Devolution cabinet secretary CS Eugene Wamalwa descended on his Trans-Nzoia home county in style after a considerable spell of silence; sending a clear and sound message to all and sundry that he is geared up to change from national politics to county leadership.
Borrowing a leaf from William Ruto who consolidates several functions within a weekend or a day, Wamalwa attended several meetings including funerals, attracting attention towards vying for Trans-Nzoia gubernatorial seat in 2022.
Accompanied by his would-be running mate John Meng’wa, Wamalwa canvassed with bodaboda riders at Kagumo Driving School before dispatching them; perhaps to send signals to the residents that he had come back home to take over the “grand office” from Governor Patrick Khaemba upon his retirement in 2022.
As CS Wamalwa was doing this, Kiminini MP Chris Wamalwa who kicked off his gubernatorial campaign immediately after the 2017 polls was deep in the Cherangany hills sharing podium with Christians while raisings funds for their development projects.
Just like CS Wamalwa who had imitated DP Ruto’s tact of doing more than one occasion in a day, the Kiminini legislator was also copying the same having attended two funerals in his constituency and the neighbouring Saboti before concluding with a church function at Kitale’s Mitume Catholic Parish
Saboti MCA David Kabolomon, his preferred mate for the county’s top office, was by his side throughout the functions.
For Kakai Bisau, a two-time gubernatorial contestant in 2013 and 2017 at Khaemba, currently working in the DP’s office, he was learning from his boss by crisscrossing Trans-Nzoia county preparing to unleash his perhaps last arsenal for the seat.
Dismissing as lies and propaganda reports that he had received rude reception at a funeral in MP Wamalwa’s Kiminini home turf, Bissau went ahead to visit several women and youth groups in a style reflective of DP Ruto of clearing business in joint approaches
As for Senator Mike Mbito, the story was not different. The senator had to attend to the launching of a medical solution at the Kitale Nature Conservancy before turning to join support groups of upcoming musicians.
The following day the Jubilee senator drummed up support for several church development programmes. Abraham Singoei, also working in Ruto’s office was busy galvanising support for his gubernatorial quest by travelling from one corner of the county to the other.
Right from Saboti to Cherangany, Kwanza to Kiminini and Endebess to Kitale town, Singoei fresh from sponsoring the North Rift Athletics men and women for the national trials in Nairobi, was also leaning towards Ruto’s way of doing things – not to postpone functions but attend to them within the little given opportunity.
But between Bissau and Singoei both under the tutelage of Ruto, it still remains a mystery as to who will master his boss’ tricks fast as they chase the same office in Trans-Nzoia . Each one says he has entered the race on his own volition and that the DP’s name should not be dragged into their individual politics.
Ruto’s choice of operation is not only confined to gubernatorial politicians but extended to activists from both in the political divide such as Julius Tunduria eyeing MP Joshua Kuttuny’s Cherangany seat.
Before flying out of the country for personal pursuits, Tunduria allied to Jubilee took to the constituency to unearth what he called the treasury that had not been exploited by former area MPs Kipruto arap Kirwa and Wesley Korir.
But what critics of these maneuvers are asking is this: Will DP Ruto’s way of doing things work in Trans-Nzoia? And for how are the local politicians going to sustain Ruto modus operandi without liquid?
What, however, emerged during’s public appearance clear is that CS Wamalwa’s show a determined indication that he was leaving nothing a chance to succeed Governor Khaemba in 2022. His two-day visit sent political shivers across the county.
As things stand, Jubilee seems destined come a cropper and this may force CS Wamalwa to seek for a new political outfit or join hands with Bungoma senator Moses Wetang’ula with the latter’s Ford Kenya party in their newly-found alliance of Luhya unity. But from experience, the Devolution CS might not be comfortable working under Wetang’ula.
Pundits are unable to unravel whether or not this time Wamalwa will sacrifice for the third time to rally behind Bisau or go for it himself with some doubting whether he will alongside his troops decide to form a new political party.
Wamalwa’s first salvo to the opposing camps was witnessed when he took the centrestage of the revived Masinde Muliro anniversary where he shared the table after a long period with political nemesis MP Wamalwa, women rep Janet Nangabo and Khaemba.
For the first time, Noah Wekesa who contested against Khaemba conceded defeat alongside his running mate Mukasa Muliro.
CS Wamalwa had taken time off to reorganise for the Masinde Muliro anniversary after shelving the anniversary of his elder brother Michael Wamalwa Kijana which could have been held almost at the same time. The Wamalwa Kijana anniversaries have since been declared family functions just like Jomo Kenyatta anniversary is to become a private matter as from next year,
Former area MP Kipruto arap Kirwa who announced a comeback to active politics after a lull of nearby 15 years, gave the memorial a wide berth and was reported to be pursuing personal issues in Nairobi.
Kiprono Kittony is the only person not to officially declare but his name is being mentioned left, right and centre in the county. For quite some time now, Nangabo has been absent in the county preferring to visit Western Kenya to drum support for Ruto in his quest for the presidency in 2022.
Senator Mike Mbito could be the only politician assured of security for the seat especially after Kirwa pulled out to go for the Cherangany seat. His other opponents of 2017 Catherine Mukite and Henry Ole Ndiema are disadvantaged because of old age while former Trans Nzoia county assembly Speaker David Sifuna has relocated to Narok submerged in his law firm business.
The decision by MP Wamalwa to retire from Kiminini has opened a Pandora’s box with new names such as Emmanuel Wanjala and Anita Wakoli emerging to fill the gap. The area MCA David Kisaka is also lined up to succeed MP Wamalwa who himself is yet to suggest anyone as his successor. FK party is still the party to watch.
In Endebess where the area MP Robert Pukose was thought to be a pushover, things are gradually taking new shape with most of his opponents losing grassrootS support. The seat could either be won by Bukusu or a Sabaot, depending on the choice of a political party with dominance in the area.
MP Caleb Amisi is spending sleepless nights agonising on how he will defend his Saboti seat with FK also split between Joseph Pepela and William Nangulu to back against the incumbent allied to ODM. With the imminent split of Jubilee, the Sabaots will have to shop for a new party if their influence is yet to be felt but one Rodgers Bokose is being relied on to deliver the seat to the community.
In Kwanza, legislator Ferdinand Wanyonyi is surrounded by youthful politicians who have pledged to usher in the area transformative leadership. Starting from county minority leader Emmanuel Waswa to one Moses Lupao to Nick Biketi and Allan Chesang, the group except for Chesang, facing criminal allegations is out to send Wanyonyi home.
But Wanyonyi having been elected the Trans-Nzoia FK county chairman means he could be the definite FK nominee and as the popular party in the area, his opponents should watch out.