A new wave is sweeping through the Gusii community as youthful politicians and civil servants from the region position themselves for 2022.
Over the past two election cycles, young politicians have entered the fray to mixed results. In 2017, Sylvanus Osoro (South Mugirango) and Alfa Miruka (Bomachage Chache) beat seasoned politicians to win National Assembly seats.
The two leaders, who have been working with Deputy President William Ruto over the last one year, say the region is headed for a new political direction.
“We will not relent in our quest to change the region’s political landscape. Those who came ahead of us have done their part but we need to forge unity and work as a team if we are to achieve our goals,” Miruka told Saturday Standard.
Dagoreti North MP Simba Arati, now a two-term legislator, has been making in roads in Kisii County and is said to be interested in the governor’s seat. Arati has already been installed a Gusii elder.
Besides the politicians, a cabal of new and influential civil servants from the region are taking over jobs in parastatals and key agencies.
Daniel Manduku’s rise to Managing Director of the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) has earned him the tag of the most influential civil servant from the Kisii region.
Dr Manduku earned the respect of the community during his time at the National Construction Authority (NCA), where he also served as the CEO.
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He is a regular guest in school and church fundraisers and has been said to be eyeing the governor’s seat.
Pavel Oimeke, the Director General of the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC), is among senior government officials from Bonchari constituency who have shown interest in the parliamentary seat.
Oimeke is a renewable energy specialist. Before his appointment as director general, he served as the director of Renewable Energy at the commission. He also served as a consultant for the World Bank funded Lake Victoria Environment Management Programme implemented in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.
Like Dr Manduku, Oimeke is also actively involved in the social development in Bonchari and attends a number of social gatherings, including fund drives.
At the same time, Kisii Deputy Governor Joash Maangi has taken the clamor for generational change in Kisii politics a notch higher.
A lawyer, Maangi has cut himself an image of a go-getter and a no nonsense politician whose political survival.
Maangi briefly joined Jubilee in the run-up to the 2017 elections, but made an about-turn to run as Governor James Ongwae’s running mate in ODM.
“I have been fighting for a generational change in Kisii politics. I am glad many are following my footsteps. It is time we redeemed our political image and do the right things for our community. We are ready to serve our people without necessary having to look at the past,” said Maangi.
The Secretary in charge of Youth Affairs in the Office of the Deputy President Anthony Kibagendi is interested in the Kitutu Chache South seat which has been held by Richard Onyonka for three consecutive terms. Having served the two leading political parties in the country, Jubilee and ODM, Kibagendi has had a share of political misfortunes.
After losing in the ODM preliminaries in 2017, he decamped to Jubilee and lost to Onyonka before joining the office of the Deputy President.
“We are ready to take over our region. We have a powerful potential in our youth, and we must have the courage to change old ideas and practices to fresh ones, so that we may direct their power toward good ends,” said Kibagendi.
Political analyst Dismas Mokua says young politicians must first understand the issues that affect the community before declaring their interests to take over its leadership.
“This is a liberal community and the majority prefer to stay within the known rather than the unknown. The electorate have selfish interests,” he said.