Wangamati suffers blow in re-election bid as Tachoni back Lusaka

Ken Lusaka with Iteso community

Senate Speaker Ken Lusaka when he met Iteso community in Bungoma. The community also pledged to back his bid for the county top seat.

Photo credit: Brian Ojamaa | Nation Media Group

Bungoma governor Wycliffe Wangamati suffered a blow in his re-election bid after the Tachoni community in the county opted to back his main challenger, former area governor and the Senate Speaker Ken Lusaka.

The community, under the umbrella of Tachoni Cultural Society (Tacuso), vowed to support Lusaka’s gubernatorial bid despite Wangamati picking his running mate from the community.

They said Mr Wangamati had previously picked Prof Charles Ngome who hails from the community as his deputy but they had not benefited in any way from the Wangamati led administration.

For his re-election, Mr Wangamati again picked Mr McLean Sitati Nangalama from the Tachoni community.

Prof Ngome is vying for the Bungoma Senatorial seat under the DAP-K party ticket.

Addressing the press at Mayi's place in Mihuu ward, Webuye East constituency, Tacuso chair Mr Patrick Sitati Lichuma said the decision to back Mr Lusaka was informed by lack of development in the area even after the community supported the current regime for the last five years.

"Wangamati never consulted us before picking our son Mr Nangalama; we have not achieved anything after having Prof Ngome as his deputy," said Mr Lichuma.

He added that even after having a deputy governor from the Tachoni community, the area has lagged behind in terms of development with poor roads and no water with only a few individuals benefiting at expense of the larger Tachoni community.

Mr Wangamati picked culture, sports and gender CEC Evelin Kakai, director special programs Carol Buyela among others from the community to serve in his administration but the community maintains that they have done nothing tangible for them in the last five years.

“We really supported the current regime in the last general election but we have never seen meaningful development apart from some individuals who have benefited," Mr Lichuma said.

M r Lichuma said Mr Lusaka has agreed with them on what the community will benefit in terms of development in his administration as opposed to the current regime.

“We don’t want deputy governor’s slot because for the last five years we had the slot but that gained us nothing; we want some slots and development projects in our area geared towards improving the lives of our people,” said Lichuma.

He said that the community has been assured of the county secretary position, two CECs from either the ministry of roads, health or education, several chief officers, county liaison officer, several directors, county public service board's chairperson among other positions.

The women league who sits in the Tacuso leadership, led by Ms Pascal Makhakha, applauded Mr Lusaka for having nominated a woman as his running mate. 

Mr Lusaka picked gender rights crusader Jennifer Mbatiany from Mt Elgon as his running mate.

Ms Makhakha vowed to support the duo and will walk from village to village to drum up support for the Mr Lusaka and asked all women to join them in making the dream be true.

The move comes barely three weeks after the Iteso community also backed Lusaka's bid.

In a meeting with Mr Lusaka in Bungoma town on Monday, the community under Bungoma Teso Residents Association (BTRA) caucus observed that they were tired of humiliation from Wangamati's regime.

Mr Benedict Emachar, BTRA patron stated that as a community they had enough votes to guarantee Lusaka a win.

“We have more than 100,000 votes as a community and if we all cast in favour of Lusaka he will definitely emerge the winner,” said Mr Emacar.

Mr Ajuk Olekete, BTRA chairperson had said they will walk across the 45 wards campaigning for Lusaka.

"We are a force to reckon with, we will campaign for him to ensure he wins the gubernatorial seat in the county," Mr Olekete said.

They observed that they had been side-lined for so long and it was time they supported Mr Lusaka for the betterment of the county.

"Iteso community are the second largest tribe in Bungoma county but we haven't enjoyed any fruits in the devolved unit, if Lusaka wins we will have an upper hand in securing the county government jobs," he said.


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