Despite little support, Malombe recaptures Kitui governor's seat

Kitui governor-elect Dr Julius Makau Malombe (centre) receives a certificate from returning officer Macharia Gichichi (right) at Kitui Multi-Purpose Hall on Friday. [Philip Muasya, Standard]

Former Kitui governor, Dr Julius Malombe has pulled a surprise victory against three political heavyweights to secure the seat that he lost in the 2017 elections.

Malombe, of the Wiper party, garnered 198,004 votes to trounce his closest rival, David Musila of the Jubilee party, who garnered 117,606 votes.

He mounted a serious challenge against Musila - a former senator - who received backing from the outgoing governor Charity Ngilu and former Kenyan Ambassador to Uganda, Kiema Kilonzo.

After withdrawing from the governor's race, Ngilu, threw her support behind Musila.

However, Malombe relied heavily on the development track record during his first term to woo voters. "My track record spoke for me. Despite my competitors ganging up against me, people related so well with our development imprints," said Malombe.

The former governor is credited with initiating projects across the county, which include health facilities, supply of water and road infrastructure.

"I thank the people of Kitui county for showing a lot of confidence in me and giving me another mandate to serve as their Governor. I won't let you down," Malombe said.

Yesterday, Musila, who emerged second at the polls conceded defeat. "I wish Malombe well as he serves the people," Musila said while thanking his supporters, who voted for him.

Meanwhile, Kitui senator Enoch Wambua and Woman Rep Irene Kasalu have been re-elected in their positions. Wambua garnered 191, 317 votes against Stephen Kilonzo, who received 49,064.

Kasalu garnered 201,899 votes to retain the Woman Rep post, beating former deputy governor Penina Malonza (UDA) who garnered 78,783 votes.