By: Musoma JM (Publicist, Human’s Right Activist & Political Analyst)
Wiper Party is likely to lose three senior elective seats in Makueni during the August 9th polls if the looming political animosity among it’s key aspirants persists. Hightened political temperatures and conflict of interest might cost the party Makueni Senator, Kilome PM and Kibwezi west MP if status quo remains.
This internal party wars have become fodder for rivals seeking to clinch the control of Ukambani regional politics from Wiper. Makueni County has for years been the strongest Wiper zone in the country.
Keen to dislodge Kalonzo in his stronghold, ODM’s party leader Raila Odinga has teamed up with three Ukambani governors to crash Wiper in it’s Makueni bedroom. They recently launched the Azimio la Umoja initiative that backs a Raila Odinga Presidency at Unoa grounds.
Wiper Candidate for last year’s Nguu-Masumba by-election Eshio Mwaiwa terribly lost to Timothy Maneno who was backed up by Raila’s friendly governors Kibwana and Mutua. Wiper’s Mwaiwa came a distant third after Musau of UDA who was second who was almost closing gap with the winner.
This was a result of a fallout between parliamentary aspirant James Mbaluka and Wiper officials that led to his defection to UDA. Party internal rivalry is to blame for the loss of Nguu Masumba which gave Raila’s ODM and Ruto’s UDA unmerited bragging rights over the dominant Wiper Party.
Governor Kibwana who had declared to contest for Presidency has now changed tunes. He has recently declared that he will be contesting for Makueni Senatorial seat while his deputy Andelina Mwau Makueni seeks Women Rep.
Mwau is a political non-starter whose ambitions might not see the light of the day but Kibwana is a lethal and seasoned political guru with nine lives. He has a way of surviving the heat and rain to emerge strong.
Though I may not agree with his aspirations, Mzee Kibwana is still calling for shots in Makueni Politics. Truth be told, I will be foolish to ignore the only man who can call for a meeting of all bodaboda riders or mama mbogas in Makueni County with a single phone call.
The old man is making calculated moves to mysteriously mince power from his own succession politics. The Wiper gubernatorial race in Makueni pits former KMTC boss Prof. Kaloki against Senator Mutula Jnr. Since the law doesn’t allow anyone who served two terms simultaneously as governor or deputy governor to defend his seat one has to be crafty.
Kibwana now wants to have a county political seat just to remain relevant as he waits to make a huge comeback in 2027. Since he cannot contest as a Woman Representative the only county seat suitable for him to seek is Makueni Senatorial.
Safe for him now, Makueni MP Daniel Maanzo whom he considers the weakest link in Wiper is the only serious candidate who has positioned himself to succeed Mutula Jnr.
Your guess is as good as mine, with only seven months and two weeks remaining to the general elections it will be a tall order for Maanzo who has not yet hit the ground to traverse the whole county and marshall enough support to beat Kibwana for Senator.
The governor has vast networks, resources, influence and atleast some development record in all six constituencies while Maanzo appeals in one. You don’t need rocket science to understand that we need to field a candidate who is stronger than Maanzo to beat Kibwana.
Take it to bank and get a loan on my account, if Mutula Jnr doesn’t defend his seat Kibwana is our next Senator though I can’t vote for him.
Though Makueni people love the son of Mutula as their Senator they strongly believe that it is only Prof. Philip Kaloki who can make a better governor after the exit of Kibwana coz he has a development track record.
He has build 51new secondary schools in Kibwezi as an MP and 43 new KMTC campuses across Kenya as Chairman of KMTC. Six of them are in Makueni County which had none before.
The perception on the ground is that Mutula would rather go back to Senate coz as has no experience in public finance management which is a prerequisite for a Governorship. Make no mistake! Junior’s gubernatorial bid is another case study of Sonko, whose leadership went south because it was purely pegged on populism not expertise.
If Sonko had remained a Senator he would be a relevant leader today, so is Mutula Jnr tomorrow. Some hurriedly made political decisions can make a young promising leader fall from grace to grass. They need mature advisors who will tell them the truth without blinking an eye.
The Party should alternatively invoke the principle of regional distribution or geo-politics to arithmetically solve this political equation. We can derive a formula to have top county leadership positions distributed rotationally.
Is it not a beautiful thing to have Governor from Kibwezi East, a Deputy Governor from Kilome, a Senator from Mbooni, Women Rep from Makueni, a Speaker from Kaiti and Majority leader from Kibwezi West?
Wiper Party also needs to tame internal party rivalry and field it’s strongest candidates to beat Mwengi Mutuse and Regina Ndambuki in Kibwezi West and Kilome constituencies respectively.
Now that IEBC rules will not allow candidates who participate in party nominations to vie as independent candidates, Wiper needs to come up with a good strategy to consolidate it’s support base in hotly contested seats after party preliminary elections and mitigate related fallouts.
The credibility of Party Nomination’s process is of essence. Displeased and aggrieved candidates can easily team up with candidates from rival political parties and cut a deal to punish their own.
Probably it is the time to ask Musimba to defend his Kibwezi West using a Wiper ticket or use negotiated democracy to help the current Kilome MP retain Parliamentary seat lest it ends in tears.
Wiper needs to reach out to strong candidates who lose in by-elections and cut deal like in the case of Kitise-Kithuki by-election to deny opponents a chance. You and me know that it is not easy to tame a candidate who lose in a party preliminary and convince them to support those who defeated them especially if the process is questionable.
It is not easy to convince people who have been campaigning against each other to immediately support eachother without securing them a real deal. Just like the case of CAS Kala and Senator Kavindu in Machakos the Party might be forced to go an extra effort to tame nomination fallouts.
Tension is high in Makueni just like the case is in Machakos and Kitui gubernatorial races; it’s a make or break affair. Party preliminary elections seem to be now weaponized. It’s easy for Wiper candidates to fight each other than to fight candidates from other parties. True to this the Party was this weekend forced to escalate security measures during the Yatta leaders meeting after receiving intel that section of aspirants were ferrying supporters to heckle and shout down their opponents.
The Party Leader Dr. Kalonzo Musyoka who played host to hundreds of political aspirants and elected leaders called for Party Unity and assured them that the party will have a transparent, free and fair nomination process. He even went further to promise bringing Prof. Kaloki and Mutula Jnr on a negotiation table following their heated campaigns. Considering the fragility of our local politics the future of Wiper Party in Makueni will be determined by the ability of it’s leadership to keep their word.