All set for Matungu, Kabuchai by-elections on Thursday

ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi campaigns for his candidate Oscar Nabulindo at Bulimbo in Matungu constituency yesterday. [Benjamin Sakwa, Standard]

Matungu and Kabuchai parliamentary by-elections are scheduled for Thursday.

The legal window for campaigning ended today, two days prior to the election day, with candidates making their final pitches to the voters.

Matungu and Kabuchai seats fell vacant following the death of Murunga Makokha in November last year and that of James Lusweti in December.

Before 1997 Matungu was under the larger Mumias constituency that comprised Mumias West and Mumias East constituencies.

It bonders Bumula, Kanduyi, Mumias East, Siaya, Butula and Mumias West constituencies.

Currently, the constituency has at least 62,386 registered voters who are expected to cast their ballots on March 4.

The constituency has five wards namely Namamali, Koyonzo, Mayoni, Kholera and Khalaba with a total of 116 polling stations will be used in all five wards.

Dr Joseph Amukoya became the first MP for Matungu after he won the 1997 parliamentary elections on a Kanu ticket. 

But in 2002, Dr Amukoya lost to David Were who rode in National Rainbow Coalition (Narc) wave.

Were successfully defended the seat in 2007 and 2013 on two different party tickets.

He vied on the ODM ticket in 2007 and managed to secure the seat in 2013 as a Ford Kenya candidate.

Murunga who vied on the Amani National Congress (ANC) ticket seized the opportunity presented by ODM’s poor show in Western to dislodge Were after the latter had served for 15 years in Parliament.

The voting pattern appears to be shifting as the race shapes up into a battle between former Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s ODM, Musalia Mudavadi’s ANC and United Democratic Alliance (UDA) associated with Deputy President William Ruto.

The Matungu mini-poll candidates are David Were (ODM), Peter Nabulindo (ANC) and Alex Lanya (UDA).

Ruto is keen to deal Raila another political blow after he left the former Prime Minister licking wounds in the Msambweni by-election that was won by an independent candidate allied to the DP.

Besides political parties, other factors that could tilt the race include the clan card and the 2022 succession politics.

Other candidates in the race are Charles Kasamani (United Democratic Party), Paul Achayo (Movement for Democracy and Growth (MDG) and Faida Auma (Maendeleo Chap Chap).

Other prominent candidates are Mrs Murunga, the widow of the late Matungu MP, who will battle it out with her stepson, Ambwere.

Ambwere is a businessman and elder son of the late Murunga and a businessman.

Residents hope the election will be peaceful as the official campaign periods ended on Monday.

“We want to have peace on Thursday and days after and we hope politicians will not use us youth to cause havoc,” said David Nadwa, a resident of Matungu.