South Mugirango: Ford-People returns to political limelight

Business

By Standard Team

The election of Manson Oyongo Nyamweya as South Mugirango MP has thrust former Cabinet minister Simeon Nyachae’s Ford-People party back to political limelight and sent ODM and PNU bigwigs back to the drawing board.

It was sweet revenge for Nyamweya, who in the 2007 General Election expressed desire to run on an ODM ticket, but lost out after the party gave its then national treasurer Omingo Magara, a direct nomination.

Nyamweya romped home decisively with a commanding lead of 14,099 voters. PDP’s Magara came second with 8,885 votes ahead of ODM’s Ibrahim Ochoi (6,638). Others included Kanu’s Joshua Ondora (1,231), Rashid Miyonga of PPK (1,145), Abaga Sagero of NVP (243), Safina’s Robert Ongaro (225), Narc-Kenya’s Ezekiel Okeng’o (143) and Ezekiel Nyangoya of Kenda (80).

South Mugirango MP-elect Manson Nyamweya (right) is congratulated moments after he was declared the winner in the constituency by-election on Friday. [PHOTO: TITUS MUNALA/STANDARD]

While to many the by election was largely seen as a contest between PM Raila Odinga and forces opposed to his presidential ambitions, the Kisii community proved yet again the 2012 matrix remain complex.

Former Cabinet Minister Henry Obwocha attributed the Ford-People candidate’s victory to grassroots campaign strategy while majority of constituents described Nyamweya as a homegrown product who kept in touch with wananchi.

"The victory is a statement that Kisii would never be used by leaders who have scores to settle," said Obwocha, a former West Mugirango MP.

The South Mugirango by-election attracted a host of political bigwigs from outside the region. This, possibly, irritated the locals who did not wish to be used to settle national political scores or personal battles ahead of the 2012 General.

Separately, Fisheries Minister Paul Otuoma, who was part of the ODM campaign team that camped in the constituency, said his party lost due to the propaganda war that portrayed Ochoi as an ‘outsider’.

Last Minute tricks

Reacting after being declared winner, an elated Nyamweya said: "All along I have been losing through crude methods employed at the last minute but this time, my agents owned the process and ensured our victory was not stolen again."

It was song and dance at Nduru Boys tallying centre as Nyamweya’s supporters celebrated as the returning officer declared him MP-elect at 6am.

"I thank God for this win and for peaceful polls. I will work for them (electorate) and not for the interests of outsiders. I am so grateful," he said.

His win surprised many who had perceived him to be a dark horse in the race, but pundits point to last- minute clan realignments as the reason for his win.

It is the MP-elect who filed an election petition immediately after the 2002 General Election, which was largely marred by irregularities.

Lands Minister James Orengo and Otuoma led MPs Simon Ogari, Justus Kizito and ODM’s candidate-Ochoi to a press conference at 2am to concede early defeat hours before the returning officer announced the official results.

Reports by Kepher Otieno, Kenan Miruka and Beauttah Omanga