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Governor Ongwae’s choice of running mate causing political jitters in Kisii

Youths allied to Engineer peter Kimori when he called a meeting at Magena Kisii County to denounce reports that he was picked by Kisii governor James Ongwae as his running mate on 16/04/2017. Chaos erupted when a section of the youths stormed the meeting and demanded for their share of money.[photos sammy omingo/standard]

The choice of a running mate is proving to be a nightmare for Governor James Ongwae, with other aspirants having already made known their proposed deputies.

A month ago, Opposition leader Raila Odinga threw his support behind Nairobi County Water and Environment Executive Peter Kimori to succeed the current deputy governor, Joash Maangi, who has defected to Jubilee.

Mr Kimori addressed the public with Raila at the Gusii Stadium, saying an agreement had reached to have him succeed Mr Maangi.

However, things seem not to be going according to plan, with Mr Kimori claiming that Ongwae’s campaign team was out to swindle him of money.

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The 2013 ODM parliamentary aspirant for Bomachoge Borabu has held several meetings but a recent one attended by professionals from the larger Bomachoge clan issued an ultimatum to Governor Ongwae to respect Raila’s choice or face political rebellion from the region. Led by Tom Iranya, the professionals said they were ready to rally residents against Ongwae’s re-election bid if he fails to pick Kimori as his running mate for the August polls.

“We have held several meetings with Governor Ongwae’s 12-member team but their demands remain untenable. Raila endorsed Kimori before a huge gathering at Gusii Stadium. What we have presented to the governor is a recommendation that we be told what he has been able to achieve in the past five years,” said Mr Iranya.

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Bomachage is part of the larger Gucha region that boasts the highest number of votes in Kisii County. “We have resolved that we will not support the governor’s re-election bid. We are prepared to work with individuals who respect our choice of leaders. We are set to hold a major rally in the next two weeks to announce our next course of action,” he said.

The group said it will vote for Raila ‘to the last man’ but would not support Ongwae. “Our options are wide open and nobody will be allowed to divide us,” Iranya said.

However, University professor Contastine Nyamboga argues that the choice of Ongwae’s running mate will not complicate his re-election bid.

He argued that the governor has a wide region from which he can pick his preferred running mate. “We have several professionals from that area who are accepted across the board,” he said.

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In a clan-dominated political region, the Abamachoge are likely to determine the area’s political direction.

Jubilee candidate Chris Obure has settled on Albert Nyaundi, who represents the Abamachoge clan.

Lawyer Edward Begi avers that Ongwae has no option but to pick his running mate from the clan, which has more than 90,000 votes.

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In the power-sharing deals of both Jubilee and NASA, the clan seems to have been left out. Instead, it appears to have been relegated to the position of presenting individuals for the running mate position.

Other major clans, including Ababasi, Abagetutu, and Abanyaribari, have presented candidates for either the position of Governor or Senator.

 

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