Governor Moses Akaranga (right) honours Dr Joseph Imbunya with a medal on Oct 20, 2016 during Mashujaa Day for exemplary contribution to the society. Akaranga has identified Dr Imbunya to be his running mate in the next elections. [Eric Lungai, Standard]
Governor Moses Akaranga has named a Botswana-based doctor, Joseph Imbunya, as his running mate in the August 8 elections, dropping his deputy Caleb Amaswache.
Mr Akaranga said Tiriki elders had approached him and advised that if he was to get the majority of their 60,000-plus votes, he would have to reward them with the deputy governor’s position.
He said Dr Imbunya had vast experience and would be a key pillar in his re-election bid.
“I respected the elders’ decision and that is why I have named Dr Imbunya as my running mate. I will nurture him in regional politics to succeed me in 2022,” said Akaranga when he attended several church events in Hamisi constituency, which is inhabited by the majority of the Tiriki community.
The county is made up of three major sub tribes – the Tiriki, the Maragoli, who live in Sabatia and Vihiga constituencies, and the Banyore in Emuhaya and Luanda constituencies.
Another sub-tribe, the Teriks in Hamisi, is considered a marginalised group due to fewer numbers.
Already, the two major sub-tribes of Maragoli and Banyore have several candidates who have expressed their intention to contest the governorship and are angling for deputies from Tiriki.
Akaranga, Vihiga MP Yusuf Chanzu and Josphat Amadi, an engineer, are the contestants from the Maragoli, while Emuhaya MP Wilbur Ottichilo, Kenneth Butiko and Helen Otolo are from Bunyore.
Another surprise entrant is the county assembly legal counsel, Sherah Didi, a Maragoli who will contest on a Jubilee Party ticket.
But Akaranga warned that there was no way he was going to be beaten in the August polls given his “vast experience” in regional politics.
“There is no way the people of Vihiga will give another Maragoli a chance to lead after I have finished my term. We are going to work so that a Tiriki succeeds me, and then later the seat will be given to the Banyore. That is how this governorship should move in the county,” he said.
Akaranga’s deputy Amaswache lost favour with his boss when he was allegedly deported back to the country in April 2015 from Singapore, where he was attending the Annual Affordable Housing Conference, for allegedly being drunk and disorderly.
He would later deny the claims, saying he forgot some documents, including the invitation letter, which would have allowed him entry into Singapore.
According to him, this is what forced Singaporean authorities to book him on a flight back home immediately.
After the incident, he declared that he would not leave the country for any other trips abroad.
Amaswache promised to refund the Sh445, 000 allocated to him for the trip, for accountability purposes.
He said rumours of his deportation were part of a wider scheme by his political detractors to malign his name with a view to portraying him as a leader with no moral authority to hold public office.
The incident saw the governor warning him to change his public behaviour or risk losing his position.
During the Banyore Cultural Day at Ebusakami Secondary School in 2015, an angry Amaswache said his community had failed to support him and defend his position as deputy governor.
“In 2017, I will try vying for something else, probably the senator position now that my community cannot support me as a deputy governor,” he said.
Akaranga decided on Amaswache, a political scientist, after other influential personalities from the Banyore community refused to team up with him.
Other aspirants are yet to announce the names of their deputies, saying it is a secret weapon.
“I will release the name of my deputy during a major rally in May that will shake the politics of this region,” said Emuhaya MP Wilbur Ottichilo.