Ten MPs have been voted back in constituencies that have not been re-electing their leaders.
Six of these MPs broke a 30-year jinx that had confined their constituencies into one-term MPs since multiparty politics was introduced in 1992.
The six are Samuel Atandi (Alego Usonga), Ndindi Nyoro (Kiharu), Erastus Kivasu (Mbooni), Fabian Kyule (Kangundo), Kuria Kimani (Molo) and Ken Chonga (Kilifi South).
Those who retained their seats for the first time since the 1997 General Election include Joseph Oyula (Butula), Lilian Gogo (Rangwe) and Paul Katana (Kaloleni). In Mugirango North, Joash Nyamoko Nyamache was also re-elected.
Mr Atandi, 42, got 69, 270 votes, easily trouncing his rivals—former MP George Omondi (Dap-K) who got 14,624 votes, Mr Sospeter Aminga (independent, 2,079) and Mr Joseph Ochieng 581 votes. Although the constituency has 122,009 registered voters, only 86,413 votes were cast, about 71 per cent turnout. It is among the six constituencies in Siaya County. The others are Bondo, Ugunja, Ugenya, Rarieda and Gem.
Having retained their seats, the legislators—assuming there will be no successful court petitions against their wins—are assured of two terms in Parliament and will, therefore, qualify for a monthly pension that former MPs pocket should they lose in the 2027 General Election.
The Parliamentary Pensions Act affords an MP who has served two terms from the ninth parliament a lump sum of Sh7.7 million and a monthly pension of about Sh127,800 before tax.
Mr Otieno Mak’Onyango was the first Alego Usonga MP after the return of multiparty politics. He was elected in 1992 on Ford- Kenya. He served for a term and was succeeded by Mr Peter Oloo Aringo in 1997 on NDP, Mr Samuel Weya (Narc) in 2002, Edwin Yinda (ODM) in 2007 and Mr Omondi (Wiper) in 2013.
Before the 1992 General Election, Mr Aringo had been the area MP for three terms.
“I have always told whoever cares to listen that as long as you are close to the people, they will support you. My open-door policy with my people in Alego Usonga is the reason they have rewarded me with a re-election,” says Mr Atandi.
‘One term’ champion
But even as this happened, Tetu constituency remains the ‘one term’ champion since the 1988 General Election, followed by Kasarani that has produced a new MP every election since 1992. Mr Nahashon Kanyi Waithaka won the Tetu seat in 1988, Joseph Gethenji in 1992, Paul Muya in 1997, Prof Wangari Maathai in 2002, Francis Nyamu in 2007, Ndung’u Gethenji in 2013, James Mwangi in 2017 and Geoffrey Wandeto on August 9, 2022.
Kasarani has had Michael Muraya in 1992, Fredrick Masinde 1994, Adolf Muchiri 1997, William Omondi 2002, Elizabeth Ongoro 2007, Joseph Chege 2013, Mercy Gakuya 2017 and now Ronald Karauri.
In Alego Usonga, Mr Atandi’s re-election did not, however, come easy. Despite scoring a popularity rating of 74 per cent in the opinion poll that was conducted for those eyeing the seat in the party primaries, his ODM party still subjected him to the rigours of nomination by universal suffrage.
Former Siaya governor Cornel Rasanga was among those eyeing the seat but was talked out of the race by ODM leader Raila Odinga.
Mr Atandi, nonetheless, won in the ODM nomination and was presented with the winner’s certificate. But his opponent contested his nomination at the party level, an appeal that was dismissed.
The battle was not over yet. The matter was escalated to the Political Parties Dispute Tribunal (PPDT), which overturned his nomination.
With the constituency having been known for producing a one-term legislator, he thought his goose was cooked. The PPDT went on to direct the party to undertake a fresh nomination exercise but the party appealed to the tribunal for a review of its own decision.
The PPDT resolved to have the party deal with the matter and that is how Mr Atandi, the youngest in a polygamous family, finally got to fly the Orange party flag.