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Intrigues on campaign trail as 20 cleared for Matungu

Friday, January 22nd, 2021 00:00 |
UDA candidate Evans Kakai on the campaign trail in Matungu constituency. Photo/PD/YUSUF MASIBO

Dennis Lumiti

Intrigues and controversies have clouded the Matungu by-election campaigns three days after the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) cleared 20 candidates to contest in the March 4 polls.

The family of the late MP Justus Murunga is embroiled in a domestic feud over who should use their homestead in the constituency for campaigns.

Their wrangle comes after IEBC cleared the former MP’s widow Christabel Jane and her step-son Eugene Ambwere to contest the parliamentary seat as Independent candidates.

Eugene does not own a home in the constituency and has thus been using his father’s residence to conduct campaigns, creating a rift with his step-mother who insists that the home belongs to her.

Their tiff has forced Eugene to operate from a hotel in the constituency.

Eugene has kicked up another controversy after being quoted as saying that he had backed out of the race in favour of United Democratic Alliance’s Alex Wamukoya Lanya only to make an about-turn.

Trouble has also rocked Ford-Kenya after the party declined to allow its long-serving Chairman of Kakamega County Abel Mutimba to contest in the mini-poll.

Mutimba, a former MCA for Kholera ward in the constituency, hosted Bungoma Governor Wycliffe Wangamati and several other party officials opposed to Senator Moses Wetangula at his Mukhweya village home recently where he said he was considering his next political move.

His reaction comes after  Wangamati had advised him to withdraw from the race and wait for 2022 to reclaim his MCA seat.

Wetangula rejected Mutimba’s bid to vie for the seat saying the party had decided not to field a candidate in the by-election and was instead backing the ANC flagbearer Peter Oscar Nabulindo.

Former area MP David Aoko Were, who is seeking to bounce back to the National Assembly through ODM, was forced on Tuesday to host residents to a bash at his Lubanga village home in the constituency after word went round that he was not a local and that he had even “relocated to his ancestral home in Luo-Nyanza.”

His opponents claimed he had carted away all household items from his house in the constituency immediately he lost to Murunga in 2017.

Another former candidate Paul Posho withdrew from the race in favour of the UDA candidate but has declined to join him in campaigns saying his doctor had advised him to take a rest for at least six months.

The collapse of Mumias Sugar Company has returned to haunt Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya and the ODM brigade who are accused of failing to revive it.

“Mumias Sugar Company collapsed when Oparanya was the governor, Were as the MP and even the ODM party leader Raila Odinga who is said to have owed the miller over Sh300 million at the time of its collapse while being headed by Evans Kidero who belongs to their party.

So what will they offer now if not more mess,” posed Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malalah when he led campaigns for Nabulindo.

Oparanya released Sh200 million from the county coffers to help clear debts owed to some of the cane farmers contracted to Mumias but it was allegedly embezzled.

The governor also chaired a Sugar Task Force appointed by the President but the report has not been implemented to date.

“He is whining that the national government has refused to implement the sugar task force report.

What does he do with the numerous trips to State House if he does not ask for action on the report?

Is he part of the cartels that want to acquire the factory and Wanga-land for a song,? posed Butere MP Tindi Mwale.

ANC leader Wycliffe Musalia Mudavadi has joined hands with his Ford-Kenya counterpart Moses Wetangula in a bid to unite the Luhya community and entire Western region and say the Matungu and Kabuchai outcomes will send a strong message to their political nemeses.

“My brother Mudavadi and I have agreed that we shall no more wear soft gloves for our community’s detractors anymore. You are either for the Mulembe nation or against it.

The candidates against us are projects sponsored to break our unity resolve. They will not succeed,” said the Bungoma Senator.

“It is a deliberate statement to the people of Mulembe Nation and Kenya at large that this region is no longer available for political experiment.”

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