December 12th 2017

Top Stories / 2017 Elections

Ukambani leaders to watch in 2017

The rapidly changing political landscape has also unveiled Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua, who is widely being touted as a potential challenger of Kalonzo’s dominance as the region’s political kingpin.

By Mutinda MulwaFriday, 08 Jul 2016 11:26 EAT

Machakos Senator Johnstone Muthama addressing participants at a recent meeting called by the region's leaders to review the progress of devolution in Machakos County.(Photo by Free Press Correspondent))

As the clock ticks towards next year’s general election, all eyes are on the region’s top politicians and power brokers, who have been busy manipulating their political cards ahead of the grand contest.

At the center of interest is the growing contest between forces in the ruling Jubilee coalition led by President Uhuru Kenyatta, which is seen to have made significant inroads in the region, and the predominant opposition forces led by the former Vice President and Wiper party leader Kalonzo Musyoka.

The rapidly changing political landscape has also unveiled Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua, who is widely being touted as a potential challenger of Kalonzo’s dominance as the region’s political kingpin.

The scenario appears to have sparked a new political excitement following Dr Mutua’s recent technical walkout from Wiper party, and his subsequent launch of Maendeleo Chap Chap and unity movement, which the Governor is expected to use as his next political vessel to defend his seat.

Mutua’s moves have virtually rattled Wiper top guns after the Governor’s open declaration that he would continue to work the Jubilee administration in order to achieve maximum gain for local residents from the national government.

Mutua has made visits to both Makueni and Kitui counties where he has marshaled numerous MPs and MCAs to join his camp. In his rallies, the governor has been criticizing Kalonzo for ‘having done nothing’ for the Kamba nation throughout his near three-decade reign in politics.

But Senator Johnstone Muthama, who has been a fierce critic of Dr Mutua has dismissed the Governor as a political novice who is out ‘to auction the Kamba community politically.’

While addressing supporters at a prayer rally held in Machakos last weekend, Kalonzo also turned his guns on Mutua, daring him to quit Wiper and seek a fresh mandate as a Governor.

Kalonzo, who was Raila Odinga’s presidential running mate in the last general election, successfully managed to marshal the region’s voting bloc to vote overwhelmingly for the Cord coalition.

But after ascending to power, the Jubilee administration and in particular President Uhuru Kenyatta, has shown a keen interest in wooing the Kamba nation to his side.

And through Dr Mutua’s influence President Kenyatta has made about five visits to Machakos County alone, which has sent a major political statement about Jubilee’s perceived success in courting the Kamba voting bloc.

“My association with President Kenyatta is aimed at delivering goodies and development to the people who elected me. And I will continue doing so because residents have mandated me to do anything right that will improve their living standards and roll back poverty,” said Dr Mutua.

Other leaders in the 2017 picture include former Lands minister and Narc party leader, Charity Ngilu and former Kathiani MP and CCU (Chama Cha Uzalendo) party leader Wavinya Ndeti.

Having been in national politics, and being current leaders of political parties, the two women cannot be wished away in the region’s political equation.

As a matter of fact, both Narc and CCU have successfully sponsored candidates who today are sitting in both National and County assemblies as MPs and MCAs respectively.

In addition both Wavinya and Ngilu have both declared interest to contest gubernatorial seats in Machakos and Kitui counties respectively, come next year, and by extension the pair is seen as the fiercest challengers to the incumbent governors, Alfred Mutua and Julius Malombe respectively.

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