Contenders go for Tiriki vote in race for Vihiga top seat

Three aspirants for the Vihiga gubernatorial seat have all picked their running mates from Tiriki sub-tribe, expected to provide the much-needed votes to guarantee victory in the August 8 polls.

Governor Moses Akaranga, Emuhaya MP Wilbur Ottichilo (ODM) and United Democratic Party’s Kennedy Butiko opted for running mates from the sub-tribe that has some 40,000 of the total 267,000 registered voters.

DEPUTY GOVERNOR DROPPED
Another aspirant, Vihiga MP Yusuf Chanzu however settled on Dr Billy Nyonje who hails from the Bunyore sub-tribe.

The county is dominated by three sub-tribes: Maragoli, which is considered the largest, Bunyore and Tiriki.

Mr Akaranga, a Maragoli, was the first to pick his running mate.

He dropped his current deputy, Mr Caleb Amaswache – a Munyore, and picked Dr Joseph Imbunya, who hails from Tiriki’s largest clan, Valukhova.

SECOND OPPORTUNITY
Dr Ottichilo, a Munyore, settled on Dr Patrick Saisi of Vikhava clan in Tiriki.

Dr Saisi is a lecturer at Moi University, Eldoret.

He was Mr Butiko’s running mate in 2013 and together they garnered 56,000 votes, about 1,700 votes less than the votes Governor Akaranga got to emerge victorious.

Mr Butiko, a Munyore, is yet to come public on choice of running mate.

However, speculation is rife that the runner-up in the 2013 governorship race has settled on Mr Castro Kabong’o to deputise him.

Mr Kabong’o hails from the Vasuva clan that settled in Tiriki from Kivagala in Sabatia, a Maragoli zone.

REGIONAL BALANCE
Mr Akaranga said he picked Dr Imbunya from a pool of 52 professionals from Tiriki.

He said his move to pick on Dr Imbunya will help boost cohesion and create regional balance among the communities.

Said Mr Akaranga: “After five years, I will be leaving office. This opens an opportunity for a Tiriki to succeed me in 2022.”

“Reject my competitors. Let them not deceive you. If you (Tiriki) support them, it will take you 10 years to take the governorship.

“By naming Dr Imbunya, it places you in a direct succession line. I am only going for five years and vacate the seat for you,” Mr Akaranga added.

EXPERT PICKED
On his part, Dr Ottichilo said his number two – Dr Saisi – is a professional who has served in the United Nations and is currently heading the School of Economics at Moi University, Eldoret.

“His work will be to stay in the office and supervise the implementation of my manifesto. He will not keep following me wherever I go.

“He will execute government policies and programmes by coordinating the various county departments.”

UNITY IS PARAMOUNT

This came as Amani National Congress leader Musalia Mudavadi whipped the party’s aspirants in Vihiga to unite and ensure victory for the county’s top seat.

“Don’t fight one another on WhatsApp. The unity of our aspirants on ANC will ensure victory for Yusuf Chanzu who is our candidate. We need the county seat for Vihiga as a party,” said Mr Mudavadi.

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