Show of might as Nyambati and Wanga launch governor bids


Homa Bay women representative Gladys Wanga arrives in Homa Bay for her gubernatorial bid launch on February 13, 2022. [Collins Oduor, Standard]

Two aspirants for Homa Bay and Nyamira governor seats yesterday launched their bids, setting the stage for serious contests.

In Homa Bay, Woman Representative Gladys Wanga kicked off her quest to succeed Cyprian Awiti, while in Nyamira, former Kitutu Masaba MP Walter Nyambati began his bid to wrestle the seat from Amos Nyaribo.

In a show of might, Ms Wanga rallied residents to back her to be governor, promising to transform the county. At her event were Governors Charity Ngilu (Kitui), Anne Kananu (Nairobi), Senators Ledama ole Kina (Narok), Rose Nyamunga (Nominated) and MPs Babu Owino (Embakasi East), Godfrey Osotsi (nominated) and Ong’ondo Were (Kasipul). They vouched for Wanga’s leadership.

Azimio la Umoja leaders at the event also expressed confidence in Wanga’s leadership and praised her for progressive leadership and growth. Wanga’s move now sets the stage for a clash with 10 other aspirants, all targeting the ODM ticket. 

She unveiled her plan for the county and vowed to transform the health sector, the fishing industry, education and uplift communities economically.

Wanga said her desire to be governor was inspired by her track record and desire to ensure devolution succeeded in Homa Bay. “If we get devolution right, our people will have jobs and decent homes,” said Wanga.

As the first woman to chair the Finance Committee in National Assembly, Wanga said her experience and track record as a woman rep gave her the best credentials to lead Homa Bay.

She pledged to borrow a leaf from counties that had successfully implemented devolution. “I’m running for the seat to make Homa Bay a devolution success story. We have to revive the blue economy, invest in our education and also expand services.”

Others at the event were MPs Martin Owino (Ndhiwa), Janet Ongera (Kisii), Jerusha Momanyi (Nyamira), Rosa Buyu (Kisumu), Mishi Mboko (Likoni), Fatuma Gedi (Wajir), Florence Mutua (Busia), Sabina Chege (Murang’a), Youth and Gender Affairs CAS Rachel Shebesh, and Priscilla Nyokabi of the National Gender and Equality Commission.

Royal Media owner SK Macharia and some leaders from Mt Kenya also rallied voters to back Wanga. She is the only female candidate in the race. She said she was ready to take the county forward.

Azimio Women’s Movement backed Wanga, with Ms Shebesh saying: “We want more women to rise up and take up leadership positions.”

Ms Chege said Wanga had proved she was capable of taking over the seat. She challenged Wanga’s opponents to desist from personal attacks. “If you are not supporting a woman, do not talk nonsense about her.”

Mrs Ngilu described Wanga as a visionary leader and challenged her to ensure she transformed the lives of people. “She has a clear agenda and that is what all those eyeing governor seats should do,” said Ngilu.

Others targeting the seat are ODM chairperson John Mbadi, former Nairobi governor Evans Kidero, former Kasipul MP Oyugi Magwanga, Deputy governor Hamilton Orata, County Secretary Isaiah Ogwe, Finance Executive Nicholas K’Oriko and Kuppet Secretary General Akelo Misori.

The race has also attracted businessmen Jared Otieno, Luis Ogingo and Mark Obar.

Party affiliation, clans’ backing, candidates’ development record, unemployment and poor infrastructure are expected to play a key role in choice of the county’s governor.

At the event the leaders drummed up support for ODM leader Raila Odinga’s presidential bid. The Azimio la Umoja team had earlier been expected to push for Raila’s election in Migori County, but the meeting was postponed.

Back in Nyamira, Mr Nyambati launched his bid for the county’s top seat on UDA ticket at Rigoma Market, and said the electorate yearned for a tried and tested leader. 

“This time round I am very certain that the people of Nyamira County are going to give me a chance to serve them as their next governor since they have suffered a lot in the current administration,” said Nyambati.

He said Nyamira residents were tired of bad leadership and promised to prioritise value addition for tea, coffee, bananas and avocado.

Nyambati said Nyamira had produced great sportsmen and performing artistes and that he would ensure the sectors were empowered to nurture talent. Nyambati said Nyamira County had received nearly Sh80 billion since devolution, but had nothing to show for it. He vowed to fight graft.

“During my tenure as Kitutu Masaba we built many modern schools and opened up several administration units. I will replicate the same if given a chance to be the next Nyamira governor,” he said.

Kitutu Masaba MP Shadrack Mose said Nyambati was best suited to be the next Nyamira Governor. Mr Mose said Nyambati served the people of Kitutu Masaba Constituency with distinction between 2007 and 2013.

Key UDA leaders expected to attend Nyambati’s event did not.

ODM National Treasurer Timothy Bosire was the first to launch his bid for the Nyamira top seat. Borabu MP Ben Momanyi is also in the race.

The clan factor is expected to play a major role in deciding who the next Nyamira governor will be. Mr Nyaribo and Mr Momanyi come from the Bogirango clan, while Nyambati and Mr Bosire come from the Bogetutu clan.

The hopefuls’ choice of running mates is also set to play a major role in choice of the winner.

Harold Odhiambo, James Omoro and Edwin Nyarangi