LONG-SERVING LAWMAKER

Khaniri hints at going for Vihiga governor's seat in 2022

He was elected for the first time as an MP for Hamisi in 1996 in a by-election to replace his dad at the age of 21 on a KANU party ticket

In Summary

•The lawmaker who has served four terms as MP for Hamisi constituency and two terms as Vihiga senator has said he will not defend his senatorial seat.

•The senator said his biggest secret for his political survival was just being close to his people and delivering quality services.

Vihiga Senator George Khaniri SpeakS to Star at his home in Hamisi
VIHIGA Vihiga Senator George Khaniri SpeakS to Star at his home in Hamisi
Image: MARTIN OMBIMA

Vihiga Senator George Khaniri has hinted at going for the gubernatorial seat in the 2022 General Election.

The lawmaker who has served for four terms as MP for Hamisi and two terms as Vihiga senator has said he will not defend his senatorial seat.

“I am still in discussions with my people and I will give the way forward come late April,” he said.

Khaniri took the leadership button while in college from his late father Nicodemus Khaniri in 1996.

He said the late President Moi picked him to succeed his father as the MP for Hamisi constituency in 1996 in a by-election at the age of 21 on a Kanu ticket.

Khaniri was then to face Ford Kenya candidate John Isiaho who had the backing of the then Ford-K bigwigs led by former Vice President Kijana Wamalwa, James Orengo and Mukhisa Kituyi.

“The late Moi came to campaign for me in the last days of the exercise and that motivated me a lot and gave me hope of winning the seat,” he said.

The lawmaker gave the late Moi credit for his political career, who later appointed him an assistant minister in his government.

However, the senator regrets the fallout with Moi leading to his sacking as an assistant minister.

“Coming to the 2002 General Election when President Moi had imposed Uhuru Kenyatta on us and that was not our choice, factions emerged and Kanu was no more,” he said.

The lawmaker was among the members of Moi’s Cabinet who were sacked after falling out with the head of state’s proposal.

He said a new political umbrella Narc was formed with the likes of Kalonzo Musyoka, Raila Odinga, George Saitoti, Charity Ngilu among others which he used to defend his seat as the Hamisi MP.

The lawmaker used the ODM party in 2007 to defend his Hamisi MP seat up to 2013 when he was elected as the Vihiga senator under the new constitution.

Khaniri served as the Vihiga senator from 2013-2017 elected on the UDF party of Musalia Mudavadi and defended his senatorial seat in 2017 on Amani National Congress party.

“How I have managed to survive on the ballot for the past 26 years is the question that most people are asking,” Khaniri said.

The senator said his biggest secret for his political survival was being close to his people and delivering quality services.

The lawmaker said serving as the MP during that time was a big challenge. He said most of the MPs used harambees for projects within their constituencies.

“There was no Constituency Development Fund kitty by then to help us in doing projects within the constituency. It was just the MP's effort through fundraising,” he said.

Khaniri said Mudavadi, Musikari Kombo, Chris Obure, Uhuru Kenyatta and George Saitoti were the funders in his efforts to build schools, churches and roads within the Hamisi constituency.

Khaniri said despite all those ups and downs as the Hamisi MP, he built 13 schools, one health centre and supplied electricity to the constituency.

Khaniri said BBI will solve the mess the country has been encountering after every election.

“We can’t be shading innocent blood after every General Election. That's unfair. What we need is a free and fair election where our votes count,” he said.

Edited by Kiilu Damaris

Vihiga Senator George Khaniri Speaking to Star at his Home
Vihiga Vihiga Senator George Khaniri Speaking to Star at his Home
Image: Martin Ombima
Vihiga Senator George Khaniri Speaking to Star at his Home
Vihiga Vihiga Senator George Khaniri Speaking to Star at his Home
Image: Martin Ombima