The Wiper Party nominations for Kitui West parliamentary seat to be held on Tuesday promise to be battle royale as two aspirants position themselves for the race.
Maluki Kitili from the famous Mwendwa family will battle it out with Edith Nyenze, the widow to the late area MP Francis Nyenze who died about a month ago.
Fred Kimanga, who was also eyeing the Wiper ticket withdrew from the race citing unfair competition and will contest on another party’s ticket which has also attracted eight aspirants.
The by-election has rekindled the political rivalry between Matinyani and Mutonguni wards with some in the constituency saying that it was now time for Matinyani to reclaim the seat through Mr Kitili.
The late Nyenze hailed from Mutonguni ward which has 16,000 votes while Matinyani has 12,000 votes. Other wards in the constituency are Kauwi (14,000 votes) and Kithumula Kwa Mutonga ward which has about 9,700 votes.
Kitili has hit the campaign trail and is gaining popularity among the youth.
“I am bringing freshness in the campaign and my agenda is very clear; to make the area a model constituency where every villager feels the impact of our development agenda. I believe I am the best,” he told the press in Kitui town.
Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission has scheduled the by-election for March 26.
Mrs Nyenze on the other hand is relying on her late husband’s footprints to bag the ticket. Nyenze held the seat for three terms and was one of the long serving MPs in Kitui County.
However, some constituents have opposed her candidature owing to the fact that her younger brother, Enoch Wambua is the Kitui Senator.
“Much as we would want to sympathise with her for the loss of her husband, we feel that it is improper for her to occupy the seat yet her young brother is the senator,” said Elijah Kyambi from Kwa Mutonga ward.
Charity Ngilu’s Narc party does not have a candidate yet and there are claims the Kitui Governor will throw her weight behind the Wiper nominee.
But considering that Narc is not an affiliate of National Supper Alliance (NASA), it might spring a surprise by fielding a candidate.
Although Kalonzo has insisted that the nomination will be free and fair, there are claims that he has a bias for a certain candidate.
For instance, the Wiper leader has cordial relations with the Mwendwa family which includes Nyiva Mwendwa, Kitui’s political matriarch whose late husband, Kitili Mwendwa, was the first African Chief Justice in independent Kenya.
On the other hand, Kalonzo was close to the late Nyenze and would often come to his defence when the former minority leader made unsavory political statements with the potential to wreck the Opposition.
But whichever way nomination goes, the Wiper candidate will be assured of bagging the seat.
Others who have shown interest in the parliamentary race are Mutiso Leli, Tonny Mbiti, Bejamin Musyoki, Dennis Mulwa, Mwikali Love and Elijah Muimi.