Parties popularise candidates ahead of official campaigns

Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka, Machakos Wiper Senatorial aspirant Agnes Kavindu and Transport CAS Wavinya Ndeti at A.I.C Kasina in Mlolongo town on January 17, 2021. [John Muia, Standard]

The battle for the Machakos senatorial seat that fell vacant following the death of Boniface Kabaka has kicked off in earnest. This comes barely a week before the official campaign calendar outlined by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).

Yesterday, leaders from Wiper, Maendeleo Chap Chap and Grand Dream Development Party trooped to churches to rally support for their candidates.

Maendeleo Chap Chap flagbearer Mutua Katuku and Wiper candidate Agnes Kavindu Muthama attended separate church services, with the parties’ leaders drumming up support for their candidates.

In Mlolongo, Wiper party leader Kalonzo Musyoka led six MPs to African Inland Church Kasina for a church service where they campaigned for Ms Kavindu.

Machakos deputy governor Francis Maliti was hosted by Yatta MP Charles Kilonzo at Matuu Catholic Church, where they rallied support for Mr Katuku, a former Cabinet minister.

Kangundo MP Fabian Muli accompanied his Grand Dream Development Party candidate Simon Kitheka to ABC Bomani in Machakos town.

Kalonzo said he was confident Kavindu had the requisite qualities to deliver.

The former vice president urged the Kamba community to resist any attempt by "outsiders" to introduce other candidates. “As a community, we are under attack. Class wars have been introduced to cause rifts between the rich and poor and that is a dangerous thing,” said Kalonzo.

He dismissed claims by Wiper party opponents that the choice of Kavindu, the estranged wife of former Machakos Senator Johnstone Muthama, was motivated by the urge to settle political scores with the latter.

“Trust me, God has blessed me with the gift to reconcile people. When this woman (Kavindu) becomes Machakos Senator I will hold her and hand her over to Muthama,” said Kalonzo.

He said Kavindu had demonstrated leadership skills and experience that would enable her to deliver.

Kalonzo also sought to quell talks of simmering rebellion within Wiper party by parading its 2017 Senate aspirant Jackson Kala, who said he voluntarily stepped down in favour of Kavindu.

In Matuu, area MP Charles Kilonzo, an ally of Maendeleo Chap Chap party leader Alfred Mutua urged Machakos residents to support a home-grown candidate and party - Dr Mutua and Maendeleo Chap Chap.