Election shows who regional kingmakers are, with Roba the new kid on the block

From left: Ali Roba, Moses Wetang'ula and Rigathi Gachagua.

Photo credit: File

What you need to know:

They staked their reputation, time and resources to support their chosen political courses, and they did deliver the numbers in the Tuesday elections. Now is payback time from the 'big two'

The just concluded General Election has shown kingmakers the winner of the presidential contest will either have to work with or tolerate.

Regional kingpins are a mixture of the old and new politicians who have the numbers to negotiate for positions in national and devolved governments.

The surprise kingmaker of the northern region is Mandera Governor Ali Roba. 

His United Democratic Movement (UDM) pulled a surprise by winning two governor positions, nine parliamentary seats and at least 35 ward representatives.

UDM bagged the Mandera governor seat through County Assembly Speaker Adan Khalif.

Marsabit Governor Mohamud Ali choose to defend his seat on its ticket. Mr Roba is the new Mandera Senator on the party ticket.

New Wajir senator Abass Sheikh Mohamed also sailed through on UDM ticket.

The party bagged the Mandera Woman Representative position through Ms Umulkheir Kassaim.

UDM won the Mandera North, Mandera South, Mandera West and Banisa parliamentary seats as well as Lunga Lunga in Kwale and Laisamis constituency in Marsabit county.

The party won at least 22 ward representative seats in Mandera, three in Marsabit, one Siaya, four in Isiolo, three in Garissa and three others in Wajir county.

The party that is allied to the Azimio La Umoja One Kenya Coalition gave Siaya Senator James Orengo of Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) a run for his money in the governor race with its candidate Nicholas Gumbo narrowly losing. 

Siaya is Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition presidential candidate Raila Odinga’s home county and a perceived ODM base.

In an earlier interview, UDM Secretary General David Ohito said the party wants to fill the political gap in northeastern Kenya.

“UDM is keen on championing for better education, healthcare and the interests of the people of Mandera and the northeast in general,”  Mr Ohito said then. 

The party was founded in 1999 by politicians considered renegades of the then ruling Kenya African National Union (Kanu).

UDA sweep

United Democratic Alliance (UDA) running mate Rigathi Gachagua has proved his mettle after the party won most of the seats in Mt Kenya, vanquishing seasoned politicians and governors. 

Most of the leaders elected in Gachagua’s home county of Nyeri are his allies, with some being his associates or those who worked with his brother Nderitu Gachagua when the latter was governor.

A chunk of the votes cast in the region went to UDA presidential candidate and Deputy President William Ruto

This is in contrast to Azimio running mate Martha Karua, whose Narc Kenya party had not bagged any seat by the time of going to press.

Wiper Party leader Kalonzo Musyoka asserted himself as the Kitui, Machakos and Makueni counties political kingpin after the region voted overwhelmingly for Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Presidential candidate Raila Odinga.

Wiper bagged all the top seats in the three counties. It also secured 15 of the 22 parliamentary seats. 

The three counties delivered 769,985 votes to Mr Odinga’s basket against 250,188 that went to Dr Ruto. 

Though Mr Odinga’s performance in the region was lower than it was in 2017, Mr Musyoka’s allies are still celebrating the outcome.

They say Mr Odinga’s performance in Ukambani points to Mr Musyoka’s importance in the Azimio la Umoja One Kenya camp. 

The bulk of Mr Odinga’s votes (305,993) were from Machakos county, which incidentally, was the highlight of Mr Musyoka’s victories. 

Wiper’s Wavinya Ndeti floored among others former State House Chief of Staff Nzioka Waita and UDA chairman Johnson Muthama.

The raging Wiper wave in Ukambani notwithstanding, Dr Ruto got most of his votes from Mr Musyoka’s Kitui background. 

Kitui East MP Nimrod Mbai and his Mwala colleague Vincent Musyoka were re-elected on UDA tickets.

Mr Musyoka’s influence was strongest in Makueni where UDA failed to win a seat. 

Five of the six Makueni county MPs were elected on Wiper tickets, an increase from four. 

Still, the former vice-president had endorsed the sixth one – Kibwezi West MP-elect Mwengi Mutuse – of Maendeleo Chap Chap party. 

Wiper Vice-Chairman and outgoing Senator Mutula Kilonzo Jr won the governor race by beating Kibwezi West MP Patrick Musimba, who stood as an independent. 

Mr Kilonzo garnered 214,088 votes against Mr Musimba’s 63, 252, according to Makueni County Returning Officer Maurice Raria. 

Makueni Woman Representative Rose Museo retained her seat. She had 116, 599 votes while Ms Wavinya Nzioka of Muungano Party bagged 56,908. 

