- In 18 counties, aspirants for the governor’s seat that survived a decisive onslaught by voters on incumbents will have to face stiff competition to clinch the coveted seat in the August polls.
- The race for senator and Member of Parliament will be bruising with dynamics ranging from loyalty to party leaders and community numbers coming into play.
- After brushing off 2013 presidential candidate Peter Kenneth, Nairobi Senator Mike Sonko will have to battle it out with incumbent Evans Kidero of ODM, who has the backing of the Nasa affiliate parties.
- In Kisii, Governor James Ongwae will face Senator Chris Obure of Jubilee who has picked former Ford People chairman Albert Nyaundi as his running mate.
The gruelling party nominations have opened up what will be even more viciously-fought battles during the August 8 General Election.
In 18 counties, aspirants for the governor’s seat that survived what appeared like a decisive onslaught by voters on incumbents will have to face stiff competition to clinch the coveted seat in the August polls.
In other cases, the race for senator and Member of Parliament will be bruising with dynamics ranging from loyalty to party leaders and community numbers coming into play.
And if the nominations results which saw at least six governors lose their seats is anything to go by, the county chiefs are understandably not resting easy.
In Kirinyaga, former Devolution Cabinet Secretary Anne Waiguru, who floored Governor Joseph Ndathi, will face 2013 presidential candidate Martha Karua of Narc Kenya in a race that is set to give the country its first female governor.
Even though Ms Waiguru enters the August 8 battle enjoying the advantage of being the candidate for the party of choice in the greater Mt Kenya region, the Jubilee Party, she will face a tough battle given that Ms Karua, an equally no-nonsense public servant who has run an anti-corruption crusade, has backed President Uhuru Kenyatta’s re-election.
“After a huge voter turnout and an overwhelming victory we had in the nominations, I do not see the people of Kirinyaga changing their minds,” Ms Waiguru told the Sunday Nation of her August election chances.
After brushing off 2013 presidential candidate Peter Kenneth, who has since rejected the results, Nairobi Senator Mike Sonko will have to battle it out with incumbent Evans Kidero of ODM, who has the backing of the Nasa affiliate parties.
Mr Sonko, a crowd puller and a streetwise politician who with his generosity has resonated well with the hoi polloi, is battling accusations that, given his streetwise nature, he was not fit to govern the capital city, a trait that may be his undoing.
But given the huge margin with which he defeated Mr Kenneth who had portrayed himself as a manager and an administrator, the flamboyant senator might just have a chance in August when the 2.3 million Nairobi voters go to the polls.
In Bomet, National Assembly Deputy Speaker Joyce Laboso is looking to make history by sending home Nasa co-principal Governor Isaac Ruto who will be defending the seat on his Chama Cha Mashinani ticket.
Will he survive the Jubilee onslaught?
In Turkana County, Governor Josphat Nanok of ODM will square it out with Jubilee’s John Munyes, the current county senator.
Neither of them faced the electorate in their respective party primaries as they were unopposed and theirs will be a battle of the south and the north that only the 188,617 voters will decide.
In neighbouring West Pokot, Kanu’s most loyal lieutenant, Prof John Lonyangapuo, will be going for Governor Simon Kachapin’s jugular.
Mr Kachapin ditched Kanu for Jubilee, a move Prof Lonyangapuo has rallied voters to use to punish the soft-spoken former principal of Ortum Boys High school.
“He has been spreading lies around. We want to come here before the electorate in May, June, July and ask each other questions for two hours and residents to also ask us,” Prof Lonyangapuo said.
It will be political cannibalism in Kakamega as two of the Nasa affiliate parties deputy party leaders, Governor Wycliffe Oparanya (ODM) and Senator Boni Khalwale (Ford Kenya) battle it out for the county’s top seat.
Both candidates did not go through nominations.
In Busia, an aggrieved Funyula MP Paul Otuoma ditched ODM after what he said were unfair nominations and will have another date with destiny at the hands of 347,911 voters against Governor Sospeter Ojaamong’, Mr Odinga’s former aide who was controversially declared the winner.
“I will run for the governorship seat with or without the ODM certificate. They are trying to introduce a tribal angle which has a long-time effect to our people,” Dr Otuoma said, protesting Mr Ojaamong’s controversial win in his Teso backyard.
In Kisii, Governor James Ongwae will face Senator Chris Obure of Jubilee who has picked former Ford People chairman Albert Nyaundi as his running mate.
In a county where President Kenyatta claims to have made inroads, Mr Ongwae, a staunch ODM member who got a direct ticket after he went unopposed, is looking to defend his seat against a well-oiled Jubilee campaign machine.
In Mombasa, it is a three-horse race between incumbent Hassan Ali Joho, Wiper Secretary General Hassan Omar, both close confidantes of Nasa leaders Mr Odinga and Kalonzo Musyoka respectively, and Jubilee-backed Suleiman Shahbal.
Though considered fully behind the opposition Nasa, the decision by Mr Omar to go all the way to the ballot against Mr Joho might just give a window to Mr Shahbal to sail through them.
In Narok, Governor Samwel Tunai from the small Siria clan, will go head-to-head with the populous Purko clan that has fielded Patrick Ntutu of Nasa co-principal Isaac Ruto’s Chama Cha Mashinani while ODM has Tiampati ole Musuni gunning for the top seat.
BACK ONE CANDIDATE
Sources told the Nation that talks were on to have Mr Ntutu and Mr Musuni forge a deal to back one candidate, a deal which will force Mr Tunai back to the drawing table, and failure to which, the man from Kilgoris might not win a second term.
In neighbouring Kajiado county, former Internal Security Cabinet Secretary Joseph ole Lenku clinched the Jubilee Party ticket after trouncing his opponent Tarayia ole Kores and will now square it out with ODM’s David Nkedianye in a race that is likely to be determined by clan allegiances as well as the diaspora votes comprising the Kikuyu, Kisii and Luo.
The Kitui governor’s race will be a bitter duel between Wiper Party’s Governor Julius Malombe and Narc’s Charity Ngilu, former Lands Cabinet Secretary.
And that she has backed the region’s political supremo Mr Musyoka, Ms Ngilu has further complicated the race that may also have Kitui Senator David Musila, who lost to Dr Malombe during the Wiper primaries and quit the party in a huff to run as an independent candidate.
Another titanic battle is expected in Embu where the incumbent Martin Wambora floored the fiery Runyenjes MP Cecily Mbarire and will face off with Senator Lenny Kivuti who is running on the ticket of Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua’s Maendeleo Chap Chap party.