Epic duel as Wavinya seeks governor seat

CAS Wavinya Ndeti. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

Former Transport Chief Administrative Secretary Wavinya Ndeti is facing an epic battle in her third attempt to clinch the elusive Machakos governor’s seat.

The former Kathiani MP faces opposition from United Democratic Alliance (UDA) chairman Johnstone Muthama and Chama Cha Uzalendo’s Nzioka Waita.

Muthama is a long time MP for Kangundo and served as first Machakos senator in 2013 but refused to defend his seat after political differences with Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka in 2017.

The UDA chairman is a popular candidate and former Kalonzo ally who bankrolled Wiper party before a bitter fallout, but his influence in the county is still deep.

Currently, Muthama is not a kingmaker but wants to be Machakos governor even as he participates in weightier national matters in Deputy President William Ruto’s UDA party. 

Waita is a new entrant into politics, who had a long time career in the private sector before he was plucked by President Uhuru Kenyatta to be Head of the Delivery Unit at the president’s office before being elevated to State House Chief of Staff.

In 2013 and 2017, Ms Wavinya, who says she grew up in a middle-class home in Athi River, lost to Mr Mutua albeit after both elections were challenged in court.    

After being handed the Wiper ticket, she now believes this is God’s timing to lead Machakos County. She has promised food security through investment in modern farming practices, invest heavily in health and empowerment programmes for youth, women groups and community-based organisations.

She said her three pillars are founded on principles of integrity, transparency, efficiency and civic engagement. To boost food security, she will seek to make fertiliser and other critical inputs available and affordable for farmers.

She will also and improve access to agricultural credit from financial institutions. To solve joblessness, Wavinya plans to empower the youth through training and skills development and creating a conducive environment in Machakos County for investment and doing business by promoting various economic activities and linking them to markets within and outside Kenya.

“We will also support SMEs and MSMEs by training the proprietors on business practices and through negotiating access to affordable credit facilities. Construct sheds for Juakali artisans while at the same time linking them with institutions such as KIRDI to patent their innovations,” said Wavinya.

 “We will make sure local companies include youth, women, persons living with disabilities and other groups, provide cheap and quality raw materials first before sourcing externally,” she added.