THREE CONTENDERS

Familiar foes in rematch for Kanduyi MP seat

Opinion polls by different pollsters have put Makali and Khang'ati ahead of Wamunyinyi.

In Summary

• Incumbent MP Wafula Wamunyinyi (DAP-K), lawyer John Makali of Ford Kenya and former MP Alfred Khang'ati of ODM are expected to be on the ballot.

• Political observers say the Kanduyi parliamentary seat will attract a lot of interest as the constituency is the epicentre of Bungoma politics.

Lawyer John Makali inTuuti Marakaru
Lawyer John Makali inTuuti Marakaru
Image: JOHN NALIANYA
Kanduyi constituency politics shapes Bungoma county politics in general. It is where it all begins.
Political commentator Isaac Wanjekeche

The Kanduyi MP race has attracted three familiar political rivals who will be competing against each other in a rematch.

Incumbent MP Wafula Wamunyinyi (DAP-K), lawyer John Makali of Ford Kenya and former MP Alfred Khang'ati of ODM are expected to be on the ballot.

Wamunyinyi was first elected area MP in 1997. He won a second term in 2002. In the 2007 election, he lost to Khang'ati. 

In 2013, Khang'ati took a stab at the governor's seat but lost. Meanwhile, Wamunyinyi recaptured the MP seat.

In 2017, Khang'ati returned to seek the MP seat but lost. In the election, Makali narrowly lost to Wamunyinyi.

Political observers say the Kanduyi parliamentary seat will attract a lot of interest as the constituency is the epicentre of Bungoma politics. The constituency hosts Bungoma town.

"Kanduyi constituency politics shapes Bungoma county politics in general. It is where it all begins," political commentator Isaac Wanjekeche said.

He said on one hand Wamunyinyi will be trying to prove he is a man of his own and has not been surviving in politics courtesy of Ford Kenya leader Moses Wetang'ula.

Wamunyinyi abandoned Ford Kenya and joined DAP-K late last year after he fell out with Wetang'ula.

The two were involved in a protracted battle for control of Ford-K.

Wanjekeche said on the other hand, Wetang'ula will be seeking to teach Wamunyinyi a political lesson for "betrayal during the coup attempt".

Wamunyinyi said he has enough experience to run the constituency and has changed the face of many schools.

"Our development record speaks for itself. It will be fatal for Kanduyi people to elect a new person who doesn't understand the needs of residents," the MP said.

His critics, however, accuse him of favouritism in awarding tenders to the CDF and roads committee, a claim he has denied.

Resident Dennis Mukati said for a long time the beneficiaries of the contracts were always the same.

Makali said Kanduyi has stagnated in development for a long time.

"For 20 years, Wamunyinyi has been the MP and he cannot show any tangible development. He has always survived on party euphoria and political patronage," he said.

"We come with the promise of fair and transparent opportunities for all." 

Makali said if elected, he will ensure a thorough audit of the CDF accounts books.

Khang'ati said during his tenure he changed the face of the constituency.

"We upgraded slum schools like Mupeli and Mukhaweli," he said.

Opinion polls by different pollsters have put Makali and Khang'ati ahead of Wamunyinyi.

Political commentators have said the pressure for change will be the predominant factor in the Kanduyi election.

"There is a general fatigue among Kanduyi voters, having one person [Wamunyinyi] for 20 years. This could be the greatest undoing of the incumbent," said political commentator Philip Wekesa.

However, he said, stiff competition between Wamunyinyi's opponents could give him an edge.

"There is generally a large percentage opposed to him but he can be lucky if Makali and Khang'ati share the votes at close range," Wekesa said.

But if the range between Makali and Khang'ati will be wide, then Wamunyinyi will most likely lose, he said.

Edited by A.N

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