Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho (left) displays his clearance certificate with his running mate William Kazungu after they were cleared by IEBC returning officer Nancy Wanjiko Kariuki. [Gideon Maundu, Standard]
The electoral agency Thursday cleared a number of governors to defend their seats, signifying the beginning of a titanic battle across the country.
The most titillating confrontation was set off in Kakamega where the deputy party leaders of two National Super Alliance (NASA) affiliate parties are entangled in a do-or-die duel as they fight for control of Western region’s seat of power.
Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale sparked the fight immediately he was cleared yesterday when he asked NASA presidential candidate Raila Odinga, who is also the ODM party leader, to concentrate on the presidential race and not to interfere with other elective posts in Western.
“When he is in Kakamega let him campaign for the presidency and not for governor, senator, woman rep and MP seats,” he said.
Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya will present his papers today and is expected to respond to the taunts directed at his party leader.
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Dr Khalwale, who was addressing his supporters at Muliro Gardens shortly after being cleared by the IEBC to vie for the gubernatorial seat, said Kenyans would vote out President Uhuru Kenyatta because his administration had let the cost of living become unbearable.
In Bomet, NASA’s point man in Rift Valley, Isaac Ruto, was cleared by IEBC and is facing the battle of his life as he defends his seat on a Chama Cha Mashinani ticket against National Assembly Deputy Speaker Joyce Laboso (Jubilee Party), who will present her papers today.
Elsewhere in the city, Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero and his main challenger Senator Mike Sonko were yesterday cleared by the electoral body, setting the stage for a bruising political contest.
Dr Kidero and Mr Sonko yesterday took a swipe at each other, with the governor claiming the legislator had failed in his role as senator.
Sonko said Kidero had run down the capital city, questioning what he had done in the past four-and-half years he has been in charge. Kidero said the senator had failed in his role of promoting devolution, adding that the national government owed his administration Sh72 billion in rates, which the senator had failed to talk about.
At the Coast, Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho was given the green light to defend his seat and he expressed confidence of retaining it.
“It was not an easy ride but through the grace of God I have today been cleared to defend my seat,” said Mr Joho who promised to run an issue-based campaign.
He said the Jubilee regime had tried to use State agencies to lock him out of the August 8 contest but failed.
For close to two years Joho has battled the Jubilee administration and publicly clashed with President Uhuru Kenyatta over the national government’s policies at the Coast. He is battling claims that he forged a Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education results slip for 1992, claims he denies.
Also cleared at the Coast were Kilifi Governor Amason Kingi – who faces off with Amani National Congress’ (ANC) Benjamin Dadu- and Kwale’s Salim Mvurya, who will square it out with former minister Chirau Ali Mwakwere of Wiper.
After clearance, Joho led MPs Abdulswamad Nassir (Mvita), Rashid Bezimba (Kisauni), Omar Mwinyi (Changamwe), Badi Twalib (Jomvu) and Mishi Mboko (Woman Rep) who were also cleared early in the morning for a tour in Mombasa town.
The MPs said Joho was being persecuted because he had declared his interest to vie for the presidency in the 2022 General Election.
His main challengers, Mombasa senator Omar Hassan who is seeking the seat on Wiper Democratic Party and businessman Suleiman Shaball will present their nomination papers today.
In Busia, Funyula MP Paul Otuoma was cleared to run as an independent candidate, setting the stage for a battle against the incumbent, Sospeter Ojaamong. Mr Otuoma was the first to present his papers accompanied by his running mate Solomon Abwaku.
In Nairobi, independent candidate Miguna Miguna was earlier in the day turned away by IEBC officials after he submitted signatures of his supporters in jpeg format as opposed to the required excel.
The abrasive lawyer, caused drama at the Kasarani Gymnasium Arena when he accused the media of “propagating fake news” to sabotage his candidature.
In Machakos, there was a bitter war of words between Governor Alfred Mutua and his arch rival, former Kathiani MP Wavinya Ndeti after the two were cleared.
And business came to a standstill in Kitui town yesterday when three gubernatorial aspirants Governor Julius Malombe, Senator David Musila and Narc party leader Charity Ngilu faced off as they presented their nominations papers to the electoral commission. All the three were given the nod at the Kitui’s Kenya Forestry research institute (Kefri).
Tharaka Nithi Governor Samuel Ragwa was also given the green light by electoral officials at Kenya Water Institute (KEWI) in Chiakariga as was Nakuru Governor Kinuthia Mbugua and three others.
In a related development, Migori Governor Okoth Obado and his Kisumu counterpart Jack Ranguma were cleared to defend their seats in the August elections.
But as Mr Obado retained his deputy, Mwita Mahanga, Mr Ranguma dropped his 2013 running mate Ruth Odinga.