Top Stories / 2017 Elections
Friday, 07 Oct 2016 11:36 EATrosemukonyo@yahoo.com
Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua is staring at a likely political demise following the decision by his close allies to join the recently launched Jubilee Party. Dr Mutua, who for years toyed with joining the Jubilee Alliance himself, beat a hasty retreat on his cooperation with the government side mid this year and instead launched his own party, called the Maendeleo Chap Chap movement.
As the governor marketed his new outfit ahead of its official launch, he always counted on the support of a number of youthful MPs from Machakos and the larger Ukambani who egged him on as he fought an improbable political battle with his party leader Kalonzo Musyoka, the supremo of Ukambani politics.
However, if recent events are anything to go by, the governor has been left alone in the party. His close Ukambani allies such as MPs Victor Munyaka (Machakos Town), Vincent Musyoka (Mwala), Itwiku Mbai (Masinga), John Munuve (Mwingi North), Regina Ndambuki (Kilome), Joe Mutambu (Mwingi Central) as well as former Kibwezi East legislator Kalembe Ndile last month decamped to Jubilee.
Before their sudden defection, the leaders often accompanied Dr Mutua to his numerous tours across the Ukambani region to popularise the Maendeleo Chap Chap. During last week's tour of deputy president William Ruto to Mutituni in Machakos, Dr Munyaka, Eng Musyoka, Mbai, Ms Ndambuki and Mr Kalembe were present to confirm their defection to Jubilee.
Remarkably, Dr Mutua did not attend the function. Following the development, observers now believe Dr Mutua is likely to be a lone ranger in the campaigns for the next general election. Some sources, however, intimated that the governor deliberately decided to retain his party after consulting with Jubilee strategists, in order to cushion the former government spokesman from being labeled a traitor and ultimately lose his seat.
One of the sources told the Kenya Free Press that the plan includes a deal for Jubilee not to field a gubernatorial candidate for Machakos in order to increase chances of Dr Mutua's re-election. The source indicated that Jubilee had finessed the deal after noting a spirited push by Wiper Party operatives to ensure Dr Mutua is sent packing in next year's polls.
Dr Mutua's estranged deputy, Bernard Kiala, and former Youth Affairs assistant minister Wavinya Ndeti have emerged as the frontrunners for the governor's seat, along with Mr Peter Mathuka, a legislator at the East African Legislative Assembly.
Machakos Senator Johnstone Nduya Muthama has also vowed to mobilize all manner of resources to ensure the governor, who has already fallen out with Wiper Party and Mr Musyoka, is defeated at the ballot.
For now it remains to be seen if Dr Mutua, a seasoned communication practitioner who served for close to ten years as the Kenya government spokesman, will sail through the gathering storm to safety come 2017.
Rose is a contributing writer for the Kenya Free Press, based in Machakos County.