Aspirants pick up pieces after losing cash, jobs in search of seats

Mr Kiema Kilonzo, Ms Sicily Kariuki, Mr Charles Keter and Dr John Mosonik

From left: Mr Kiema Kilonzo, Ms Sicily Kariuki, Mr Charles Keter and Dr John Mosonik.   They are some of the state officers who resigned from their lucrative positions to try their luck in politics, but failed to clinch nomination tickets

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

State officers who resigned from their lucrative positions to try their luck in politics, but failed to clinch nomination tickets are counting losses running into millions of shillings, having splashed the money in the campaigns.

Although a majority are not publicly regretting their decisions to resign and join politics, some are now blaming their parties for scheming their downfall during the nominations.

A good number of major political outfits resorted to issuing direct tickets, essentially locking other aspirants out of the race. Some of the aspirants, who wanted to be MPs, disclosed that they had spent more than Sh25 million during the unsuccessful campaigns for the nominations.

Requirement discriminatory

They told the Nation that the requirement for state officers to resign six months before the polls is discriminatory since they are running against sitting leaders, who continue to enjoy the trappings of their offices.

They argue that the requirement should only take effect after primaries are concluded to allow losers to continue with their state jobs. The officers resigned by February 9.

Former Water CS Sicily Kariuki is one of the major casualties of direct ticket. Jubilee Party issued the incumbent Nyandarua Governor Francis Kimemia the ticket, subsequently locking her out of the race.

It is the same case for former Kenyan diplomat Kiema Kilonzo, who was rejected by Wiper party and ticket issued to his opponent, Mr Julius Malombe. Mr Kilonzo is currently in court challenging the nomination of Mr Malombe.

Former Lake Basin Development Authority chairman Odoyo Owidi also lost in his bid to unseat Kabondo Kasipul MP Ong'ondo Were after Raila Odinga-led party issued a direct ticket.

Mr Owidi and Mr Kilonzo estimate that they spent Sh26 million and Sh15 million, respectively. Ms Kariuki declined to share the figure she spent in the campaigns, describing it as a “serious investment”.

Other former government officials who were unsuccessful in their political bids are Mr Charles Keter, who resigned as Devolution CS to run for Kericho governor seat, Mr Ken Obura who resigned as CAS to run for Kisumu governor and Mr John Mosonik who resigned as CAS to vie for Bomet governor seat.

Mr Walter Mong'are resigned as the Director of Youth and Development in the Office of the President to run for the presidency but was knocked out by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) for not meeting

Former Wildlife PS Fred Segor, who was eyeing the Baringo seat was also unsuccessful.

Others who lost are Mr Isaiah Ogwe, who resigned as Homa Bay secretary to run for governor and former Tourism CAS Joseph Boinnet who lost his bid for Elgeyo Marakwet seat.

No regrets

Ms Kariuki told the Nation that she “has no regrets whatsoever for resigning” since she wanted to serve the people.

“It was a conscious decision that I made. You must sacrifice if it is about public service. I was not looking for power but to serve the people,” she said.

She disclosed that she was ready to serve the people in any other capacity in the next administration. Ms Kariuki is currently a prominent figure in Mr Odinga’s presidential campaigns.

“My agenda is the people; anything that will make me advance the interest of the people I will gladly take,” she added.

‘Primaries a sham’

Mr Kilonzo described Wiper party primaries a sham that was predetermined by a clique of officials.

“They had identified the candidate; so why were they taking our nomination money? We paid Sh500,000 for nomination then three days to the primaries, it was cancelled and a direct ticket issued to Malombe,” said Mr Kilonzo.

“I don’t regret my decision to resign. You must know that I am a career politician. I have been an MP for 10 years. This is a familiar ground that is why I can take them head on,” he added.

He revealed that he had spent more than Sh15 million in the campaigns. The money he said covered logistics and mobilisation.

“I have spent to the tune of Sh15 million. Kitui County is expansive; it is 30,000 kilometres squared. The county is bigger than Rwanda. Traversing and mobilising requires money. And that Sh15 million is a conservative figure of what I have spent,” he says.

Most expensive venture

Mr Owidi said most of his Sh26 million went into logistics, describing campaigns in the country as the most expensive ventures.

“Our campaigns have become expensive. All our people want is money and more money and their problems become yours. In fact the single most useful tool to get elected is to have more money,” said Mr Owidi.

