ODM, UDA rivals daring veteran Angwenyi for tough contest


Kitutu Chache North MP Jimmy Angwenyi [Courtesy]

Kitutu Chache in Kisii has since independence been represented by big names in Parliament.

Before it was split to Kitutu Chache North and Kitutu Chache South constituencies in 2013, the area was first represented by late Cabinet minister Lawrence Sagini, who lost the seat to the late Dr Zachary Onyonka in 1969. Onyonka went on to become one of the most powerful Cabinet ministers.

He defended and won the seat for 27 years until he died in 1996.

It was then that his perennial rival Jimmy Angwenyi was elected in a by-election held in January 1997. He has held the seat since except when he lost it to Onyonka’s son Richard in 2007.

The constituency is also home to Kisii Governor James Ongwae, who also vied in that General Election.

However, in 2013, it was a win-win for the three after the splitting of the constituency and the  coming of devolution. Ongwae was elected the governor, Angwenyi took Kitutu Chache North while and the younger Onyonka won in Kitutu Chache South.

Kitutu Chache North has 50,665 registered voters as per the 2017 Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission records, and has four wards: Marani, Monyerero, Kegogi and Sensi.

Angwenyi has maintained a grip on the constituency leadership and is determined to hold on in the August General Election.

The 77-year-old is facing opposition from Nakuru businessman Geoffrey Asanyo and Don Bosco Gichana, who have promised to ensure that the veteran legislator goes home.

“I would like to tell my opponents to try their luck in 2027 when I would have retired. For now, I am certain that the great people of Kitutu Chache North that I have represented in Parliament since 1997 will give me another chance,” says Angwenyi.

He is counting on his “tremendous” development record, saying it’s the reason the residents have constantly returned him to Parliament.

His closeness to President Uhuru Kenyatta earned him the position of the National Assembly Deputy Majority Leader after the 2017 elections, and was recently named a Jubilee deputy party leader.

Asanyo is a wealthy businessman known to have been close to the late President Daniel Moi and served as Nakuru and Kisii branches Kanu chairman.

He is seeking the ODM party ticket, and has hosted the party leader Raila Odinga several times at his rural home.

“I will bring change to the people of Kitutu Chache North. I’m asking for their support in my efforts to ensure that our constituency is one of the most developed in the country. I promise not to let down our people if given a chance to serve them,” he says.

Gichana, who is in Deputy President William Ruto’s United Democratic Alliance (UDA), came to the limelight in 2007 when he donated a Hummer for Raila’s presidential campaign. He was then based in the US.

Retire honourably

He was later jailed in Tanzania for five years over money laundering before he was released in 2018.

But Gichana blames some of his opponents for his travail, saying they considered him a threat in the 2017 elections.

He is asking Angwenyi to retire honourably. “Angwenyi is the age of my father and has served our people to the best of his abilities. It is now time that he handed over the leadership mantle to a younger leader.”

The businessman claims he has funded various projects in the area and would do more if elected.

A Nairobi-based lawyer Migosi Ogamba, who contested on ODM ticket in 2017, has bowed out of the contest after he was picked as the running mate of Nyaribari Masaba MP Ezekiel Machogu in the race for the governor’s seat on UDA ticket.

Former Kisumu Chief Office for Finance Eric Orangi has also shifted his interests to the Marani Ward seat.