Six horses, two frontrunners for Trans Nzoia boss

Manifestos of the five are still tightly guarded secrets

In Summary

•The all-male aspirants are expected to be cleared by the IEBC, the others are favourites  George Natembeya and Kiminini MP Chris Wamalwa.

•Five contestants from Kenya Kwanza Alliance, Azimio One Kenya Alliance and three Independents jostling for supremacy and copy-pasting each other’s agenda.



Horse 1-Wycliffe Eshiwani


Horse 2-Moses Khaoya


Horse 3-Jim Nduruchi


Horse 4 -Chris Wamalwa


Horse 5-George Natembeya


Horse 6 -Professor Ben Wanjala

The battle to succeed outgoing Trans Nzoia Governor Patrick  Khaemba has attracted six male aspirants.

Former Rift Valley regional commissioner George Natembeya and Kiminini MP Chris Wamalwa are the frontrunners. 

Since they declared their candidature, the five contestants from Kenya Kwanza Alliance, Azimio One Kenya Alliance and three independents are engaged in supremacy wars. They also copy-paste each other's agendas.

Run away corruption, insecurity, rising poverty levels, nepotism and tribalism are issues many residents say should be addressed by the five to earn their trust on August 9.

To date, the manifestos of the five are still tightly guarded secrets, making it impossible to differentiate among 'new monkeys in new forests'.  


Senator Wamalwa, after being endorsed by the Kenya Kwanza Alliance, is seeking to succeed outgoing Governor Khaemba for whom he vigorously campaigned for in 2013 and 2017.

Senator Chris Wamalwa.
FRONT RUNNER: Senator Chris Wamalwa.
Image: FILE:

Wamalwa has been enjoying the support of the Sabaot community after indicating he would pick Saboti MCA David Kapoloman as running mate. He, however, has a difficult task of convincing the community to support him after changing tack and picking a Nandi for running mate.

His hopes of getting votes from the second largest ethnic bloc after the Bukusu are not entirely lost since Deputy President William Ruto, who is seeking the Presidency, is viewed as the kingpin of the Myoot Council representing the Sabaots.

Preparations are in top gear for the coronation of DP  Ruto as the Rift Valley kingpin by the Kalenjin Myoot Council of Elders, setting the stage for a fight with his political nemesis Baringo Senator Gideon Moi.

The Council, which is instrumental in major decisions by the community's leadership, is burning the midnight oil to convince the Sabaots to not only vote for Ruto but also Wamalwa and all Kenya Kwanza aspirants.


The second, former Rift Valley regional commissioner George Natembeya is vying on the Democratic Action Party ( DAP-K), an affiliate of the Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Alliance.

Natembeya is a man who makes hard-hitting headlines as his jurisdiction was marred with controversy, especially from those who felt he would not bow to their demands.

He was at loggerheads with the political class who refused to buy his beliefs that they were behind the violence that rocked the Rift Valley.

Natembeya will be remembered for his fight against female genital mutilation, cattle rustling and perennial ethnic conflicts.

The former tough-talking administrator waged a brave fight to surmount some of the challenges he faced during his tenure.

Politicians in North Rift, among them Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Muromen, will not forget Natembeya whom they accused of 'being in possession of a sharp tongue, making him the most controversial and tough administrator of the time."

Natembeya, 51 was born in Nabeki in the present Endebess constituency. His parents, who were squatters, worked on the African Development Corporation farm.  

He worked as a district Officer in Chebarus and Kaplamai in the present Cherangany subcounty and transferred to other regions. He was promoted as a personal assistant to the  former powerful minister for Internal Security John Michuki who coached him.

He was later  promoted to the rank of a regional commissioner in charge of Rift Valley where he worked until his retirement in December 2021 to run for Trans Nzoia governor.


Jim Nduruchi is a cleric-philanthropist and director of the Rise Up Society, an anti-jigger charity.

He first ran for governor in Bungoma  as an Independent candidate in 2017 and emerged number four.

He moved to Trans Nzoia county where he has through a team of international volunteers helped build houses for the poor and orphanages. He sponsored 13,000 children through various levels of education.

