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Former key leaders in Western, Nyanza plotting comeback

Former UNCTAD Secretary-General Mukhisa Kituyi. [David Njaaga, Standard]

A number of former leaders from Western and Nyanza regions, some who have been in the political cold for over a decade, are plotting a comeback in 2022 General Election.

They are banking their hopes on the ongoing political realignments in the two regions and nationally.

The politicians are angling to fill the seats to be left by governors who are serving their final terms.

Such governors are Wycliffe Oparanya, (Kakamega), Sospeter Ojaamong (Busia), Cornel Rasanga (Siaya), James Ongwae (Kisii), Okoth Obado (Migori) and Cyprian Awiti (Homa Bay).

Some of the leaders aiming to try their luck in next year's General Election have been coalescing around political kingpins.

They have been attending events presided over by ODM leader Raila Odinga, Amani National Congress (ANC) boss Musalia Mudavadi, Ford Kenya’s Moses Wetang’ula, Deputy President William Ruto and Kanu chair Gideon Moi.

Former United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad) boss Mukhisa Kituyi, who is a former Cabinet Minister and Kimilili MP, is among those hoping to revive their political careers in 2022.

Dr Kituyi has announced his bid for the presidency although he is associated with President Uhuru Kenyatta's and Raila’s camp.

Others are Senate Speaker Kenneth Lusaka (pictured) who is plotting to edge out Bungoma Governor Wycliffe Wangamati and recapture the seat he lost in 2017.

Former Funyula MP and ex-Sports Cabinet Minister Paul Otuoma is eyeing Busia governor’s seat after he lost to Ojaamong in last polls.

One-time Butere MP and former Cabinet Minister Amukowa Anangwe has declared interest in Kakamega governor’s seat.

Former Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale, who is allied to Ruto, is also positioning himself for the county’s top seat.

Former Teso South MP Mary Emase, former assistant ministers Alfred Khangati, Bifwoli Wakoli and former MP Manyala Keya have been busy reactivating their campaign networks in readiness for another political campaign in 2022.

Wakoli served as Bumula MP while Khangati and Keya represented Kanduyi and Lurambi constituencies respectively. They were kicked into political oblivion after serving only a term each.

Other likely aspirants are former National Assembly Speaker and Emuhaya MP Kenneth Marende, former MPs John Serut (Mount Elgon), Lisamula Anami (Shinyalu) and David Were (Matungu) who lost recently in Matungu parliamentary by-election to Peter Nabulindo.

Former MPs Ababu Namwamba (Budalang'i), Bonface Otsiula (Bumula), Andrew Toboso (Butere), Rapahel Otaalo (Lurambi) and Suleiman Murunga (Kimilili) have also indicated that they will be in the race.

Khalwale insists that he is the best bet to succeed Oparanya in Kakamega while Lusaka appears to be the darling of the same voters who ejected him from office in 2017.     

In Nyanza, some of the leaders were knocked out during party primaries while others lost on the ballot in 2013 and 2017.

The leaders are now planning to cash in on the current political realignments to make a comeback.

With the emerging of fringe political parties and the fact that one can be an independent candidate, Nyanza could have a high number of leaders going for the six elective seats.

In the past two months, Homa Bay County has been the centre of the political realignments with former Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero his campaigns to succeed Awiti there.

Active politics

Kidero’s entry seems to have complicated Governor Awiti succession politics.

He would be facing other equally strong candidates including Woman Representative Gladys Wanga, ODM chair John Mbadi and 2017 gubernatorial aspirant Oyugi Magwanga.

In Migori, former MPs Erick Anyanga, John Pesa and Dalmas Otieno are angling to succeed Governor Obado.

Former Gem MP Jakoyo Midiwo is yet to formally declare his interest for a return to active politics.

Midiwo, an ally of Raila, lost the seat in 2017.

In Kisumu, former Governor Jack Ranguma is marshaling his troops to reclaim the seat he lost to Prof Anyang' Nyong’o.

In Kisii, the race to succeed Governor Ongwae has attracted veteran politicians.

Former South Mugirango MPs Manson Nyamweya and Omingo Magara have already declared their interest.

Omingo contested the 2017 senatorial seat on People’s Democratic Party (PDP) while Nyamweya was in the governor’s race on Kenya National Congress (KNC) party.

Former Kisii Senator Chris Obure, who is the Chief Administrative Secretary in the Ministry of Roads, is eyeing the governor's seat.

Kitutu Masaba's former MP Timothy Bosire, who is the ODM national treasurer, says he will vie against Governor Amos Nyaribo.

Nyaribo was sworn-in in December 2020 following the death of Governor John Nyagarama.

Bosire has been laying ground for his campaigns and could be banking on the populous Abagetutu clan to win.

He will battle it out with other leaders, among them former Kitutu Masaba MP Walter Nyambati, a Jubilee party official.

But political analysts say the former lawmakers may soon realise the journey back to the top is not a walk in the park.

Martin Andati, a political analyst, argues that some could be looking for relevance and easy money.

“It is a fact some would not make any impact, but they are emboldened by the new political alignments.

"Some are finding it hard to be out in the cold but they may be required to do a little more than just hanging on the coattails of key political players in the run-up to 2022 General Election," argues Andati.

Dr Kituyi has received a backlash from a section of leaders in Western region who perceive him as Raila's political stooge.

But the former Unctad boss has dismissed claims that he was supporting Raila, arguing that for one to ascend to the presidency, he or she ought to seek the blessings of the former premier and President Kenyatta.

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