Party politics, corruption and nepotism allegations, as well as unmet campaign pledges, may have sent Kisumu Governor Jack Ranguma home and made him the only incumbent in the Nyanza region who did not recapture his seat.
Mr Ranguma, who ran as an independent, lost to his political nemesis, Kisumu Senator Anyang’ Nyong’o (ODM).
Mr Ranguma’s counterparts in Siaya, Migori, Homa Bay, Kisii and Nyamira counties recaptured their seats on an ODM ticket.
Prof Nyong’o garnered 272,127 votes against Mr Ranguma’s 156,963 votes, out of 95 per cent of the polling stations counted.
The outgoing county boss, who was banking on what he called an impressive development record for re-election, failed to marshal a strong campaign team to counter the ODM party’s wave in the lakeside county, according to political analysts.
The county chief lost the ODM party ticket to Prof Nyong’o in the April nominations, which he claimed were marred by glaring irregularities.
Mr Tom Mboya, a political lecturer at Maseno University, said Mr Ranguma was a victim of the baggage that comes with incumbency as well as the onslaught from ODM, the dominant political outfit in the region.
“The governorship contest was also a battle of policies, development and fight against graft and nepotism,” said Mr Mboya. “Governors also had a bigger job of defending themselves,” he added.
But Mr Ranguma has contested Prof Nyong’o’s win, accusing his opponent of influencing voters and the results transmission system to change the final tallying.
“I have petitioned the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission on the matter,” said Mr Ranguma.
A guarded speaker, but described as an outsider in the ODM party ranks, Mr Ranguma has also faced a litany of accusations in his four and a half years in office, including failing to fulfil his campaign pledges, condoning corruption and unequal distribution of jobs and resources in the county.
Mr Ranguma is blamed for failing to reorganise the town, rid it of garbage and relocate hawkers from the city centre as well as the removal of the eyesore Kachok dumpsite.
This is besides accusations that he failed to rein in MCAs, who were accused of awarding themselves expensive foreign trips, a move residents said robbed the county of millions of taxpayers’ money.
But Mr Ranguma has defended himself against the allegations, and instead accused graft cartels in the county of fighting him.
The outgoing county boss has also dismissed as hogwash the accusation that he influenced the county assembly, saying the regional House is an independent entity whose operations are not controlled by the executive.
“The county assembly is an independent institution whose decisions are not made by the executive. Its decisions are made by the county assembly service board,” said the governor.
Audit queries or graft cases against governors who lost elections ‘to go on’.