December 13th 2017

Top Stories / 2017 Elections

Firebrand female newcomer carries Jubilee's hope in Machakos race

The remarkable thing about this race is that at public gatherings, both Ms Wambua and Mr Maweu, although fierce rivals, have been trying to bury their differences save for in few occasions when supporters of the two different camps almost clashed.

By Mutinda MulwaSaturday, 14 Jan 2017 13:26 EAT

Kangundo MP Kyengo Katatha Maweu. (Photo: Mutinda Mulwa/Kenya Free Press).

The battle for the Kangundo parliamentary seat currently held by Kyengo Katatha Maweu is shaping up into a political duel pitting the incumbent against veteran banker Rose Ndinda Wambua. Although the seat has attracted several contenders seeking to unseat the first time MP, political analysts believe the contest could narrow down between the two as the clock ticks towards the August 8 election.

Having been a contender of the same seat in the past three elective terms, where he lost the first two and won the latter, Mr Maweu and those who support his bid for a second term believe he will use his vast experience gained over the years to face his main opponent. As a matter of fact, Mr Maweu has on several occasions both in private and in public confessed that Ms Wambua had proved to be his greatest threat on his ambition to win re-election.

The elderly politician, who in 2013 clinched the seat on the little known The Independent Party (TIP) ticket, has since decamped to the Wiper party led by former Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka. But Maweu must first prepare to deal with businessman Athanus Ndolo Mutinda from Kangundo West ward, who has also declared interest in seat, also on the Wiper party ticket. This means the incumbent must beat Mr Mutinda at the party primaries in order to be able to proceed on to the greater battle ahead. Should he lose to Mr Mutinda at the primaries, then his fate will be sealed and his dream for a second term will have been shattered since the Elections Act prohibits last-minute defections.

But if the MP wins the primaries, his main battle would only have begun as Ms Wambua, who is expected to contest the seat on a Jubilee Party ticket, has caused shockwaves in the constituency through her vibrant campaigning methods. Ms Wambua has made successful inroads throughout the constituency, and is even thought to be commanding a huge following in some of Mr Maweu’s perceived strongholds. “Ms Wambua’s ability to set up a formidable and highly motivated campaign teams has earned her points against any other candidate in the forthcoming poll,” said a key campaigner of the sitting MP, conceding the fear that the aspirant has triggered in their own camp.

According to another source, Ms Wambua, alias Mama Maji, has managed to assemble and mobilize a strong team comprising youth, women and men who have been abrasively driving her campaign agenda throughout all the corners of the constituency. She is also said to have brought on board influential professionals, religious leaders as well as business people to constitute a political think tank who have been briefing her campaign managers on a 24-hour basis. “This is going to be a battle like no other. Though a newcomer in politics, Ms Wambua has approached the whole issue with tact and amazing organizational strategy a kin to a presidential campaign,” said a local voter identified as Mueni.

Before the recent amendments of the Election Laws, which among other things sought to criminalize fundraising for aspirants or holders of political offices, Ms Wambua had earned the reputation of generosity through fundraising for churches, schools and even providing access to clean piped water to dozens of residents within Kangundo. On the other hand, Mr Maweu has been capitalizing on the CDF kitty to implement several projects which have also earned him some political mileage.

“We know we are competing with an incumbent who has control over CDF kitty, but we are ready to sell our own candidate who we believe will bring the much-needed change in Kangundo,” said a supporter of the aspirant. The remarkable thing about this race is that at public gatherings, both Ms Wambua and Mr Maweu, although fierce rivals, have been trying to bury their differences save for in few occasions when supporters of the two different camps almost clashed.

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