Second term governors scheming to control their own succession
By Biketi Kikechi
| May 15th 2022 | 4 min read
A big number of second term governors want to influence their succession and either openly or silently support preferred candidates in party nominations.
It is the reason why Maendeleo Chap Chap and Pamoja African Alliance led by governors Alfred Mutua and Amason Kingi are fighting to disengage from Azimio la Umoja One Kenya coalition.
It is no surprise because second term governors are becoming increasingly vocal against the zoning of regions for political parties, where only one will be allowed to field candidates.
Like other second-term governors, the two are keen on entrenching their influence in the regions they represent and are therefore against the zoning of regions as proposed by the Azimio kingpins.
But why are they so interested in who will take over after their departure from office?
A good number of them were development conscious while others have been criticised for wasting public funds and not dealing with corruption.
Some have had questionable performance over the two terms, while some have been taken to court over alleged corruption cases.
Second term governors are spread across the two main political divides; Raila Odinga’s Azimio La Umoja-One Kenya and William Ruto’s Kenya Kwanza Alliance.
Among those who are deeply involved in Azimio One Kenya politics are Wycliffe Oparanya (Kakamega), James Ongwae (Kisii), Hassan Ali Joho (Mombasa), Alex Tolgos (Elgeyo Marakwet) and Sospeter Ojaamong (Busia).
Kenya Kwanza has the likes of Mutua, Kingi, Samuel Tunai (Narok), Patrick Khaemba (Trans Nzoia), Josephat Nanok (Turkana), Salim Mvurya (Kwale) and Martin Wambora (Embu). All are serving second terms.
In Migori, Governor Okoth Obado has launched a campaign against the ODM candidate Ochillo Ayacko, claiming he is an outsider as he hails from the neighbouring Homa Bay county.
He claims that the ODM candidate Ochillo Ayacko is an outsider from neighbouring Homa Bay and should, therefore, be rejected by voters.
“It will be sad for Migori to elect a governor who will come and rubbish things. We can decide on who will inherit my seat and we will make sure we get the right candidate,” he said at a recent function at Migori stadium.
In Busia, it is no secret that Ojaamong’s hand showed in the recent ODM nominations for the gubernatorial race, where his former rival Paul Otuoma emerged victorious.
Otuoma won with 49,330 votes against Woman rep Florence Mutua’s 30,696, with the majority of her votes coming from Ojaamong’s Teso South stronghold.
Ojaamong had prior to the party primaries asked ODM to give Mutua a direct ticket to vie for the gubernatorial seat.
Otuoma, however, hit back, saying Ojaamong should be the last person to impose a person on Busia people
Now, Ojaamong is alleged to be supporting the Kenya Kwanza candidate Sakwa Bunyasi, who is a member of Musalia Mudavadi's Amani National Congress (ANC).
Former Teso South MP Arthur Odera cited a recent call by Busia ODM party branch Secretary Innocent Oluku, a staunch Ojaamong backer, to voters in the county to vote for Bunyasi.
Speaking at a function held by Mutua to issue bursaries to needy children at Busia Airstrip Primary school, Oluku said Bunyasi is better qualified to be the governor.
“In the Luhya culture the eldest son is supposed to be served a gizzard but it has to an elder who is present even if he is not your father and so it is the elder candidate (Bunyasi) who deserves the gizzard,” said Oluku.
In Mombasa, Joho was actively involved in the talks that resolved the stand-off in Azimio La Umoja-One Kenya between Mvita MP Abdulswamad Shariff Nassir and politician Suleiman Shahbal.
Former long-serving civic leader Omar Mbwana Kazungu Hassan says all outgoing governors want loyalists who will give them a positive image after they leave office.
“Joho worked tirelessly to ensure that Nassir gets the ticket because they work closely in ODM and are both trusted more by party leader Raila Odinga,” says Mbwana.
In Kwale, Mvurya began campaigning for his deputy, Fatuma Achani, immediately after they won the 2017 gubernatorial race which they won with a big margin.
She was running on an ODM ticket in 2013 before they defected to Jubilee and again won in 2017.
In Kilifi governor Kingi is having problems with his ODM party because of the support he has thrown behind lawyer George Kithi who is running on the governor’s PAA party.
That means Azimio-One Kenya will have two candidates Malindi CAS Gideon Mung’aro (ODM) and Kithi pitted against Kenya Kwanza’s Aisha Jumwa.
In Kakamega, Oparanya burned the midnight oil to ensure that first, his former deputy Prof Philip Kutima who had decamped from ODM to DAP-K returned to the fold to support his preferred candidate Fernandes Barasa.
And in Kisii, Ongwae is said to be working hard to reduce the damage caused when Dagoretti MP Simba Arati was given the ODM ticket.
Political analyst Prof Amukowa Anangwe opines that some governors want people who will cover skeletons in their cupboards as they continue benefitting from county resources.
“A few performed well and naturally they want to be inherited by people who are inclined to them for continuity,” adds Anangwe.
“Talk all over the place is that one who fought hard to ensure his favoured successor gets a nomination ticket has demanded to be given 50 per cent of County Executive Committee seats,” says former Masinde Muliro lecturer Wanjala Kubebea.
Some also want to hang around and safeguard themselves against prosecution because they have either looted public coffers or want to continue enjoying more largesse under their successors.
“It is a question of choice but they have critically analysed the political environment in their counties and that is why some have become more realistic and gone for lesser appealing seats,” says Kubebea.
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