Speculations that outgoing Siaya governor Cornell Rasanga could vie for the Alego-Usonga seat parliamentary has elicited a heated debate among opinion leaders and voters in the constituency.
Anti-Rasanga crusaders have scoffed off at the idea pointing out that he has displayed poor leadership in the past and should thus be denied another chance in the political office. The development is likely to send other rivals in the race to unseat MP Samwel Atandi back to the drawing board with pundits projecting a disruptive affair with the potentiality of Rasanga’s entrance into the race. Siaya county government acting director of communication, Auscar Wambiya, downplayed the matter, citing that such arrangements were currently off the table. He left room for further speculations by adding that the office of the governor has embarked on listening to voters’ opinions before making an official announcement as far as Alego-Usonga 2022 politics is concerned.
The statements were echoed by a senior officer and confidant of Rasanga who revealed that the governor had initially entertained such thoughts at the start of last year but the idea was never given much priority. According to the officer who requested anonymity, the move was touted as an avenue for the governor to maneuver to the cabinet minister position going by the earlier indications that ministers would only be appointed from among members of the national assembly. But under the recently launched BBI, cabinet ministers may be appointed from among members of the national assembly, meaning cabinet could comprise MPs and non-MPs alike.“The governor is keen on forming part of the cabinet in the next government but after realising that it can be possible for non-MPs, he no longer focuses his energy on the parliamentary position,” he added.
Previously, besieged Atandi had furiously accused the governor of raiding his political base by presiding over secret nocturnal clan meetings to malign the MP’s leadership. Atandi was irked with revelations that Rasanga had kicked off early campaigns to unseat him through suspicious meetings dominated by sharp criticisms of his leadership.
The MP at that time pointed that it was unwise and foolish for an elected governor to hold clan meetings yet he has the mandate of the entire county. But the governor loudly wondered why the MP was not comfortable with him meeting members of his clan, adding that Atandi is a clueless leader who should seek prayers.
“I am above political adolescents like Atandi. Let him deliver and stop dragging me into his failures as an MP,’’ Rasanga bragged. Observers are quick to point that despite the fact that Atandi had disappointed voters, they are not ready for Rasanga who has been badly tainted by corruption allegations. Others opine that his entrance is likely to threaten the relationship between him and one Martin Otieno aka Mijesh, his perceived confidant also said to be in the race to unseat Atandi. Also in the wings are Omondi Mulwan, Jacqueline Oduol, Usonga MCA Sylvester Madialo, and former Embakasi East MP John Ogutu, among others.
Going by the voting trend in the constituency, pundits are in chorus that Mijesh has an advantage over his competitors, based on his development track record, and given the fact that he is the fresh political blood among the players. Also being factored in are fears that Rasanga may not have ample time to serve as an MP, with knowledge that he is a target of anti-graft agencies that are likely to strike anytime while he still enjoys the comfort of his office. This can boil down to a scenario similar to that which befell Sirisia MP John Waluke who was sentenced for allegedly defrauding the National Cereals and Produce Board a staggering Sh313 million.
The matter is in court. As for Rasanga, there are reports of series of corruption claims that may likely haunt him at a later stage. At one point, it emerged that the Director of Public Prosecution had approved his prosecution after he was accused of embezzling public funds. The governor was accused of using taxpayers’ money to purchase plane tickets for his family members in the course of three years term in office. In an exclusive report forwarded to the DPP, Rasanga is among county government officers set for prosecution in the award of tenders worth millions of shillings, warranting arrest and abuse of office.