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Political heat in Nyamira rises as poll line-ups form

Nyamira Governor John Nyagarama addresses a gathering at Manga Sports ground. (Photo: Stanley Ongwae/Standard)

It is a crowded field for various political seats in Nyamira County, where the ruling coalition and the Opposition are locked in a scramble for votes.

But even as poll line-ups take shape, it is worth noting that women have stayed away from contending for political office.

Governor John Nyagarama is revving up his campaign machinery, ready to confront more than 13 aspirants who have expressed interest in unseating him.

“I am confident of retaining my seat on an ODM ticket because this is the party that is dominant in Nyamira,” said Mr Nyagarama.

Even though the larger duel is being seen as a Jubilee versus National Super Alliance (NASA) affair in the fight for votes in the region, it is the individual scrambling for votes that stands out most.

Presently, William Nyakiba, retired High Court judge David Anasi, Charles Mochama, Aboko Kumenda, Jomo Kenyatta Foundation chaiman Walter Nyambati, Mwancha Okioma, Denis Abincha, James Gesami, Thomas Getabu, lawyer Tom Otuto, Peter Ondieki, Evans Misati, Fred Machana and John Ongaga have declared an interest in the governorship.

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Nyakiba, Mochama, Nyambati and Abincha are all seeking nomination as flag-bearers for Jubilee Party in the county while Nyagarama, Kumenda and Gesami are fighting for an ODM ticket.

 

PREFERRED PARTIES

Okioma has already secured the Ford-Kenya party ticket while Anasi has begun his campaigns via the Wiper Democratic Movement party.

Others are yet to declare their preferred parties through which to launch their campaigns for the governor’s seat.

The woman representative seat has attracted former gender activist Catherine Nyamato, former educationists Jerusha Momanyi and Mary Amatini, financial consultant Nyaera Omwega, Grace Nyamongo and nominated MCA Ziporah Osoro.

The senatorial seat has attracted only four aspirants since the incumbent, Kennedy Okong’o, upgraded his political ambitions to the presidency although he has not declared which party will sponsor his bid.

Those who want to replace Mr Okong’o include East Africa Legislative Assembly MP Joseph Kiangoi, who defected from ODM to Jubilee, accountant Timothy Rioba, former Law Society of Kenya chairman Okong’o O’Mogeni and his fellow lawyer Mose Nyambega.

Kiangoi and Rioba are seeking nomination on a Jubilee Party ticket while O’Mogeni and Nyambega are eyeing ODM and Wiper tickets respectively.

The four constituencies of Nyamira – Borabu, Kitutu Masaba, North Mugirango and West Mugirango – are also recording large numbers of interested candidates; the current MPs are also seeking to retain their seats.

Dr Gesami is the only sitting MP who will not defend his West Mugirango seat because he has already set his eyes on the governorship. His seat has attracted lawyers Steve Mogaka, Denis Anyoka, Vincent Kemosi and James Mamboleo.

Ben Momanyi (Wiper) of Borabu is facing strong opposition from lawyer Patrick Osero and Nyandoro Kambi.

North Mugirango MP James Geni will be defending his seat while Nyamira County Assembly Speaker Joash Nyamoko (Jubilee Party), who lost narrowly to him in 2013, will be making another attempt to unseat him.

Others in the North Mugirango race are Kisii County Secretary Ndege Obike and Jason Mosinga.

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In Kitutu Masaba, ODM National Treasurer Timothy Bosire is facing a strong wave of Jubilee led by lawyer Shadrack Mose, Kenya Social Congress chairman Kengere Atati and Victor Swanya (Wiper).

But Andrew Mandi, a lawyer and political observer, says it may be a while before Gusii people can rise above clan politics during elections.

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