One of the most celebrated victory is that of Makueni MP Daniel Maanzo who beat outgoing Governor Kivutha Kibwana convincingly in the Senate race. 

Mr Maanzo garnered 177,273 votes ahead of Prof Kibwana’s 59, 034.

Prof Kibwana protested the outcome, blaming low turnout caused by the breakdown of the Kenya Integrated Election Management System (Kiems) gadgets in his  Kibwezi West constituency. 

“For more than six hours, Kiems kits in 84 polling stations failed before the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission resorted to the chaotic manual voting which ended  about 1 am,” Prof Kibwansa said in a statement. 

However, Wiper Party leaders urged him to respect the will of Makueni residents. 

“We should respect the voters as they have picked their leaders,” Mr Kilonzo said yesterday.

Gusii politics

Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i is emerging as the Gusii political supremo after his preferred candidates in Kisii and Nyamira counties won with big margins.

The CS was behind the candidacy of Governors-elect Simba Arati (Kisii), Amos Nyaribo (Nyamira), Senators-elect Okong’o Omogeni (Nyamira), Richard Onyonka (Kisii) and Woman Representatives-elect Dorice Aburi (Kisii) and Jerusha Momanyi (Nyamira).

All the candidates for the top three county positions won their seats, some with a landslide.

Dr Matiang’i is also perceived to be backing Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition and Mr Odinga. 

Mr Odinga has performed better than Dr Ruto in the two counties.

At the same time, several of his preferred candidates in National Assembly and Member of County Assembly races emerged victorious.

The United Progressive Alliance (UPA) that is associated with the Interior Minister clinched a number of strategic seats. 

The party bagged the Nyamira governor seat through Mr Nyaribo. It also captured the Bonchari Parliamentary seat that was won by Charles Onchoke on top of seven ward representative positions. Nyamira has 20 wards.

In the run up to the elections, Dr Matiang’i was on the receiving end, especially from some Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition party leaders and candidates for his decision to back a particular line-up.

During a rally attended by Mr Odinga, his running mate Martha Karua and other leaders, Dr Matiang’i was praised for his skills in reaching out to his people.

 “You have become a politician. You have talked and reached your people’s hearts. We should take you to Siaya to address rallies there tomorrow,” Suna East MP and ODM Director of Elections Junet Mohamed said. 

When Dr Ruto’s Kenya Kwanza Alliance bagged Amani National Congress (ANC) chief Musalia Mudavadi and Ford Kenya’s Moses Wetang’ula before elections, social media users said Mr Mudavadi was the bigger catch of the pair and derided the Bungoma senator.

But these elections have shown that the man who is more valuable politically and has brought more seats to Kenya Kwanza is Mr Wetang’ula. 

Provisional results showed Dr Ruto had 63 per cent of the ballots counted in Bungoma county while Azimio’s Odinga had 35.92 per cent by Friday.

In Mudavadi’s Vihiga backyard, Mr Odinga and Azimio had 60 per cent as Dr Ruto followed at 39.15.

Ford Kenya candidates won the Governor, Woman Representative, Senator and four MPs in Bungoma county.

The Ford-K MPs-elect announced by the IEBC are John Makali (Kanduyi constituency) who garnered 32,099 votes, Mr Martin Wanyonyi (Webuye East), with 12,864, Mr Majimbo Kalasinga, (Kabuchai) 37,627 votes and Murumba Chikati (Tongaren) with 20,689 votes.

Mr Wetang’ula sealed the fate of MPs Wafula Wamunynyi (Kanduyi), Dr Eseli Simiyu (Tongareni) and Governor Wycliffe Wangamati.

The three politicians had decamped from Ford Kenya after they fell out with the senator following protracted leadership wrangles in Ford-K.

UDA bagged three seats. Kimilili MP  Didmus Barasa carried the day with 26,861votes. In Vihiga, the “stronghold” of Mr Mudavadi, ANC performed dismally, opening ground for ODM to dominate.

In Mr Mudavadi’s Sabatia, a constituency he represented for many years, UDA candidate Clement Sloya pulled a surprise by defeating the ANC’s Emmanuel Ayodi by 23,835 votes to 10,539.

ANC clinched Vihiga, Hamisi and Emuhaya parliamentary seats along with the Woman Representative position which was retained by Ms Beatrice Adagala.

Mr Charles Gimose carried the day in Hamisi constituency while Mr Omboko Milemba recaptured Emuhaya.

But Governor Wilber Ottichilo retained his seat on an ODM ticket while Mr Godfrey Osotsi took the Senate seat.

