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Lusaka pays heavy price for sticking with Jubilee

Defeated Bungoma Governor Kenneth Lusaka took the bullet for campaigning for Jubilee against a strong NASA wave.

Political commentators say he lost to businessman Wycliffe Wangamati because NASA principals launched a sustained campaign headed by Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang’ula .

Speaking to the Star yesterday, political analyst Isaac Wanjekeche said Lusaka became a target from the moment he stood out as the Jubilee kingpin in the region.

“He exposed himself when Jubilee started using him to gain inroads in Bungoma. The opposition plotted his downfall,” he said.

Wanjekeche said Lusaka’s dissolution of his New Ford-Kenya Party to join Jubilee played a big role in his loss.

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He called the move unwise, saying Jubilee had from the beginning been rejected in Bungoma. The region felt excluded in key government appointments.

“Jubilee started on a wrong footing by ignoring the region. Even when Eugene Wamalwa was later appointed appointed Water CS, the damage had already been done,” he said.

Philip Wanyonyi, a human rights actvitist, however, blamed Lusaka’s failure on corruption allegations against his administration.

“Lusaka failed when he did not act firmly on those implicated in the wheelbarrow saga. That was the time his would have redeemed himself,” Wanyonyi said.

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There was an uproar in Bungoma when news spread that the Agriculture department had purchased 10 wheelbarrows at Sh109,000 each.

Human rights activist Lumumba Wekesa said the purchase amounted to “fraud of the highest order”.

He said “this is only one of the corrupt dealings going on in the Bungoma government that is robbing taxpayers of their money.”

Wekesa said the wheelbarrows cannot be equated to brand new motorcycles that cost Sh90,000.

Wanyonyi said despite some of his officers being charged later, dissatisfied voters had already turned against him. He said Lusaka should have dismantled the cartels swiftly to win over the electorate.

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“There was lack of cohesion in his administration. There was a lot ofinfighting and leaking of confidential documents by his inner circle that virtually laid his administration bare,” Wanyonyi said.

He said, however, that businessman Wangamati ran a well-oiled campaign that he sustained for close to three years.

“Wangamati had the energy, he campaigned with vigour. When Lusaka thought he would run out of gas, he instead renewed energy,” he said.

Wanyonyi said Wangmati has a huge task of cleaning up the system. He said the public has high expectations.

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