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Wednesday, 19 Oct 2016 14:08 EAT
With barely a year to the next general elections set for August 8, 2017, campaigns for the Matungulu parliamentary seat, currently held by Stephen Mule, have hit fever pitch. More than five aspirants have emerged and more are expected to come forward as the election date nears.
Having been hived off the larger Kangundo constituency in 2012, the constituency is still young, thus its pattern of political campaigning is yet to be determined. But the dynamics of politics in Machakos and the larger Ukambani region will certainly prevail. And one of these is the influence of the Wiper Party led by former vice president Kalonzo Musyoka.
One of the frontrunners for the seat, Dr Charles Kyalo Kilonzo, told the Kenya Free Press that increased voter awareness about the need to judge candidates by their development records rather than party affiliation was giving Matungulu options in the upcoming elections. “The time when people were brainwashed to vote for parties according to the geographical region and not individuals is coming to an end. Voters have realised based on real outcomes that choosing parties rather than individuals only leads to incompetent leadership,” said Dr Kilonzo, who is running for the seat on the Chama Cha Uzalendo (CCU) ticket.
Dr Kilonzo, who is also a renowned businessman and the founder and director of the Kangundo Group of Schools, has declared early that he will vie on the party led by former Kathiani MP Wavinya Ndeti rather than the Wiper Democratic Movement. The aspiring MP said that as much as he supports Mr Musyoka's presidential ambitions, the Wiper Party was "fast losing its bearing" in Machakos County to CCU, pointing out that the party secured only three out of the region's eight parliamentary seats in 2013 elections, with CCU securing two while TIP, Ford People and Muungano Party won one apiece.
“Wiper is diminishing and is not strong like before. CCU is the party to watch. In the last elections, we made a statement with the two seat but in 2017 we will be the party to beat,” added Dr Kilonzo, who faulted six-piece voting practice where voters chose the President, Governor, Senator, Women Representative, Member of Parliament and MCA from one party. Terming such voting a recipe for dictatorship, he expressed concern that unpopular leaders could hang on the coat tails of party leaders and secure office.
Dr Kilonzo also called out on opposition leaders to push for issuance of IDs in their strongholds as it has been seen in Jubilee areas. He wondered why the exercise was being done selectively and urged CORD coalition officials to engage in mass education to voters on the importance of having identification cards and to register as voters as it is their constitutional right to vote.
He expressed concern that the large crowds which attend opposition rallies have many without IDs that is a predicament to the youth as they cannot be employed or access services like loans resulting in financial crisis. "CORD should push for people in its strongholds to get IDs just like what we have seen in Jubilee areas. Secondly, large crowds do not represent votes and CORD should engage in a campaign to educate their followers on the importance of having these vital documents and registering as voters because it is their constitutional right to vote,” he pointed out.
Dr Kilonzo has been engaging in community developments like supplying water to people of Kyaume location who have been walking long distances to get water before pushing for the county government to open the Kyaume water borehole. He has promised to work with the governments in power both national and county if elected in 2017 and hinted that it might the last time to contest as his last three attempts have been futile.
The writer is the news editor of the Kenya Free Press