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Tight race as Maangi, Onyonka and Magara battle for Kisii Senate seat

By Edwin Nyarangi | May 20th 2022 | 2 min read
Kisii County Wiper Party Women Representative Aspirant Doris Aburi addresses Marani residents in Kisii County on April 27, 2022. [Sammy Omingo, Standard]

The battle for Kisii Senate seat is shaping up to a three-horse race among ODM, Jubilee and UDA candidates.

The aspirants have escalated their campaigns to replace Senator Sam Ongeri, who is eyeing the governor seat.

They are hoping to secure majority support from at least 546,580 registered voters, spread across the six Gusii clans namely; Abagetutu, Abanyaribari, Abamachoge, Ababasi, Abagirango and Abanchari.

Kitutu Chache South MP Richard Onyonka is contesting for Senate on ODM ticket, Kisii Deputy Governor Joash Maangi (UDA) while former South Mugirango MP Omingo Magara will fly the Jubilee flag.

The race has also attracted former KTDA Company Secretary Kennedy Omanga (Kanu), university lecturer Evans Nyakundi (DAP-K), Richard Atemba (Democratic Party), Vincent Manyinsa (Wiper) and Vincent Gekone (Independent).

Mr Onyonka who served as Kitutu Chache South MP for three terms, is a son of former Cabinet Minister Zachary Onyonka.

The legislator who comes from the Abagetutu clan, said he could have joined the race to succeed Kisii Governor James Ongwae but he opted not to since they come from the same clan.

Mr Onyonka claimed there is an unwritten pact in Kisii where power has to rotate around the six Gusii clans which is the main reason he opted to support governor aspirant Simba Arati who hails from Ababasi clan and is a front runner in the race.

The Kitutu Chache South MP is riding on the goodwill of his father who served as MP for 26 years from 1969-1996 and his networks which he has established over the past 15 years to propel him to the Senate.

Mr Maangi who comes from the Abamachoge had initially shown interest in governorship but opted for the Senate seat after negotiations in UDA party saw Nyaribari Masaba MP Ezekiel Machogu clinch the governor’s ticket.

The deputy governor said he shelved his governor ambitions to ensure UDA team wins in Kisii.

“I am certain that UDA aspirant Ezekiel Machogu will be elected governor, while I am also going to be the next senator after we combined efforts to come up with a formidable team,” said Maangi.

Mr Magara who served as South Mugirango MP for nine years believes that he will clinch the Senate seat that eluded him in the 2013 and 2017 elections.

The former MP who was the UDA Treasurer before he defected to Jubilee, had initially sought the governor seat but said his supporters believe he is best suited as senator.

Mr Magara has teamed up with former Cabinet Minister Chris Obure who is the Jubilee governor candidate.

Mr Omanga comes from a political family; he is the son of former Cabinet Minister Andrew Omanga who served in retired President Daniel Moi’s government and former Kisii Mayor Clare Omanga.

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