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How Azimio sibling rivalry handed Ruto's UDA four MP seats in Kisii

 From left: Sylvanus Osoro, Alfa Miruka, Zaheer Jhanda, and Japheth Nyakundi. [File, Standard]

Deputy President William Ruto's frequent tours of Kisii could have contributed to the election of four legislators on his United Democratic Alliance (UDA) party.

The party took advantage of the sibling rivalry within Azimio and walked away with the four key constituencies in the region. In all the four constituencies, Azimio had fielded several candidates from affiliated parties.

In Kitutu Chache North, UDA candidate Japheth Nyakundi garnered 11,834 votes to end the more than the two-decade political career of National Assembly Deputy Majority leader Jimmy Angwenyi of the Jubilee Party who got 8,260 votes.

Azimio had also fielded an ODM candidate, Geoffrey Asanyo, who got 5,609 votes.

Mr Nyakundi said he had fought against strong opponents who had resisted change in the constituency for years.

"This is a victory for the great people of Kitutu Chache North who have been fighting against oppression for years. It's time to have dialogue on how to change the constituency," he said.

The 33-year-old first-time candidate said the constituency has been battling high poverty and unemployment levels.

"There are several questions on resource distribution," he said.

In Nyaribari Chache, Zaheer Jhanda of UDA surprised his opponents when he garnered 31,621 votes to beat the incumbent Richard Tongi of Jubilee who got 10,039 votes.

 Zaheer Jhanda garnered 31,621 votes to beat the incumbent Richard Tongi of Jubilee. [Sammy Omingo, Standard]

Zaheer said his victory was a sign that residents were looking for change and better leadership. "We have struggled for 10 years to have new leadership in this region. I believe I have what it takes to improve the living standards of our people. I will join other leaders in ensuring that we have reduced poverty levels," he said.

The MP-elect now has a chance to fulfil his promise of giving uniforms to every primary school-going child in the entire constituency.

South Mugirango MP Sylvanus Osoro (UDA) got 25,152 votes in a battle he said was marred with intimidation and harassment from senior government officers.

"I know "Deep State" wanted me out of the race but I have eventually shown them what it takes to have a people-centred leadership. My supporters remained strong and committed to the cause. This is a testament that indeed people can make a decision without being coerced," he said.

This is the second time Osoro has beaten his political rival Denis Makori (ODM) who garnered 21,710 votes. Mr Makori first lost to Osoro in 2017.

Alfa Miruka (UDA) retained his Bomachoge Chache seat after getting 12,458 votes against Abudalla Matoke of Kenya Social Congress who got 11,908 votes.

Mr Miruka said joining UDA had given them an upper hand in the race. "The party leader visited the constituency more than three times in the last two months and Dr Ruto's campaign manifesto resonated well with the people. We will build our legacy on the Kenya Kwanza manifesto that is all about uplifting the poor," he said.

Bonchari got a new MP, Charles Ochoke (UPA), who got 13,854 votes. The first-time candidate beat his closest opponent, Jonah Ondieki (ODM), who had 10,661 votes.

Mr Ochoke said the culture of filing election petitions had hindered development in the constituency. "We have previous MPs spending time in the courts fighting off election petitions. It is time to support those who have won various elective seats since we will always have winners and losers in any election," he said.

He said his first stop would be at Suneka airstrip to ensure its construction is completed. He said he would work closely with other government departments and leaders to improve infrastructure in the health sector, have better roads and value addition for agricultural produce.

  Charles Ochoke (UPA) got 13,854 votes. His closest opponent, Jonah Ondieki (ODM), had 10,661 votes. [File, Standard]

ODM party bounced back from the 2017 shock of not having had a single elected MP in the party to win three seats in the 2022 elections in the county.

Former Kenya Ports Authority Managing Director Daniel Manduku (ODM) bagged the Nyaribari Masaba seat with a total of 16,303 votes against his closest challenger, Benard Ondari of PPOK, who emerged second with 5,366 votes.

Dr Manduku said the win was a result of hard work and great grassroots mobilisation skills from his team. "The electorate believed in our vision and agenda. We will not fail our people; we will do all we can to ensure that we have uniformly distributed our resources," he said.

Former Youth Affairs Director Anthony Kibagendi (ODM) scored 14,217 votes to emerge the winner in the Kitutu Chache South parliamentary race in a contest that had attracted 10 contestants. Mr Kibagendi had decamped DA ahead of the General Election.

Andrew Maubi of Wiper party followed closely with 10,378 votes.

Kibagendi promised to change the cosmopolitan constituency, which cuts through Kisii town: "We now have a youthful leadership and all we want are new ideas on how to manage the constituency."

Another first-timer, Obadiah Barongo, secured the Bomachoge Chache seat with 15,851 votes through ODM.

Innocent Obiri secured the Bobasi seat through Wiper party, garnering 20,957 votes against former MP Stephen Manoti of Jubilee.

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