Muliro University, Bungoma branch, among others.

The parliamentary seat is expected to be a hotly contested one in the county due to the above factors.

Wamunyinyi is a close ally of NASA leader Moses Wetang'ula and is serving third term as area MP. His opponents say he has failed the electorate and his time in politics is over.

But the MP insists that he deserves another term to complete ongoing projects.

The MP said he has initiated a lot of development projects including dispensaries in all wards, constructed administration police and chief's camps using the constituency development funds and successfully pushed a motion in Parliament to remove VAT on cane transportation.

"We have done well in terms of ensuring equitable distribution of resources with the help of CDF cash. We have begun new secondary schools from scratch where we bought land and built classes," said the Bungoma County Ford Kenya Party chairman.

Wamunyinyi cited Sango Secondary School, Namawanga, Mugete, Bukananachi, Siritanyi, Siloba and Bukembe Salvation Army Secondary as being among new 30 secondary schools he has developed as his major achievements in the education sector.

"It is a constituency with many education institutions and my goal is to improve education standards in the area. I have also provided a good working environment for business communities, worked and empowered the youth, women through Uwezo funds and helped the needy in our society," said the former head of mission in Addis Ababa.

However, Makali opines that he is best suited to unseat the incumbent and accuses Wamunyinyi of not doing enough to improve rural infrastructure.

"I am best suited having schooled and worked here. I know the challenges well and I have been in the assembly setting up structures. I am ahead of the pack. The current leadership has not been in the forefront to ensure the locals benefit yet the constituency hosts the county capital," said Makali, who is making his second stab at the Kanduyi parliamentary seat.

Makali states if elected, he will ensure CDF is equitably distributed, farmers embrace agricultural diversification, improve infrastructure, allocate more funds to institutions of higher learning and empower youth and women economically.

"I will put in place a youth agenda and push the national government to ensure the institutions are equipped. I will also ensure leaders in the county plan and work together regardless of their political affiliations in order to meet residents' expectation. Individualistic approach to issues should not happen," added Makali, who shaped his law career at Wetang'ula firm.

Sifuna says Kanduyi needs to be led by youthful generation because they have been neglected and cited that no single development project has been put in place to uplift their lives.

"For us in Kanduyi, we have decided it is time for young people who will articulate their issues in Parliament. I am in the race so that I can refocus on education, uplift locals out of poverty and ensure equitable distribution of CDF cash which has not really helped locals," said Sifuna.

Wamunyinyi dismissed his opponents and stated they lack a meaningful agenda and challenged them to outline their manifesto to wananchi. He stressed that his track record speaks for itself and locals will decide in August polls.

"The only excuse my opponents are giving is that I am old and I that I have done nothing which is a lie. With my experience, I deserve to be re-elected. I am confident I have done well and optimistic that locals and all stakeholders in the area will support my re-election," said Wamunyinyi.

Wangila echoed Sifuna sentiments and said there is need for fresh ideology representation for people of Kanduyi and said he will focus on community development programmes.

"Kanduyi has lagged behind in many sectors such sanitation, poor infrastructure and CDF distribution. The constituency needs new leadership and I intend to empower youth, set up talent academy and proper security platform that is technologically based,'' said the Masinde Muliro University alumni.

On CDF cash, Wamunyinyi said Sh81 million the constituency receives is little compared to the huge population, needs and eight wards in the area.

"At times the Government delays to release the funds and that affects ongoing projects. Our share is little, an issue that needs to be reviewed because Kanduyi has never been split.

Other constituencies have three wards with same cash but despite that, I always give education sector first priority," said the MP.

Mukoche believes he has the experience and the drive to take the constituency to a higher level.

He said he is the best among the rest and asked voters to elect him for their own good.