Parties draw battle lines for Kabuchai, Matungu contest

Tuesday, January 5th, 2021 00:00 |
Justus Murunga’s second widow Christabel Murunga giving a tribute to her husband at St Stephen’s Church, Nairobi.

Dennis Lumiti  and Yusuf Masibo

Contests for the vacant Matungu and Kabuchai parliamentary seats in Western Kenya are gaining momentum with various parties angling to to field candidates ahead of the by-elections set for March this year.

Yesterday, Ford Kenya announced that it will hold unveil its candidate for the for the Kabuchai parliamentary seat today ahead of the by-election slated for March 4 even as the Amani National Congress (ANC) called off its campaigns for the Matungu seat in honour of the late Hannah Mudavadi, mother to its leader Musalia Mudavadi.  

The race for the Kabuchai seat, People Daily learnt pits seasoned politician Majimbo Kalasinga, an ally of Bungoma senator Moses Wetangula against former Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) director, Evans Kakai. He is running on an Independent ticket.

Ford Kenya and the ANC have struck a gentleman’s agreement not to compete against each other for the two parliamentary seats.

Nomination exercise

According to Ford Kenya organising secretary Chris Mandu Mandu, the nomination exercise will be conducted using the delegates system at Musese CDF offices.

‘’We are yet to agree on the system of voting but most likely we shall use the delegates system,’’ said Mandu in Bungoma yesterday.

In Matungu, intrigues continued to shroud the race ahead of the by-election slated for March 21.

Underground lobbying continues with the ANC candidate Peter Nabulindo holding closed-door consultative meetings with residents and leaders. Nabulindo had been the most visible on the ground after being handed the ticket unopposed.

The move has however, reportedly, caused jitters among the supporters of the immediate former MP Justus Murunga as Nabulindo was his fervent opponent and critic.

The game-plan of ODM and Jubilee remains unclear but some local leaders allied to the two formations said they were holding consultations on way forward.

“As Jubilee we will hold a meeting this week to decide on the way forward because we know we have a chance in Matungu but we must consult so as to succeed,” said the party’s County Chairman Moses Lumiti.

He added; “We are well aware that there is a hue and cry among the supporters of the late MP who feel ANC should have held nominations instead of handing a direct ticket to Nabulindo. This could work in our favour.”

A former teacher Raphael Welimo has meanwhile declared himself the Jubilee candidate in the constituency.

He claimed he had the blessings of the party headquarters and Deputy President William Ruto.

But Lumiti, a close ally of Welimo, was non-committal when contacted, only saying the party position will be known after their meeting.

Jubilee is reportedly torn between fronting a candidate directly or using the newly-formed United Democratic Alliance as their vehicle in the by-election. UDA is associated with the DP.

The widow of the late MP Christabel Murunga, is also being mentioned and may be UDA’s candidate. The widow has been very vocal and active in the constituency since the passing of her husband. 

She even held a public meeting in the constituency on Saturday although she did not go open about her intentions. On their part, ODM said they were still consulting but dismissed reports that they had already handed a direct ticket to former area MP David Were.

“We have so many people who have shown interest in our party ticket. We are assessing the situation and will make a decision very soon,” said the party’s County Chairman Prof Philip Kutima, who is also the Kakamega Deputy Governor.

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