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Murunga’s widow, son to face off in election

WESTERN
By Brian Kisanji | February 24th 2021

Christabel Murunga and Eugene Ambwere

The widow of the late Matungu MP Justus Murunga will battle it out with her stepson in the forthcoming by-election.

Christabel Murunga and Eugene Ambwere declared their interest in the seat at the burial of the MP on December 5 last year. 

Ambwere is the eldest son of the late Murunga.

The two who will vie as independent candidates will battle it out with 13 other aspirants in the March 4 by-election.

Mother and son will fight to win the support of 65,000 registered voters in Matungu. Ambwere tried in vain to get the endorsement of Deputy President William Ruto during the burial of his father.

Mrs Murunga said she has what it takes to complete the work started by her late husband.

Ambwere, a Nairobi based businessman has been crisscrossing the constituency to endear himself to the voters.

Boycotted

Mrs Murunga, a housewife, successfully mobilised women to vote for Murunga in 2017 on ANC ticket.

Efforts by the family to have one of them go for the seat hit a brick wall.

The family met at their Makunda home after the gazettement of the timelines for the March 4 by-election by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission to convince mother and son to agree on who will vie.

The meetings were convened by the late MP’s personal assistant George Nyongesa, an ally of the widow.

Mrs Murunga was accused of not giving his stepson enough notice to the meetings and inviting people of were supporting her aspiration.

A third meeting meant failed to take place on December 17, 2020 after Ambwere boycotted.

Mrs Murunga came out of the meeting and declared her interest in the Matungu seat only for Ambwere to make a similar announcement.

They were both eyeing the ANC ticket, but were overtaken by Peter Nabulindo.

Ambwere has maintained that there is mutual respect between him and the mother despite the political competition. “Being rivals doesn’t mean we are enemies, we respect each other,” he told The Standard.

“She is a mother at home but a competitor when it comes to hunting for votes, so there is no enmity,” he said.

He has been meeting women and youth to seek support for his candidature.

“My intention is to complete the term that was left by my father. I understand a lot of ideas he had in mind for Matungu and I just want to fulfill them,” said Ambwere.

The mother and son conduct parallel campaigns and their manifesto is packaged in the manner Murunga did in 2017.

They want to prioritise education and infrastructure development.

Mrs Murunga has maintained that she best suited to fit in her late husband’s shoes.

“I am a woman fighting among 14 men and my hope is that people will look at by ability to serve as their leader,” she said

She chooses not to delve deeper into her rivalry with the step son saying she is focused on the prize.

The front runners in the by-election are Nabulindo (ANC), David Were (ODM) and Alex Lanya (UDA).

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