A major political upset was in the offing yesterday at the Coast, according to the provisional results of the Tuesday election which showed some political bigwigs had either lost seats or were trailing their competitors.
Taveta MP Naomi Shaban, who served the constituency for 25 years, conceded defeat to newcomer Mr John Bwire Okano of Wiper Party. Dr Shaban was the longest serving female MP in Kenya. By the time of going to press yesterday, provisional data from the electoral body indicated that Taita Taveta Governor Granton Samboja was trailing independent candidate Andrew Mwadime.
Mr Mwadime alias Wakujaza is the current Mwatate MP. He defected from ODM to vie as an independent after the Orange party indicated that it will back Samboja to retain his seat. Mr Samboja later joined Jubilee Party. Yesterday, provisional results showed that Mwadime had 84,512 votes, Samboja had 42,304 votes and former area senator Dan Mwanzo of Wiper was at 10,504 votes.
Mr Stephen Mwakesi who vied for Taita Taveta governor seat on the People’s Empowerment Party (PEP) congratulated Mwadime saying “the people of Taita Taveta have spoken and as their son, I heed their voice.”
The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) had not officially announced the winners and losers of all the elective seats in the six counties at the Coast by the time of going to press yesterday.
“I’m clever enough to know when things are not going well for me. The results I’ve received from my agents shows that I’m doing badly in my stronghold and Bwire has won,” said Naomi.
According to the latest results seen by The Standard, Bwire was leading with 18,753 votes while Dr Naomi Shaban of the Jubilee party was a distant second with 7,796. Dr Shaban has served for 25 consecutive years as the legislator. Mr Okano is a young prominent lawyer and operates his John Bwire & Associates Advocates firm in Mombasa. In 2018, Dr Shaban, who in 2002 went against the NARC wave at the Coast, to win the Taveta seat on a KANU ticket had said that she will not contest in this year’s election.
In Kwale, provincial results indicated that Raila Odinga’s Azimio la Umoja camp could retain its political clout in the County after candidates in its fold opened an early lead for the MP seats. Former Kinango MP Gonzi Rai of Pamoja African Alliance (PAA) who affiliated himself to Azimio was leading the incumbent MP Benjamin Tayari of UDA by 5,000 votes. According to the IEBC provisional results, Mr Rai had over 11,000 votes and Tayari over 9,000 votes by the time of going to press. Some ten polling stations had not transmitted the results.
“I am optimistic of reclaiming my seat. It has been a tough race though. I thank God,” said Mr Rai. The veteran MP maintained that he was in Azimio coalition and not in Kenya Kwanza.
In Lunga Lunga, supporters of Mr Mangale Chiforomodo of the United Democratic Movement (UDM) that is affiliated to Azimio broke into song and dance saying he had won. Mr Chiforomodo’s supporters said they had received results from their agents that indicated that he had trounced incumbent Khatib Mwashetani of UDA. Mr Chiforomodo was among candidates who were endorsed by Raila when he campaigned in Kwale county last month.
In Matuga, MP Kassim Tandaza of Amani National Congress (ANC) was tipped to win yesterday and his supporters were in a celebratory mood. Mr Tandaza has been campaigning independently after UDA fielded Ms Mwanaisha Chidzuga for the position. But UDA was set to recapture the Msambweni parliamentary seat through incumbent Feisal Bader. Mr Mwashetani decamped from Jubilee Party to join Ruto’s political side and played a significant role to popularise Ruto in Kwale county. On the other hand, Tayari defected from ODM and teamed up with the DP.
The two MPs, together with Kwale governor Salim Mvurya, were DP’s political pillars in Kwale county.