Kenneth Marende drops bid for Vihiga governor

Kenneth Marende

Kenneth Marende during a past event.

Photo credit: File

Former National Assembly Speaker Kenneth Marende has dropped his bid for Vihiga governor.

Mr Marende made the announcement after Azimio presidential candidate Raila Odinga offered him the position of Senate Speaker in his potential government.

The move comes about five days after he launched his bid to unseat Governor Wilber Ottichilo.

Mr Marende was to run for the governor's seat on DAP-K, an affiliate of Azimio la Umoja Movement.

The decision by Mr Marende to drop out of the race comes as a major boost for the incumbent -- Dr Ottichilo.

The two hail from the Bunyore sub-tribe that is largely resident in Luanda and Emuhaya constituencies.

His candidature would have caused a split in the 100,000 Bunyore votes and probably affect Dr Ottichilo's performance.

"To say no (to nomination as Senate Speaker) is like going upstream. No one can be unwise to swim upstream. You cannot ride two horses," Mr Marende.

He said the pledge to offer him the Senate speakership was made by Mr Odinga who leads the alliance he belongs to.

"The announcement was made was made by Azimio la Umoja Movement leader. I am a member of DAP-K that belongs to that coalition."

Mr Marende noted that the decision that was made by Mr Odinga on Monday got him by surprise.

He said he was busy popularising his bid for the governorship when someone alerted him about the development.

"It is a great honour to be given the opportunity to serve in the Senate as Speaker. The position is significant and to be considered for it is an honour," he said.

When he launched his bid for the Vihiga governorship contest on Saturday, May 14, Mr Marende said he is seeking to better the county's development.

He said the Sh40 billion received in the last ten years had not been used well by the first and second administrations to turn the tables and offer the much needed development.

He then urged the more than 304,000 voters in the county to elect him as he has a better understanding of devolution.

Also in the race to unseat Dr Ottichilo is Vihiga Senator Mr George Khaniri, former Governor Mr Moses Akaranga and Sabatia MP Mr Alfred Agoi.

Deputy Governor Dr Patrick Saisi and former County Secretary Mr Francis Ominde have also declared their interest in the seat.

Mr Marende then unveiled his running mate, Mr Humphrey Kisia, a Music teacher, to deputise him.

Said Mr Marende: "I understand devolution. Devolution came in to bring about fairness and equality."

"I presided over the debate in Parliament that led to enactment of the 2010 Constitution. This now brings resources to the grassroots."

"I will implement better health care and give every one medical cover. In me, we have a chance to elect a better government," added Mr Marende.

He rated the performance of the first county government under Mr Akaranga as having been fair and the current one under Dr Ottichilo as very fair.

He however said his government will be better in terms of service delivery.

"I am a good manager. I have done it before and rest assured I can do it again. We cannot continue to give excuses yet we have received Sh40 billion in the last ten years," said Mr Marende.

He said he has a greater understanding of Vihiga County and would lead by uniting everyone in the devolved unit.

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