Who will be the next Kisii deputy governor after Robert Monda's ouster?

Robert Monda

Ousted Kisii Deputy Governor Robert Monda when he appeared before the Senate on Wednesday, March 13, 2024 for his impeachment hearing.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • The deputy governor seat belongs to the Abanyaribari in the vote-rich Nyaribari area.
  • Dr Monda hails from Nyaribari Chache and was the area MP before Mr Tong’i took over.

The search for the next Kisii deputy governor has intensified with several names fronted to replace the impeached Dr Robert Monda.

Notable among the names include immediate former Nyaribari Chache MP Richard Tong’i, Mr Hilary Nyaanga, Mr James Kenani and veteran journalist-turned politician Eric Obino.

According to clan arithmetic, which secured an overwhelming win for Governor Simba Arati in the 2022 elections, the deputy governor seat belongs to the Abanyaribari in the vote-rich Nyaribari area.

Dr Monda hails from Nyaribari Chache and was the area MP before Mr Tong’i took over. Mr Tong’i, who was defending his seat through the Jubilee Party, a member of Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition Party, was floored in the last elections by Zaheer Jhanda of President William Ruto’s United Democratic Party (UDA) .

Mr Kenani, a former Kenya Pipeline Company chairman, came third in the race on an Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) ticket followed by Mr Obino, who was making his first stab at elective politics, contesting on a Kanu ticket, which is also a member of Azimio.

A source privy to the happenings told the Nation that a group of Kisii MCAs were yesterday holed up in a meeting in Nairobi and later with Governor Arati in a bid to come up with possible names to succeed Dr Monda.

Dr Monda was kicked out of office on Thursday last week after a majority of senators voted to uphold his impeachment by the Kisii County Assembly.

The Nairobi meeting is expected to settle on a name that will be presented to a larger group of MCAs today before being tabled in the assembly tomorrow.

“There is an urgent search for a new deputy governor as there is a feeling that Dr Monda could head to court for a stay order to forestall any plans to fill the vacant position,” added the source.

In 2019, the Supreme Court declared that governors have 14 days to nominate a deputy after which the county assembly will, within 60 days, vote to either reject or confirm the nominee.

The court now remains the only option available for Dr Monda to save his job and even so, it can only overturn the ouster on procedural grounds.

“If people think I can do the job, then why not? I am ready to serve the people given an opportunity,” said Mr Obino.

Mr Tong’i is seen to be one of the frontrunners for the vacancy.

Governor Arati received a significant number of votes from Nyaribari. The clan factor also played a key role in the sharing of top seats with Governor Arati, from the larger Ababasi clan, forced to pick a running mate from Abanyaribari clan.

The major clans in Kisii County are the Abagetutu, Abanyaribari, Ababasi, Abanchari, Abamachoge, and Abagirango.

Mr Arati’s pick of Dr Monda as his running mate was a clever way to clip the wings of his closest rival in the gubernatorial race, Mr Ezekiel Machogu (now Education Cabinet secretary), who is from Nyaribari Masaba, in the scramble for the 157,146 Nyaribari votes.

His other opponent, and former Kisii senator, Prof Sam Ongeri also hails from the region. Mr Arati also roped in Senator Richard Onyonka from the Abagetutu, considered the largest clan in the county. Ex-governor Ongwae hails from the Abagetutu clan.

Voting in the region is often influenced by clans. Due to this, candidates contesting various seats are always cautious on how to handle the clan factor.

In 2013, 2017 and 2022, ODM clinch all the three top county seats. The party came out with a power-sharing formula that saw each clan assured of a seat in the county.

In 2013, the governor’s seat went to Abagetutu, while the Ababasi got senator, the deputy governor was from Abamachoge, woman rep Abanchari, and the Speaker was from the Abanyaribari.

In 2017, the Abagetutu and Abamachoge maintained their respective positions while the Abagirango got the Speaker’s position and Ababasi got the woman rep seat.

The Abanyaribari got the senate seat. In 2022, the Ababasi got the governor, Abanyaribari the DG, Abagetutu senator, Abanchari woman rep, and the Abamachoge got the Speaker’s position.