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Sunday, 16 September 2012

Politics in Machakos County

Battle lines for Key 
Machakos seats drawn

The scramble for elective seats in Machakos County has started taking shape as the March 4, 2013 General election draws closer.

And bitter rivalry among the aspirants seeking the posts of Senator, Governor, and Members of Parliament is taking centre stage and complicating the campaign trend in the County with eight constituencies namely Masinga, Yatta, Kangundo, Matungulu, Kathiani, Mavoko, Machakos Town and Mwala.
As a result camps are being  created where candidates want to identify with candidates whose rating is high among the voters in a County with a population of 1,098,584 people.
Government Chief Whip and Kangundo MP Johnson Nduya Muthama who has declared interest for the post of Senator  begun the campaign long ago and was later joined by Nairobi Lawyer Boniface Kavaka. It appears that more faces are yet to emerge to offer competition to the first time Kangundo Legislator, who, to many see as a front runner in the race.US based Leonard Ndambuki has also announced his interest and rumour has it that Machakos Town MP Dr Victor Munyaka is contemplating seeking the seat in annoyance to his long standing feud with Mr Muthama.
Munyaka has been engaging Muthama in petty feuding and many have been at a loss as to why the two Wiper party MPs have not been reading from the same script despite being close to party leader Kalonzo Musyoka. By the time of going to press, Munyaka was reported to be looking at Uhuru Kenyata's TNA party for refuge. Given the political mood in Ukambani, such a move would ensure that Munyaka would only win whatever seat he contested for by mistake.
 Even though Mr Kavaka has criss-crossed the County campaigning, he , like other candidates will have to contend with the vastness of Machakos County. Kavaka has been less loud, calculating and discreet as he tackles Muthama, campaigning on a platform of education.   Whether this will work against Muthama's bombardment approach that leaves thumbprints of things to come, only time will tell. Even then.the Muthama rivals will also have to contend with the impact of the phenomenal resources in his war chest, his ability to mobilize and the advantage he enjoys for his longevity in Ukambani politics. Though Kavaka is a monied operator also, he is operating from the weak position of being a loser in the last poll for Masinga Constituency and the fact that he has been missing in action in Machakos political life, making him a virtually unknown quantity in politics.
The only woman and new entrant for the senate seat is civil society activist Vexina Mueni. Mueni have been known to ad-vo-cate for women and children’s rights through her or-ga-ni-zation Ini-tiative for Ad-vancement of Women and Chil-dren Rights.She says the senate seat is all about policy making and she is able to come up with policies that will change lives of Macha-kos County resi-dents having been in-volved in various development issues in County.Mueni adds that she wants to break the trend of having a certain clique of wealthy people con-trolling resources in the County and open up oppor-tu-nities for all.“Devolution has changed how poli-tics will be done in our Counties and in Macha-kos County I want to be part of the change that will do away with the sta-tus quo of the circle of wealthy people who control major re-sources in the County.” she said
She said that personal integrity will also play a huge role in the forthcoming polls adding that party choice will not be a prob-lem because elec-torates will go for leaders who are able to trans-form their lives.Although she admits that some of the aspirants going for the same seat have financial muscle, she believes that by en-gaging residents in de-vel-opment ori-ented issues will help her win votes.The 36-year-old says she will work closely with the youth, needy and women to develop the County.
“Having worked with women, needy people and youth, I understand their needs and these are some of the things leaders who have been elected before have ig-nored to take care of. I want to come in and bridge the gap of de-vel-opment at the grassroots level by coming up with policies that will touch lives of all Machakos County resi-dents. “she said. How she manages to cam-paign re-mains to be seen, her civil society cre-den-tials not-with-standing, given that the vast county will require re-sources for one to traverse and create a con-sid-erable im-pact.
However the post of the Governorship in Machakos County has attracted a big number of candidates who  include Government spokesman, Dr Alfred Mutua, Youth and Sports Assistant Minister Wavinya Ndeti,  the outgoing EPZ CEO Dr Mutule Kilonzo, former Water Minister John Mutua Katuku, William Kivuvani, Former head of the Directorate of Security Intelligence, another Ex Spy Jimmy Mumina, Engineer Titus Ndundu, and former Deputy Governor of Central Bank Dr Nzioki Kibua, former Knut national treasurer Peter Mutulu, Machakos lawyer Wambua Kilonzo, former Kenya bureau of standards boss Dr Kioko Mang’eli, and former county council chairman Stanley Mang’eli.
This crowded scene is indicative of  how crucial and attractive the post of County Governor will be, not to mention the massive resources that the governor will have to manage after the conties are in place.
So what exactly should citizens look for in a Governor? Essentially, your Governor ought to be an efficient manager of both people and resources and must be of impeccable integrity. Besides, your Governor must have the passion to revolutionize how the government works so as to realize swift reversal of the advances of poverty in the county. Your Governor must have the requisite energy, a team leader, forceful, yet diplomatic and  have the potential to be President of Kenya some day.
A look through the list and others who are contemplating contesting shows some colorless, clueless and clumsy individuals without ideas on how to advance a ward, let alone the county. The list has several individuals who will have a difficult time scaling through the integrity threshold that must be attained before one gets to the ballot paper.
Those aspiring for the post of Members of Parliament are still fighting and the list could be big, but Machakos Town Constituency which represents the headquarters of the County could be the hot spot, where current MP Dr Victor Munyaka is facing stiff competition from among others Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) National Treasurer Albanus Mutisya and former MPs Daudi Mwanzia, Jonesmus Kikuyu, Machakos Chamber of Commerce and Industry Boss Simon Kitheka, TANATHI Director Charles Kimeu and a galaxy of other politicians
In Mwala, outgoing MP Pastor Daniel Muoki will fight it out with a galaxy of opponents led by Engineer Vincent Musyoka, Lawyer Ben Musau, Prof Faith Muli and Mr Benson Muthama.

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