- Machogu is the younger of the two and his fight for governor is seen as challenging the hegemony of political behemoth Ongeri.
- Senator Ongeri joins the race with what his supporters tout as huge political experience dating from the days of the Moi government.
What is in age? To many people it is just a number but in politics it is a factor that may shape succession debates.
In Kisii, rivalry is already brewing between Nyaribari Masaba MP Ezekiel Machogu and Senator Sam Ongeri, both who have declared interest in the gubernatorial seat.
Machogu is the younger of the two and his fight for governor is seen as challenging the hegemony of political behemoth Ongeri who has straddled the region's politics like a colossus.
The duo is already mobilising their supporters as the county gears up to the 2022 polls.
They are home-mates from Gesusu and are related, Ongeri being Machogu's grandfather.
Those who support Machogu consider him as young and energetic to lead the the Nyaribari people - Chache and Masaba - to fight for the seat.
Senator Ongeri joins the race with what his supporters tout as huge political experience dating from the days of the Moi government. His other advantage, his supporters say, is the string of key development projects he has initiated over the years.
Elders supporting the senator's bid told the Star Ongeri has larger political ground to stand on compared to Machogu, a one-time district commissioner who has won an elective seat only once.
"We endorsed him on account of that record," said George Opiyo, who led about 300 residents to back the senator to go for the seat. Opiyo said their endorsement was informed by his development record.
At 82, the pro-Ongeri elders believe the senator still has political vim left to see him through to the top county seat.
Machogu, Ongeri's supporters opined, lacks the experience and mettle required to succeed Governor James Ongwae who is expected to vie for senator in 2022.
However, Machogu quickly told the senator off, saying he had sent the elders to slight him.
He said no amount of cajoling would change his mind in going for the seat.
"You cannot mobilise a few elders, give them water and pay them a few shillings and task them to ask me not to run for governorship. I have already made up my mind that I am in this race to the end," the MP told the Star on the phone.
Speaking in Masimba on Sunday, Machogu stuck to his guns adding that he would stop at nothing. He said he would be the compromise candidate among those vying for the seat from the larger Nyaribari.
"I have held meetings with with some of them and I am happy they have agreed to support me for the job," said the former administrator.
Machogu says it is time Ongeri retired from active politics on account of his age and give room to younger politicians..
Elders supporting Machogu's bid told Ongeri to quit active politics, citing his advanced age.
"As elders, we have no ground to attack the senator but praise him for what he has done for constituency and the larger Gusii region in general. But as a people who have grown old ourselves we know Ongeri's current age cannot give him the requisite mental vigour to be governor," George Kengere said at a press conference at Kiogoro in Nyaribari Chache.
A similar press conference by elders was held at Nyamasibi where the elders from Masaba also told Ongeri to drop his bid.
The two leaders have separately met MCAs in their homes to woo them.
Machogu has met the MCAs twice while Ongeri did it once in his Borabu home in Nyamira county.
Some ward reps have since come out to say Ongeri did not ask for their support when he met them on Wednesday last week.
"Yes, we paid him a visit after an invitation but we never came close to discussing anything about his candidature in the forthcoming polls," Kiogoro MCA Samuel Apoko said.
Nyaribari people say it is their time to lead at the county headquarters and they expect the Kitutu people from which Ongwae comes to reciprocate.
Kitutu Chache South MP Richard Onyonka, Dagoreti South MP Simba Arati, former South Mugirango MPs Manson Nyamweya and Omingo Magara and deputy governor Joash Maangi are also in the race.
Edited by Henry Makori