The cleric-turned politician has been involved in the anti-jigger campaign in Machewa, Tulwet. Mowlem, Kimondo  and many other areas in the five sub counties of Trans Nzoia.

The chairman of  independent candidates in the entire North Rift has picked Luke Naibei, a Sabaot, to partner with him as deputy.

“I am an alternative voice and my choice of a Sabaot as my deputy will guarantee me many votes from the region," Nduruchi said.

The major parities have failed to deliver, he said. Independents are needed.

"I am optimistic of beating Chris Wamalwa, George Natembeya, Khaoya and my two other independents hands down and bringing the desired development to Trans Nzoia," he said.

As an independent candidate for governor, Nduruchi says he is fully prepared to defeat opponents in other political parties he calls political conmen.


Businessman Moses Khaoya has disregarded ODM leader Raila Odinga’s announcement that former Rift Valley regional commissioner Natembeya was the Azimio la Umoja One Kenya candidate for Trans Nzoia.

He has picked Nairobi businesswoman Esther Koli as his running mate on the ODM ticket.

Khaoya contested the seat in 2017 as an independent and emerged fourth. He said he has marshalled resources and is ready to confront other aspirants.

“Trans Nzoia requires a development-conscious leader who understands residents’ needs,” Khaoya told the Star in Kitale town

He said his decision to vie, despite Raila's endorsement of Natembeya,  has been backed by members who are the real owners of the party and not Odinga.

"Our county has for the last 10 years lagged behind in development because of poor leadership and a name people believed in. I’m in this race to win and I’m not quitting to support anyone," he said.

Khaoya added, "The ground has spoken and there  is no time to waste in negotiating over what he feels is politically irrelevant.

During  his visit to Trans Nzoia two months ago, Raila attempted to heal the Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition by naming Natembeya as the coalition’s sole candidate.

It appears his efforts have been rejected.

Going into the August 9 polls divided, the Azimio Coalition candidates  risk splitting votes, thereby giving an upper hand to Dr Chris Wamalwa of Kenya Kwanza,

He is backed by Deputy President Ruto who enjoys considerable support as the Kalenjin kingpin.


Professor Ben Wanjala, a doctor of philosophy in weed science, is running for the first time as governor. He previously served as chief officer in charge of Agriculture and later Finance.

He is the flagbearer of the Independent Party.

Professor Wanjala and his running mate Tyson Simiyu Wanyama  are campaigning against tribalism and seek to end corruption and insecurity in Trans Nzoia.

“If elected as governor, I will face key sectors of our economy, starting from commerce and industry, I will revisit the maize milling plant, construct a fertiliser industry to enable commercial activities to thrive," he said.

Wanjala, a Bukusu like Wamalwa, Natembeya, Khaoya and Nduruchi told the Star during an interview that he was spurred by the county's retarded development to run for governor.

The governor hopeful said he was seeking the mandate of the people of Trans Nzoia to reclaim, restore and modernise the county he said is ranked last among the 47 counties,

“My decision to contest the governorship was not a random one but it was a decision I reached after wide consultation with the  people  of Trans Nzoia.


Wycliffe Eshiwani is an independent candidate running for the first time as governor.

Wycliffe Eshiawani
IN THE RUNNING: Wycliffe Eshiawani
Image: FILE

He studied at the University of Nairobi and graduated with a bachelor's degree in urban Health Policy and Research.

Eshiwani has lived and studied in the United States where he graduated in Engineering, IT Planning and Governance.

He is the patron of the EFoundation.Org.

He has not yet named his running mate.

Among the issues shaping up the campaigns are underdevelopment, unemployment, rampant poverty, unfulfilled projects. among them the maize milling factory that would have led to value addition .

The battle between Azimio la Umoja and Kenya Kwanza, the aspirants’ performance record and community voting blocs will play a crucial role in the vote hunt.

The county is dominated by the Luhya community and the Kalenjin though it is cosmopolitan and shows the face of Kenya.

(Edited by V. Graham)

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