The Wednesday’s Court of Appeal rulings in Nyamira and Kisii counties have changed the goal post for governor aspirants who will now have to wait until 2022.
Prior to the rulings that upheld the elections of Kisii Governor James James Ongwae and his Nyamira counterpart John Nyagarama, hopefuls eyeing the two positions had started crisscrossing the counties.
With elections four years away, the battle line seems to have been drawn, with several leaders declaring their interest for the coveted seats.
In Kisii, Deputy Governor Joash Maangi and legislators Simba Arati (Dagoretti North), Ezekiel Machogu (Nyaribari Masaba) and Richard Onyonka (Kitutu Chache South) have declared their interest in the Kisii seat.
Kenya National Congress party leader Manson Nyamweya, newly appointed Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) Managing Director Daniel Manduku and former principal procurement officer at the KPA Yobesh Oyaro who is currently stationed in Kisumu have also been mentioned as individuals who are likely to join the already crowded pool of hopefuls.
In Nyamira, two-term Borabu MP Ben Momanyi has already declared his interest in succeeding Nyagarama.
Momanyi will likely battle it out with former Kitutu Masaba lawmaker Timothy Bosire who has managed to create his brand of politics in the region and represents Abagetutu clan, which has the highest number of registered voters in the county.
According to political analyst Edward Begi, Maangi and Nyagarama’s deputy Amos Nyaribo will have to work hard to achieved much in the next four years.
“There is no hereditary politics in Kisii. Those who want to succeed them should start preparing the ground. The current governors have no right to appoint their political heirs,” says Begi.
Succession by the deputy governors will also be based on the blessing of the incumbency in terms of development.
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Begi says Nyagarama, Obure, Ongwae and Senator Sam Ongeri represent the old generation and status quo.
“They have the right to contest any political seat but they must demonstrate exceptional leadership, particularly after serving for more than 10 years,” he says.
The political commentator says such leaders should hand over the button and bless the young generation if indeed they mean well for the community.
North Mugirango MP Joash Nyamoko says Ongwae and Nyagarama should detach themselves form succession politics.
He believes that there are several dynamics to determine the 2022 battle, including change of boundaries.
“They have no stake on what will happen after their regimes. We should end the useless wars and work for the people. The turnover of leaders is too high and may lead to loss of continuity and spoil the foundation that has been laid,” says Nyamoko.
He says the two have no choice but to concentrate on service delivery.
Nevertheless, the seasoned politicians from the region play a critical role in determining political outcomes.
Some of them, including Obure and Ongeri, control more than 70 per cent of votes in their political turfs where clans play a major role.
After the ruling, Ongwae urged the governor hopefuls to avoid early campaigns, saying succession politics will not affect his service delivery.
Bosire said there have been glaring mistakes by the Nyamira County leadership.
“The future might remain dark because the county leadership has failed to rise to the occasion. The centre has failed to hold,” he said.