Mr Owidi, who has since been incorporated in one of the Azimio la Umoja-One Kenya Coalition campaign teams, blamed the Orange party for issuing a direct ticket instead of allowing the people to participate in the nominations.

“The party knows exactly why they gave my opponent the ticket, maybe for him to qualify for pension. I was certain that I would beat my opponent even if I went independent but I chose to remain in the party to continue supporting our presidential candidate,” he said.

He added that he does not regret resigning since his term at the board was set to elapse by June.

Law unfair

He described the law requiring state officers to resign before joining politics as unfair.

“Some of the people you are asking to resign have no Authority to Incur Expenditure (AIE). The incumbent MPs use state resources until after they are nominated by IEBC. State officers should remain in office until party primaries and can remain to serve if they lose,” he stated.

Mr Keter, a former MP and the first senator for Kericho County, lost to a political greenhorn, Dr Erick Mutai in the bid to fly UDA ticket.

The former CS has maintained a low profile after the humiliating defeat.

Deputy President William Ruto appeared to have given a lifeline to Mr Keter when he recently appointed him to his presidential campaign team to take charge of Rift Valley along with other leaders.

Missing in UDA functions

But he has been missing in all UDA functions in Kericho, including the county economic forums attended by Mr Rigathi Gachagua, DP Ruto’s running mate.

He has also been missing in rallies held by Dr Ruto in Rift Valley counties, even after being appointed, and has turned down media interviews, in what has generated a lot of debate on his future role in politics.

Dr Mosonik was beaten by Bomet Governor Hillary Barchok in the UDA primaries and has kept off the campaign trail since the April, 4 nomination.

He turned down pressure to take up the position of running mate after losing saying it was an issue that he would not give a thought.

“I will play the role of serving the country in other positions nationally, and will keep off the local politics,” said Dr Mosonik.

The former CAS has twice publicly been mentioned by Dr Ruto as the technocrat who was key in identifying and implementing major road projects in the country while serving as the PS for Infrastructure in the Jubilee administration.

Not done with politics

In Homa Bay, former Energy executive Beatrice Ogolla is not done with politics. If given another chance, she will try to put her name on the ballot in an election.

Ms Ogolla vied for the woman rep position but was beaten by former Kisumu Roads executive Joyce Osogo in the April 14 nomination.

Ms Ogolla, however, said she moved on and decided to support the winner and is now involved in ODM party affairs in Homa Bay County with hopes that one day, an opportunity will open up for her to grab.

"I do not regret resigning and I believe I left a mark that residents of the county will remember me for," she said.

She added that she may also serve Homa Bay County if the next government considers her as fit for a managerial position.

Left county government jobs

Other officials who resigned from the county government of Homa Bay to join politics are Mr Ogwe, Mrs Maren Agar, who was vying for Suba South parliamentary seat and Public Service board members Tobias Odundo and Elija Kodo, who were contesting for Suba South and Karachuonyo parliamentary seats, respectively.

From the group, it is only Mr Kodo who is still in active politics after Dr Kidero picked him as his running mate.

The rest suspended campaigns with Mr Ogwe going back to manage his hotel business and run charity work where he supports needy students.

In Kisumu, former Land executive Judith Atyang’ said she is concentrating on campaigning for ODM candidates to ensure they win.

“I can decide to go back to class or even venture in any kind of business after succeeding in my mission,” said the former Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University of Science and Technology and Maseno University lecturer.

Mr Obura lost after ODM gave Prof Anyang’ Nyong’o a direct ticket to defend his seat. Mr Obura has, however, teamed up with former Governor Jack Ranguma, Senator Fred Outa and former Kisumu Assembly Speaker Onyango Oloo to form a formidable force and edge out the governor.

Mr Ranguma is contesting on a Movement for Democracy and Growth (MDG) party which is affiliated to Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition party.

Short-changed

Dr Nicholas Kut Ochogo also left his job as a senior lecturer at the University of Nairobi to contest Alego Usonga parliamentary seat on ODM ticket, however he lost at the primaries to the incumbent Mr Samuel Atandi.

Dr Ochogo maintains that he was short-changed at the party primaries.

“I won the primaries but was short changed. For now, I will decide what to do in the next few months and I have many options,” said Dr Ochogo.

He added, “I can decide to go back and teach, I can venture into farming or just concentrate on my businesses. I can also decide to stay home with my family.”


Additional reporting by Victor Raballa, George Odiwuor and Kassim Adinasi

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