In Kakamega, ANC party clinched the Shinyalu and Malava parliamentary seats while ODM carried the day in Khwisero, Butere, Mumias West, Lurambi, Navakholo, Ikolomani, Likuyani, Lugari and Matungu.

The Mumias East seat went to Democratic Action Party of Kenya’s (DAP-K)  Peter Salasya. Dr Boni Khalwale of UDA took the Senate seat. 

Mr Odinga beat Dr Ruto in Mr Mudavadi’s home turf. According to the results, Mr Odinga garnered 143,371 votes while Dr Ruto had 79,722.

During the campaigns, Dr Ruto had urged Vihiga residents to give Kenya Kwanza Alliance 90 per cent of the vote.

Mr Mudavadi told locals “not to embarass me and leaving me naked” by voting for ANC candidates. The contest for ward representative seats also showed that ANC was no longer the party to beat. 
The party only won seven of the 25 ward seats. In Kakamega county, campaigns by outgoing Governor Wycliffe Oparanya and Woman Representative Elsie Muhanda paid dividends for ODM.

All area MPs who defected from ANC to ODM in March recaptured their seats. MP Johnson Naicca of Mumias West retook his seat. He will be serving his third term.

MPs Peter Nabulindo (Matungu), Mr Tindi Mwale (Butere), Mr Christopher Aseka (Khwisero), Mr Bernard Shinali (Ikolomani), Bishop Titus Khamala (Lurambi) and Mr Emmanuel Wangwe (Navakholo) defected from their parties to ODM and were handed direct nomination.
Mr Wangwe and Mr Shinali defected from Jubilee to join ODM.

ANC’s Malulu Injendi and Fredrick Ikana won the Malava and Shinyalu parliamentary seats respectively.

All MPs who contested on the UDA party ticket in Kakamega County lost in the polls.

Mr Mudavadi and Mr Wetang’ula were promised a 30 per cent stake in the Kenya Kwanza government should Dr Ruto clinch the presidency. 

But they were required to deliver 70 per cent of the votes from their regions as a condition.

Coast dynamics

Kwale Governor Salim Mvurya has once again flexed his political muscles after the win of his deputy Fatuma Achani on a UDA ticket.

Ms Achani was announced the winner of the Kwale governor race, defeating ODM’s Hamadi Boga and Pamoja African Alliance’s (PAA) Lung’anzi Chai.

She garnered 59, 674 votes in the hotly contested seat, beating Prof Boga who had 53,972. There were four other contestants from different parties. 

Ms Achani now becomes the first female governor in the Coast, a rarity considering the strong cultural beliefs in the region.

The Kwale gubernatorial race was a test between the three outgoing Coast governors – Ali Hassan Joho (Mombasa), Amason Kingi (PAA) of Kilifi and Mr Mvurya, with each one of them giving support to the candidates in their parties.

Mr Joho even pitched camp in Kwale, visiting the four constituencies to campaign for Prof Boga.

In his speeches, the  Mombasa county boss promised to deliver votes for his party principal Odinga and Prof Boga.

He said the two leaders would address the challenges faced by the Coast region, including land injustices, once they win.

Mr Kingi backed Mr Lung’anzi, even though he and Mr Mvurya were in the Kenya Kwanza coalition. 

Governor Kingi, who left ODM to form PAA, had hopes of revolutionising Coast politics.

Later, he joined the Kenya Kwanza coalition, claiming that Mr Odinga betrayed the region.

He has further suffered a blow after PAA candidate George Kithi lost the Kilifi governor race.

However, Mr Joho and Mr Kingi were not as dedicated to campaigning for their candidates in Kwale county as they would only appear during rallies organised when their party principles visited the region.

Mr Mvurya had campaigned for his deputy from the moment the two announced that she would be vying to succeed him a year ago. 

They used the slogan “Kazi Iendelee” to mean that Ms Achani should continue from where Mr Mvurya left.

He got a boost when Dr Ruto named him one of the party principals, entrusting him with the role to lead campaigns in the Coast. 

In return, Mr Mvurya told locals that he would be among the people that will form the Kenya Kwanza government.

When Mr Kingi and Mr Joho joined their party leaders in countrywide campaigns, Mr Mvurya remained in Kwale as he launched county government projects with Ms Achani, using the opportunity to reach remote places.

His position as governor put him in a better place, as Mr Mvurya would authoritatively influence votes from his region in Kinango to vote for his deputy and Kenya Kwanza candidates.

Reported by Derick Luvega, Pius Maundu, Manase Otsialo, Ruth Mbula, Brian Ojamaa, Shaban Makokha and Siago Cece