Trans Nzoia County Governor Patrick Khaemba (Left) and Deputy Governor Stanley Tarus
Attempts by Trans-Nzoia Governor Patrick Khaemba to seek a direct nomination on Ford Kenya (FK) suffered a blow when party officials rejected his bid.
This comes in the wake of tough competition from other candidates seeking the party’s ticket among them; a former County Executive Committee Member Andrew Wanyonyi.
During a heated meeting chaired by party leader and Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang’ula at his home, officials turned down the governor’s appeal to be cleared as party nominee to defend his seat.
Officials, led by Secretary General Martin Waliaula, took Khaemba to task for allegedly neglecting the party and his poor development record.
A source at the meeting said the officials accused Khaemba of neglecting the party and not helping those who supported him ascend to power.
“It is a known fact that your heart is not in the party. You have neglected the party and people who enabled you to be where you are,” an official claimed.
In defence, the governor said he had achieved so much and had hired some party supporters.
“It breaks my heart when you claim I have not achieved anything meaningful for the party. Some of you are serving in my government. What else do you expect me to do?” a furious Khaemba posed.
Party leader Wetang’ula had difficult time controlling the heightening tempers as the governor traded bitter words with the officials, who vowed to walk out of the party if the governor is given direct nomination.
“You have been disrespectful to the party and our leader. There is no way you are going to get a direct nomination,” one of them shouted.
The officials said they were not happy with the governor’s development record arguing that residents had lost confidence in his leadership.
“Your leadership has painted the party negatively because of lip services and scandals implicating your officers. We want a free and fair nomination to enable the party come up with a popular candidate,” the officials insisted.
Wetangu’la asked the officials and the governor to work together towards ensuring the party retains the seat.
“I don’t what to take sides on this matter. What I want is to see the party retain the seat,” said Wetang’ula before ending the meeting.
Wanyonyi quit Khaemba’s cabinet in 2014 and joined the national government as Managing Director for National Water Conservation and resigned to unseat his former boss.
There has been intensive lobbying from the Jubilee Party to have the influential Wanyonyi as their gubernatorial flag-bearer.