The competition for the Kitui governor’s seat between the incumbent, Julius Malombe, and Narc party leader Charity Ngilu could be hampering NASA’s campaigns in the county.
Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka is now feeling the heat for openly campaigning for his party’s candidate, Malombe, at the expense of Ngilu, who is also supporting NASA.
The problem has escalated to the point that NASA has had to postpone its political activities in the county as it grapples with the Ngilu-Malombe issue.
Matter of strategy
Those conversant with local politics say that since a Ngilu crowd ‘invaded’ a Kalonzo rally at Kabati in Kitui two weeks ago as he campaigned for Malombe, the Wiper leader has had to reconsider his strategy.
However, Kitui senatorial candidate Enock Wambua (Wiper) dismissed talk of a rift, saying it was just a matter of strategy that NASA had not toured Kalonzo’s backyard of Kitui.
Hes said the Oopposition alliance would be in Kitui on Thursday and Friday this week.
“Nothing has stopped the NASA principals from campaigning here. It’s simply a matter of strategy and timing. The principals will be here on Thursday and Friday this week. This is perfect timing,” said Wambua.
A source from Wiper, who declined to be named because he is not authorised to speak on behalf of the party, told The Standard: “Kalonzo was embarrassed during the event. He could not understand why his function was hijacked and his preferred candidate attacked by Ngilu. The planned rally for NASA last Thursday had to be changed.”
Ngilu’s campaign secretariat spokesman Martin Masai averred that Narc had been marshalling all its resources and troops to ensure that Raila and his running mate, Kalonzo, win next month’s polls but there had been no reciprocity.
“We have been campaigning for NASA to take over the government, but there has been no reciprocity from Raila and Kalonzo. We feel that one of the NASA principals is not comfortable bringing campaigns here in Kitui,” said Masai.
He also accused Wiper of favouritism “despite Malombe and Ngilu being a son and daughter of Kitui”.
Masai also denied that Ngilu stormed the Kabati meeting, saying she was in the neighbourhood and felt that sharing a platform with Kalonzo would show solidarity.
“Ngilu was having her own political activities but when she heard that Kalonzo was in the neighborhood, she decided to share a platform with the deputy presidential candidate. If there was a problem with that, nobody has brought it to our attention,” he said.
Malombe could not be reached to comment on the matter as he was said to be out of the country on official business.
Governor Malombe is also facing competition from Kitui Senator David Musila, who is running independently.
Musila snatched Malombe’s deputy, Penina Malonza, to be his running mate, prompting the governor to replace her with Ms Kambua Musee.
Musee comes from Mwingi and her presence in Malombe’scamp is seen as an attempt to neutralise Musila’s gambit.
Musila’s enjoys the backing of eight Kitui MPs.
Malombe is said to be supported by most MCAs lead by Majority Leader Jacob Maundu.
Musila, 74, has been in elective leadership uninterrupted since being voted in as Mwingi South MP on a Kanu ticket in 1997. Ngilu, 65, the Narc party leader was elected Kitui Central MP in 1992 and served until 2013.