SUPREMACY BATTLE

Kalonzo beats Kibwana in by-election to reaffirm grip on Ukambani politics

Wiper’s Munguti beats Muungano’s party candidate Kioko in Kitise/Kithuki ward.

In Summary

• Munguti garnered 3,892 votes with Kioko coming a distant second with 878 votes in the poll that was seen as a contest between Kalonzo and Kibwana.

• Kalonzo's grip on the Ukambani politics has been under threat from the three governors from the region and Thursday’s mini-poll was touted as a supremacy contest.

Makueni Governor Kivutha Kibwana and Wiper Party leader Kalonzo Musyoka confer during Wiper Party members meeting at Panari Hotel in Nairobi on January 17, 2018.
Makueni Governor Kivutha Kibwana and Wiper Party leader Kalonzo Musyoka confer during Wiper Party members meeting at Panari Hotel in Nairobi on January 17, 2018.
Image: JACK OWUOR

Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka has put his foot down as the man to beat in Ukambani politics after his party easily retained Kitise/Kithuki ward seat.

Wiper’s Sebastian Munguti beat Governor Kivutha Kibwana’s Muungano’s party candidate Joseph Kioko and five other competitors in the by-election held on Thursday.

Munguti garnered 3,892 votes with Kioko coming a distant second with 878 votes in the poll that was seen as a contest between Kalonzo and Kibwana.

Paul Mwalali got 370, Francis Katana 119, Stephen Mutiso 19 and Daniel Mbwika got five votes.

The seat fell vacant following the resignation of Kelvin Mutuku in November last year.

Kalonzo's grip on the Ukambani politics has been under threat from the three governors from the region and Thursday’s mini-poll was touted as a supremacy contest.

Makueni Woman representative Rose Museo attested that the Wiper party candidate’s victory win cements Wiper Party and its leader’s popularity in the Ukambani region.

Kibwana, his Machakos and Kitui counterparts Alfred Mutua and Charity Ngilu have been angling to dislodge the former vice president as the region’s political supremo.

In addition, influential foot soldiers – former senators Johnstone Muthama (Machakos) and David Musila (Kitui) have fallen out with him.

Muthama has teamed up with Deputy President William Ruto and is his key point man in the region to deflate Kalonzo’s influence.

Apart from Ngilu, the other two have declared their interest in the presidency and have been attacking Kalonzo, who harbours similar ambitions, portraying him as a weak and untrustworthy leader.

Kalonzo served as vice president between 2007 and 2013. Besides he has served as Mwingi North MP and Minister for several years.

In 2007, he ran for President and lost to retired President Mwai Kibaki who appointed him vice president.

“Let him stop wasting our time. He should in fact apologize to the Kamba community. All that time he says he has led us there is no leadership there. He should stand before Kambas and say sorry. All those years as Moi’s and Kibaki’s minister I did not help you.” Kibwana had said in February last year.

Kibwana has also been oscillating around the DP but his recent meeting with ODM leader Raila Odinga triggered talks the former Prime Minister was plotting to anchor him as Ukambani point man as he crafts a new alliance for 2022.

Recently, Kalonzo was engrossed in a public spat with Raila after the AU special envoy declared he would not support any of the Nasa principals for president.

Kalonzo, ANC’s Musalia Mudavadi, Ford Kenya’s Moses Wetangula and Kanu’s Gideon Moi are reportedly working on an alliance to take on Raila and Ruto in 2022.

The former vice president was Raila's presidential running mate in both the 2013 and 2017 General Elections.