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How choice of running mates will influence voting in Nyamira

By Stanley Ongwae | Published Tue, June 13th 2017 at 00:00, Updated June 12th 2017 at 22:35 GMT +3
Nyamira Governor John Nyagarama (center) with his deputy Amos Nyaribo (left) and Nyagarama's wife Naomi, display their nomination certificate on 2/06/2017 outside the IEBC offices in Nyamira. photo by STANLEY ONGWAE

The choice of running mates by aspirants is likely to change voting patterns in the race for the Nyamira governor's seat.

While professional qualifications, age, financial ability and gender would have determined who each of the candidates would choose for a running mate, clannism is at the core of all the choices.

There are nine gubernatorial candidates in the county who want to take over from the incumbent, Mr John Nyagarama.

Nyagarama had to maintain his deputy Mr Amos Nyaribo as his running mate owing to pressure from his opponents, all of whom had opted to hunt running mates from North Mugirango, a region which is mainly occupied by numerous sub-clans of the larger Bogirango clan.

Nyaribo comes from the same area.

Dr James Gesami (an independent candidate) who is from West Mugirango picked Prof Evans Mageto, a resident of North Mugirango as his mate, same as Dr Erneo Nyakiba (PDR) who chose Dr Frank Ndubi as his deputy.

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Dr John Kumenda Aboko, another independent candidate seeking to be governor, settled on a 25-year-old high school teacher Mr Evans Makori, a resident of North Mugirango, as his co-contender. Another candidate with a partner from North Mugirango is former Kitutu Masaba MP Mwancha Okioma, whose running mate is lawyer Job Nyasimi.

Retired judge Justice David Onyancha, who is from Nyagarama's sub-clan, also settled for former Botswana Government senior administrator Samson Borura who comes from Bogetutu, same as Nyamira Senator Kennedy Okong'o, the only candidate who has a woman as a running mate.

Okong'o chose Emmaculate Onkangi, 25, from the Kitutu clan as his mate.

Prof Evans Nyatigo who is vying on a Chama Cha Mashinani Party has Jared Osoro from Borabu as his running mate.

Walter Nyambati from Bogetutu, a Jubilee Party candidate, had the Abasamaro sub-clan of the larger Bogirango family choose for him lawyer Stephen Oboso as his mate.

While all the aspirants will be counting on votes from their own clans, back-up support from clans of their running mates is also a serious factor in the outcome of the August polls.

Nyambati, Kumenda and Okioma are the only contenders from Bogetutu clan, which has a total of 106,000 registered voters.

The other six will be left with the only choice of scrambling for the 100,000 votes from North and West Mugirango constituencies with Borabu which has around 50,000 votes standing out as a swing vote.

"Anyone who wants to be Nyamira Governor must get support from the other clans in the county and that is why we have witnessed almost all the candidates going for deputies from the other clans," says Mr Moses Moindi, a local political analyst.

Even with the clan factor playing a major role in election of the next county governor, it remains a challenge for the voters to judge and select a leader who can help them overcome the many challenges in the region, regardless of where they come from.

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