In 2013 General Election, Mr. David Musila, the Wiper Chairman easily beat Ms. Kaluki Ngilu – who openly supported the Jubilee Coalition – for the Kitui County Senatorial seat on a Wiper ticket. The Wiper party also endorsed Nyiva Mwendwa for Women Rep seat and a little known Dr. Julius Malombe as its gubernatorial aspirant – both easily won the contests. The trio rode the ‘Tuko na Kalonzo’ fame and Wiper platform to win the county’s top positions.
But things have since changed with the Wiper chairman realizing the unprecedented powers of the Governor seat he had ignored in 2013, and Ngilu parting ways with the ruling Jubilee Coalition. Although within unclear circumstances it is rumored that the former Lands CS is probably never going back again despite delivering a few thousand votes for Jubilee in the 2013 General Elections.
Ms. Ngilu has come back to her home county gunning for the gubernatorial seat in 2017. She appears a changed person, dropping her hands-off approach on Hon. Kalonzo Musyoka she had employed in the 2013 campaigns – the undisputed leader of the region.
She has traversed literally every ward in the county attracting massive crowds while admonishing the Jubilee administration and the incumbent governor, terming them as incompetent and untrustworthy, and in the process wooing support for her gubernatorial bid. She is now warming up to Kalonzo to ensure she remains relevant in the region.
Mr. Musila, after ignoring the gubernatorial seat in 2013 which he would have easily secured, has launched his bid for the seat in 2017. His departure from the senatorial race leaves the seat to jokers like Elijah Kilonzi (Ikonge Mwa) – a fulltime comedian in social media groups focusing on politics in the region.
Although Mr. Musila looks to have secured the ‘Mwingi Block’ – a term used to denote that the Mwingi people never splits its vote – Mr. Musila faces a daunting task in convincing the Kitui people that his aging and continuously failing body will not be an issue at all. Mr. Musila, who is 73 years old, has been described by Dr. Malombe as too old to be elected – and therefore should retire from active politics. He is also continuously accused of grabbing public land in Kitui town in which he constructed his multi-million shilling mall – Muli Mall.
Dr. Julius Malombe, the incumbent governor, on the other hand, says Ngilu and Musila are not his match. While he has the MCAs in his pockets courtesy of handouts derived from county government funds, he lacks public support in his bid for re-election in 2017.
His unwarranted and misogynistic public attack on his Deputy Governor Ms. Peninnah Malonza has not helped the situation. He is described by his close aides as a non-apologetic, misogynistic, chauvinistic, self-serving individual who does little to curb the persistent corruption in his government.
Outsiders point a blaming finger to the allegations that his Deputy Governor has decamped to Mr. Musila’s camp as a sign that he cannot effectively lead the county, or even provide leadership in his own house.
Political analysts in the region claim that the traditional political landscape in the region where the holder of the Wiper ticket was guaranteed a win has since changed.
It is expected that the voters will be more focused on the abilities of the leaders, and not their party – although allegiance to Kalonzo Musyoka is expected to play a definitive role.
Therefore, if both Ms. Ngilu and Mr. Malombe defect after Wiper hands out its ticket to its chairman, Mr. Musila, but both remain in support of Mr. Kalonzo in their campaigns, the gubernatorial race is expected to be a close race.
In such a scenario, and assuming that Ms. Peninnah Malonza, who comes from Kitui South, decamps to Musila’s camp, Kitui’s divided vote between Mr. Malombe and Ms. Ngilu will likely hand the victory to Mr. Musila.
He will be expected to garner the ‘Mwingi Block’ and Kitui South’s vote while the other two candidates share the votes of the other Kitui constituencies.
Undoubtedly, the allure of the unified ‘Mwingi Block’ and the more than assured Wiper ticket remains Mr. Musila’s biggest asset.
On the other hand, Ms. Ngilu’s tag as a ‘performer’ puts her ahead of the others in terms of public appeal, while the fact that Dr. Malombe is the incumbent provides him with county resources and networks (read MCAs) that can possibly deliver him reelection.