Once again, East African Court judge Charles Nyachae is back to test waters with Kisii governor James Ongwae after getting a resounding defeat during the last general elections where he emerged a poor third position in his bid for the senator seat.
This time round, Nyachae has moved to Party of Economic Development after jumping ship from Jubilee where he lost to former senator Chris Obure and radio presenter Doris Aburi who were gunning for the gubernatorial and women representative seats. The political duel will be in Kiamokama ward in Nyaribari Masaba constituency where the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission has declared a by-election following the death of area MCA Kennedy Mainya who succumbed to the Covid-19 pandemic.
This will be the second by-election since Governor Ongwae took office eight years ago after the Nyacheki ward by-elections in Bobasi constituency which he presided over in his first term in office where the governor trounced Jubilee lieutenants including Nyachae and the ODM party retained the seat through Naftal Onkoba. Nyachae is yet to get a nod from his father Simeon Nyachae. He walked out of Jubilee due to frustration. Nyachae is camping in the area in the company of moneyed Daniel Manduku who resigned from the Kenya Ports Authority to frustrate Interior cabinet secretary Fred Matiangi who is a close ally of Governor Ongwae.
The party sponsoring the Manduku camp is associated with William Ruto who has hit the ground for his 2022 presidential campaigns with the promise that Nyachae will be the speaker of the national assembly or senate while Manduku will be supported for the position of governor to succeed Ongwae. In Kiamokoma ward whose government was elected on an ODM party, Ongwae is out to protect the seat through Malack Matara since the deceased was elected on the same party.
Nyachae and Manduku are supporting former district commissioner Daniel Ondabu where they have been luring some candidates to step down in exchange of money and other sweet promises. Interestingly, area MP Ezekiel Machogu and Senator Sam Ongeri both from Boguche clan which has no candidate in the by-elections and who have declared interest for the gubernatorial seat will be facing each other in the political contest ahead of the next general elections.
Others who have declared interest for the gubernatorial seat but have remained neutral in the ward by-elections are deputy governor Joash Maangi, Lands economist Rachael Otundo and Dagorett North MP Simba Arati, While Ongeri and women representative Janet Ong’era will be supporting Matara, Machogu will be supporting Ondabu thanks to his cordial relationship with Nyachae and Manduku. But Machogu’s undoing in the campaigns is the presence of Nyachae who is unpopular among the electorate and has poor networking compared to the Ongwae team which has been in politics for long.
There are four major clans in Nyaribari Masaba constituency namely Kamba Nane, Boguche, Botondo and Bosigisa. Of the four clans, it is only the Kamba Nane which has sponsored candidates for the seat. The Kamba Nane clan comprises of eight subclans namely – Bomobea, Bonyameyio, Bonyakoni, Mwamonda, Bogeka, Bonyamasicho, Mwaboto and Mwamoriango. The late MCA Mainya hailed from the Bonyakoni subclan.
Among those who have declared interest for the seat are Matara of ODM and Vinny Gekone both from Bonyakoni, Daniel Nyakundi (Bonyameyio – PED), Nyandusi Nyakeramba (Bonyamasicho-UDA) and Stephen Nyakeriga (The New Democrats). Matara who is a cousin of the late Mainya was endorsed after consultations with the family and local elders because he worked closely with the late MCA and it will be easier for him to help jump-start the development projects he had initiated.