Less than ten days to the General Election dozens of political heavy weights are fighting for their lives.
On August 9, a section will be celebrating the birth of new political careers while others will be gnashing their teeth after losing.
Though the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) gazetted 15,082 candidates for various seats, only 1,932 posts are up for grabs, including the presidency. This reality will dawn on the politicians a day after the election and 13,150 contestants will have lost.
Losers will have to wait for half a decade to make a come back or simply just draw the curtain on their careers.
Noteworthy, the coveted seat of governor has attracted senior politicians whose future lies with the 19 million electorates across the 47 counties.
“Many politicians will find themselves in uncertain and precarious situation next month, with the clout they have governor candidate losers will find themselves politically naked,” said Nairobi lawyer Martin Oloo.
The do-or-die battle in Nairobi, Meru, Bomet, Kitui, Busia, Mombasa and Kakamega counties will result in heavy political casualties.
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In Nairobi County, incumbent Governor Evans Kidero, Senator Mike Sonko and former presidential candidate Peter Kenneth are locked in a contest to be decided by the more than 2.3 million city voters.
Though Dr Kidero could still run one more term if he loses, he will have entered history as a one-term governor in Nairobi.
Sonko’s loss would put to a lull to a seven-year political career that began with a by-election in Makadara constituency on September 20, 2010.
Recent opinion polls show Kidero and Sonko in neck and neck contest. Of interest is Kenneth’s candidature, which is more of an attempted political comeback.
After serving Gatanga constituency for two terms, Kenneth gave a stab at the presidency in 2013 and emerged fifth and a loss in the gubernatorial race will cumulatively put his political life in the cold for a decade.
National Super Alliance (NASA) co-principal and Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto’s duel with National Assembly Deputy Speaker Joyce Laboso will also end a political career spanning many years.
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A maverick politician and former two terms chairman of the governors’ council, Ruto has dominated headlines for his defence of devolution that soured his relationship with the Jubilee Party.
His contest with Dr Laboso is largely about shaping the Kipsigis nation’s politics. Deputy President William Ruto would also wish to have the Bomet governor in the political obituary as he solidifies his bedrock.
The governor’s fall will be felt far and wide the Kipsigis land, a 20-year political career risks being thrown into oblivion. Laboso’s loss will equally devastate a political flower beginning to bloom.
A scholar with a PhD in Gender and Language Education and a former lecturer at Egerton University, Laboso was ushered into Sotik Constituency in a by-election on September 25, 2008 after her sister, Lorna Laboso, died in a plane crash.
“The departure of Governor Ruto from the political scene will be a loss for the Kipsigis nation, he is one of their sons in the national limelight, we will strive to defend it,” said Emurua Dikirr MP Johana Ng’eno.
Polls indicate that Laboso, running on a Jubilee ticket, will beat the incumbent, a factor that has heightened temperatures in Bomet.
In Meru, incumbent Governor Peter Munya is fighting to save his head from Senator Kiraitu Murungi’s political chopping board.
Kiraitu, a Harvard University trained lawyer with 25 years political experience and currently the senior most political figure from Meru community has trained his guns on his political protege, accusing him of squandering an opportunity to diligently serve the county.
“I am not letting anything to chance until we defeat Munya and bring real development to the Meru people. I will use the term to uplift my people and ensure better living Jubilee Party candidate.
Though he is confident of victory, if he loses, it will be a tragic end of the political career of the soft spoken and witty politician. Munya’s defeat will consign his 15 year political life in limbo.
Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya will face off with Senator Boni Khalwale, Busia Governor Sospeter Ojaamong will battle it out with Funyula MP Paul Otuoma, Mombasa County boss Hassan Joho is up against Senator Hassan Omar while Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua is fighting to wad off former Kathiani MP Wavinya Ndeti.
Away from the gubernatorial seats, Garissa town constituency race between National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale and former Deputy Speaker Farah Maalim could result in heavy political blood letting. Duale the Jubilee administration parliamentary hatchet man with ten years legislative experience is battling Farah who has shifted to Lagdera constituency where he served for one term. The former deputy speaker is seeking a comeback after five years in the cold.
But the Majority Leader is confident he will win the seat. “I will teach Farah a political lesson, the people know what they have benefited from by leadership and they have me of victory,” said Duale.