A United Democratic Alliance (UDA) governor aspirant in Bungoma County has told off Deputy President William Ruto for shortchanging him in favour of Senate Speaker Ken Lusaka.
Zachariah Barasa, a Nairobi-based businessman, who for the last two years has been traversing the county endearing himself to the electorate in order to solidify his support base, had intended to compete against Governor Wycliffe Wangamati on a UDA ticket.
“I have spent a fortune for the last two years. I have been on the ground trying to popularise my candidature as well as the name of the Deputy President. Being shortchanged during 'injury time' is inhumane and political deceit,” said Barasa.
“I am giving UDA's top management organ seven days to have the Sh500,000 I paid as nomination fee for the governor position to be refunded with immediate effect.”
He said Ruto had promised them that no candidate will be given preferential treatment, saying instead, the Deputy President had changed tune and is now shortchanging his lieutenants on the ground and giving their compatriots direct nominations.
According to Barasa, his fate was sealed on Monday when top party officials asked him to shelve his gubernatorial ambitions in favour of Speaker Lusaka, a Ford Kenya candidate.
He said it would have been better for all parties under the Kenya Kwanza coalition to be allowed to field candidates in other elective seats and have a 'friendly fire' and allow the voters to elect a candidate of their own choice.
Barasa has vowed to be on the ballot in the August 9 polls and unseat the current governor whom he accuses of running down the county.
“The passion to serve people and not the desire to make money in politics is the driving force behind my candidature. The county has failed to get a people-centred and issue-based leader who has people's interests at heart but in me, I have the qualities to be governor,” said the aspirant.
“I have firmly been and will always stand with the less fortunate and marginalised majority. I stand a strong and better chance to be a servant governor, not a bossy one. I will prioritise the social welfare of both staff and the residents so as to realise a conducive working environment,” he added.
The aspirant said he will ensure the provision of universal healthcare to all. He promised to ensure that the health facilities in the county are well equipped and stocked, arguing that the vulnerable will get free treatment as their bills will be catered by the county through NHIF.
“In politics, you should be prepared for anything especially when your party is in a coalition with another party. The interests of party leaders will always override those of individual candidates,” said Prof Nyukuri Barasa, an election and governance expert from Bungoma.
Nyukuri avers that there was no way Ruto would field a candidate to compete with Lusaka who had been sponsored by Ford-Kenya leader Moses Wetang’ula, a principal partner in the Kenya Kwanza coalition.
There will be no UDA nominations in Bungoma save for the Mt Elgon constituency.
Bungoma UDA-allied MPs Didmus Barasa (Kimilili), Dan Wanyama (Webuye West) and Fred Kapondi (Mt Elgon) are all supporting Lusaka’s candidature.
Bungoma Deputy Governor who is running for the senatorial seat was initially a UDA candidate but when Ford-Kenya joined forces with DP Ruto, he defected to DAP-K for fear of being shortchanged.
In Mumias East, former Kakamega County sports executive Kassim Were, Malaha/Isongo/Makunga ward rep Lucas Radoli and Philip Sakwa who were ODM aspirants were also caught unawares when ODM issued a direct nomination certificate to Peter Salasya who was to vie on the Democratic Action Party (DAP-K).
ODM nominations in Kakamega County were to be held on Tuesday for only 14 out of the 60 ward rep seats. In the remaining wards, MPs, Senator, Women Rep and gubernatorial seats, the party issued direct tickets.