With only two months left to the General Election, a bruising battle for the Kwale Governor, Senate and Woman Representative seats is shaping up, with aspirants leaving nothing to chance.
Intensive campaigns have already started with candidates traversing the county convincing the electorates to vote for them, after they were cleared by Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).
The governor’s race pits the incumbent, Mr Salim Mvurya, who was overwhelmingly voted in 2013 on an ODM ticket before he changed allegiance and is seeking re-election on a Jubilee Party ticket.
Mr Mvurya enjoys support of the Jubilee government and exudes confidence of retaining his seat based on his development record.
But according to political pundits, his re-election may be affected by his defection. The county is perceived to be an opposition stronghold.
Mr Chirau Ali Mwakwere, a former ambassador to Tanzania, has kicked off an aggressive campaign to unseat Mr Mvurya and “tackle unemployment in the county”.
Former Plan International’s Uganda Country Director, Dr Issa Chipera, is also in the race on an ODM ticket.
He promises to give priority to good governance, health and education, if elected.
Kwale Assembly Speaker Sammy Ruwa still hopes to clinch the seat as an independent candidate after he was trounced in the ODM nomination by Dr Chipera.
Businessman James Gereza Dena is making a political comeback as an independent candidate after he was defeated by a huge margin in the 2013 General Election.
He has anchored his campaigns on development, coexistence and tolerance.
The Kwale senator’s race is a bruising battle between 11 candidates who want to be the resource mobilisers for the county that is rich in minerals and a hub for tourism.
The candidates are ODM’s Issa Juma Boy, who is a brother to the late Senator Boy Juma Boy, Abdallah Juma Ngozi (DP), Mshenga Ruga Vuyaa (Jubilee), Hassan Rashid Mzinga (Kanu), Stanley Matano (Wiper) and Ibrahim Bulushi (Ford-Kenya).
Others are Mwero Kombo (Kadu-Asili), Omar Mwawaka (Chama Cha Mwangaza Daima), Anthony Mulinge (Empowerment and Liberation Party), Japheth Muthoka (Maendeleo Chap Chap) and Nuru Lula Hassan (Alternative Leadership Party of Kenya) as the only woman in the male dominated race.
The woman representative’s seat has attracted four candidates, seeking to unseat incumbent Zainab Chidzuga of Jubilee, who also defected from ODM.
Her rivals are Ms Zuleikha Hassan Juma (ODM), Ms Fatuma Tabwara (Party for Development and Reforms), Mwanaalima Mwapheku (Kanu) and Ann Wanjiku Mburu (Maendeleo Chap Chap).