Former Assistant Minister ‘Ready for Machakos Governor’s Seat’

Photo:Odhiambo Orlale
Photo:Odhiambo Orlale

Battle lines for the coveted Machakos gubernatorial race have been drawn pitting Governor Dr Alfred Mutua and former Assistant Minister Wavinya Ndeti.

Ndeti is among a handful of prominent and influential women leaders who have gone against the political tide to contest for the 47 seats in the counties, which are second most coveted seat in the August 8, General Elections, after that of the President.

In a television talk show shortly after she was declared the winner by the chairman of the Political Parties Disputes Tribunal, Mr Kyalo Mbobu, the former Kathiani MP said: “The court has confirmed what the people of Machakos said, and that is: my name must be on the ballot.”

Ms Ndeti said despite the many hurdles and frustrations she had faced, the people had given her the mandate to go for the powerful seat. She vowed to focus her campaign on her development record and not waste time on personalities and divisive politics.

The Former Assistant Minister expressed confidence in facing it off with the incumbent saying she now had the full support of her party and its leader, Kalonzo Musyoka, who is a former Vice President, and will not look back.

Three women leaders have been cleared by the ruling party, Jubilee; they are Deputy Speaker Joyce Laboso in Bomet County, former Devolution Cabinet Secretary, Ann Waiguru, in Kirinyaga County and Kisumu Maendeleo Ya Wanawake chairperson, Atieno Otieno, in Kisumu County.

Aspirants

Others in the gubernatorial race are: former Cabinet Minister, Charity Ngilu, in Kitui County, on her NARC party’s ticket; and her former colleague, Martha Karua, in Kirinyaga County on Narc Kenya ticket. The two made history as the first women party leaders and also the first to vie for the presidency in 1997 and in 2013, respectively, but lost.

Others who made an attempt in the just concluded primaries, but lost in the grueling, chaotic and violent party primaries were former Assistant Ministers Cecily Mbarire (Embu) and Bishop Margaret Wanjiru (Nairobi); and  ODM’s Mrs Anne Omodho Anyanga in Migori County.

In Machakos County, Dr Mutua and Ms Ndeti have been cleared by their respective parties, Maendeleo Chap Chap and Wiper Democratic Party, respectively, to vie for the coveted seat.

Ndeti faced two male opponents for the Wiper nomination ticket in a controversial poll which had to be repeated after she won, but her opponent’s filed a dispute with the Political Parties Disputes Tribunal.

In the repeat nomination exercise, the former Kathiani MP trounced Deputy Governor, Bernard Kiala, her closest rival, by garnering 227,947 votes against his miserable 4,508.

Campaign trail

It will be their third political encounter on the campaign trail, the first was during the hotly-contested Wiper Party primaries in 2013, where Ndeti cried foul before crossing over to start her own party, Chama Cha Uzalendo (CCU), which she used to join the gubernatorial race, but lost to Dr Mutua.

The tough-talking politician has since folded her party and joined Wiper Democratic Party to support the National Alliance Party (NASA), whose flag bearer is former Prime Minister Raila Odinga.

The Wiper Democratic Party, is headed by former Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka, and considers Lower Eastern (Ukambani) as its stronghold.

On his part, the Governor is vying on his party’s ticket and is backing President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Jubilee Party in the August 8 General Elections.

A survey by FIDA Kenya on the 2013 polls, where former Cabinet Minister, Karua, was the only woman presidential candidate with six rivals, shows that only 16 out of the 129 women who vied for the 290 vacant parliamentary seats were declared winners out of a pool of 2,097 candidates on the ballot paper.

There were only six women candidates for the 47 seats for Governor out of 237 candidates cleared by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC). They all lost. No woman vied for the 47 Senator’s seats nicknamed ‘Nyumba Ya Wazee (House of the Elderly),’ out of 244 candidates.

The sad story was replicated for MCAs in the 47 counties where 623 women vied for the 1,450 MCAs’ seats out of a pool of 9,910, but only 91 were elected.