President Uhuru Kenyatta’s strong showing in two counties regarded as Nasa strongholds appears to have played a big part in turning the tide in his favour if the provisional results are anything to go by.
The provisional results released by IEBC, though bitterly contested by the Nasa presidential candidate Raila Odinga, showed that president Kenyatta has made serious gains in Nyamira and Bungoma — two counties hitherto regarded as opposition strongholds.
The results showed that President Kenyatta garnered 123,804 votes from Bungoma, up from a paltry 42,988 in 2013.
Mr Odinga managed 281,675 votes, up from 185,419 four years ago.
President Kenyatta’s Jubilee Party capped the impressive performance by bagging four out of the nine parliamentary seats in the county.
These are John Waluke (Sirisia), Fred Kapondi (Mt Elgon), Didimus Wekesa Barasa (Kimilili) and Dan Wanyama (Webuye West).
The result is a significant improvement from the 2013 results where the parliamentary seats were shared out between Ford Kenya, New Ford-Kenya (then allied to ruling coalition), Orange Democratic Movement and the United Democratic Forum.
Much as it tried, the ruling coalition failed to clinch the Bungoma gubernatorial seat after its pointman, Governor Kenneth Lusaka, lost to newcomer Wycliffe Wangamati of Ford-Kenya. Mr Lusaka garnered 173,613 votes against Mr Wangamati’s 194,926.
President Kenyatta, and by extension the Jubilee Party’s performance in Bungoma was, however, eclipsed by an even better showing in Nyamira county, one of Mr Odinga’s strongholds in 2013.
Here, Mr Kenyatta carried the day after garnering 101,113 votes constituting 52 per cent of the total votes cast. Mr Odinga came a close second, with 90,315 votes, constituting 46 per cent of the cast ballots.
This was a marked improvement from the 2013 performance when President Kenyatta only managed 54,071 votes, way behind Mr Odinga who garnered 121,590 votes.
Besides garnering a majority presidential votes, President Kenyatta’s Jubilee Party also secured two out of the four parliamentary seats in the region, a performance that will significantly shore up its strength in the National Assembly. The two are Kitutu Masaba where Shadrack Mose sent the incumbent, ODM national treasurer Timothy Bosire packing and North Mugirango, which was won by Joash Nyamoko.
It would appear President Kenyatta reaped the fruits of the many forays he made to the county on the campaign’s home stretch.
But it is not the President’s visits only which may have swayed voters to his side. It should be remembered that Acting Interior Cabinet Secretary Dr Fred Matiang’i comes from Nyamira County.Dr Matiang’i campaigned aggressively in the county, traversing the constituencies several times in the company of Social Protection Principal Secretary Susan Mochache, hunting for votes for the Jubilee presidential candidate.
Mr Kenyatta’s sister Christina Pratt also toured the county and the larger Gusii region countless times drumming up support for her brother.
During their tours, the three showered residents with development goodies, something that might have endeared them to the ruling party.
“Let us support the government and we will gain more as a community,” said Dr Matiang’i on one of his visits.
Dr Matiang’i’s position and that of Chief Justice David Maraga who also hails from the region also featured prominently during the campaigns.
During one of his visits to Nyamira County, the President asked residents to give him another term in office, arguing that his government had given “their son” a job, referring to the CJ. But the CJ, in response, said he was not a Jubilee government project.
“The recruitment process for the position of Chief Justice had nothing to do with politics,” he said.
The compensation of Integrated Internally Displaced Persons from the region recently could also have tilted the equation in Mr Kenyatta’s favour though critics faulted the payout, saying it was skewed and a case of “too late, too little.”
Additional reports by Ruth Mbula and John Nyarora
Many residents think Kalya Kones went against traditions by opposing his parent.