Political formations are slowly emerging in Kisii as parties complete nominations.
The primaries have left a bitter taste among aspirants ahead of the August 9 elections.
Unlike in the 2017 elections where Jubilee and ODM were the dominant parties, there are emerging third and fourth teams. The United Democratic Alliance and other small parties have equally presented strong candidates.
Shifting alliances, defections and clan politics have raised the heat for the three top county seats that have attracted both the seasoned, wealthy and youthful aspirants.
Daggers have been drawn with each formation trying to outwit the other with heavy campaign machinery.
The community is stuck on which party to associate itself with, whether the Manson Oyongo-led Kenya National Congress or the Kenya Social Congress founded by the late George Anyona now run by Mr Atati Kengere.
There is also the newest kid on the block, United Progressive Alliance (UPA) run by Nyamira Governor Amos Nyaribo. There is also the Progressive Party of Kenya (PPK) headed by Political Parties Liaison Committee vice-chair Evans Misati.
Kisii Senator Sam Ongeri defected from ODM to DAP-K and has been working on forming his own team that has attracted a woman representative and MCA aspirants.
Mr Ongeri picked Okundi Maaga and Ms Jackline Karani as Deputy Governor and Woman Rep aspirants respectively. Ongeri says he previously chose to remain in Azimio La Umoja led by Raila Odinga, who is the ODM party leader, before consulting and jumping ship.
He explained the rationale for the creation of Azimio was to widen the democratic space. “My move was deliberate to ensure the Kisii community approaches the 2022 elections as an undivided bloc.” Jubilee has opted to have seasoned politician Chris Obure as its preferred governor candidate.
Mr Obure has picked career civil servant William Mbaka as his running mate and former Kisii County Executive Peris Onsarigo as the Woman Rep aspirant. Former MP Omingo Magara will fly the party flag in the senator race. The party’s parliamentary aspirants include MPs Jimmy Angwenyi (Kitutu Chache North) and Richard Tong’i (Nyaribari Masaba). Former MPs Stephen Manoti (Bobasi) and Zebedeo Opore (Bonchari) are also seeking to make a comeback.
In the ensuing Kisii politics, the ODM formation seems divided. One team is allied to Woman Representative Janet Ongera and the other to governor race nominee Simba Arati.
Ms Ongera moved with a section of MCAs who joined Azimio-affiliated parties. It is not clear how the parliamentary aspirants in ODM will play their cards since all are seeking seats afresh. The split between Mr Arati and other ODM top leaders could have hurt the Orange group. Both the Assembly Majority leader Timothy Ogugu and Majority chief whip John Ombati have joined Azimio-affiliated parties. The party will have more than half of its parliamentary aspirants joining elective politics for the first time.
A number of MCAs who did not participate in the primaries have either joined other fringe parties or chosen to run as independent candidates, a move that could see ODM lose the majority seats.
The UDA camp has crafted its team with Nyaribari Masaba MP Ezekiel Machogu and Deputy Governor Joash Maangi. Mr Machogu is the party’s governor contender while Maangi opted for the Senate seat.
Lawyer Ogamba Migosi and former Bonchari MP John Oroo’s widow will be vying for the seats of Deputy Governor and Woman Representative respectively. In the UDA camp, South Mugirango MP Sylvanus Osoro and Alfa Miruka (Bomachoge Chache) will be seeking to retain their seats. They were both elected through Kenya National Congress (KNC) in 2017.
The party will also bank on other notable figures in the battle to have majority MP seats in Kisii. They include businessman Zaheer Jhanda (Nyaribari Chache) and lawyer Cliff Ombeta (Bonchari).
With the disappointments in party primaries, a number of aspirants have also joined Kenya Social Congress, Wiper, Ford-K and Kanu.