The results of the just-concluded August 8 general election will no doubt force Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka to go back to the drawing board as he harbours his ambition to be President.
Kalonzo has been considered the political kingpin of Ukambani for years, enjoying an almost fanatical following. But the poll results show he could be losing clout.
Wiper has been the dominant party in Ukambani a significant number of governor, MP and MCA candidates defected before and after party nominations citing favouritism.
The defections, especially in Kalonzo’s home turf of Kitui county, spelt doom for him.
Worse still, the thrashing of Wiper candidates for many parliamentary positions shows the dynamics of the politics in Ukambani could be changing against him.
The loss is a big blow to Kalonzo’s agenda both in Ukambani and in the national spectrum.
One of the embarassing losses was Wiper candidate and Kitui Governor Julius Malombe’s loss to former Lands CS Charity Ngilu.
And as if that was not bad enough, Malombe came in a distant number three. He was beaten by Senator David Musila who resigned as the Wiper chairman and ran as an independent after claiming the party primaries were not free and fair.
Ngilu got 162,768 votes, Musila 108,635 and Malombe 71,900.
Wiper suffered another blow in Machakos county where its governor candidate Wavinya Ndeti was beaten by incumbent Alfred Mutua.
Kalonzo was keen on winning both the Kitui and Machakos seat and attended many of his candidates’ rallies to drum up support for them.
In Machakos, Kalonzo wanted to teach Mutua a lesson after he ‘betrayed’ him by fraternising with President Uhuru Kenyatta instead of toeing the line and backing the opposition.
On Wednesday, Mutua said the battle for Machakos was not between him and Ndeti, but rather him and Kalonzo. “Ndeti was just a pawn in a grander scheme of things,” he said.
Kalonzo’s losses did not end there. A number of his MPs were also shown the door.
The long-serving Kitui rural MP, Charles Nyamai, lost his seat to David Mboni, of the rival, but friendly Chama Cha Uzalendo party.
At the same time, the Wiper party director elections and first-time MP for Kitui East Marcus Maluvi lost his seat to political novice and Jubilee candidate Nimrod Mbai.
Wiper’s MP for Kangundo in Machakos Kyengo Maweu lost the seat to Muungano Party’s Fabian Muli.
A substantial number of Wiper candidates for the ward representative in Kitui, led by the former majority leader Jacob Maundu of Nuu ward, fell by the wayside. Most lost to independent candidates and those from other smaller parties.
Political pundits associate the loss with voters’ disgruntlement with the primaries in April. Many aspirants said they were rigged out in favour of unpopular ones.
The contested nominations threatened to tear the party apart.
Musila accused Kalonzo of having an hand in rigging him out. He said “the loser was declared the winner.”
Musila and Kalonzo hail from Kitui county and their fallout divided supporters.
A chunk of Wiper supporters followed Musila out of the party.
“And the Wiper supporters who did not follow Musila were left disillusioned and started distrusting the party they hitherto held dear. They decided to show their dissatisfaction with the unfair nominations by voting in candidates from other parties,” a political observer said.
Another school of thought has it that some of the Wiper leaders had long fallen out with the electorate and the latter was only waiting for the election to show them the door.
“Some of the leaders who were voted out, despite being Wiper candidates, were never available to the voters since they were elected in 2013. The voters had got fed up with them and would have voted them out regardless of their party allegiance,” an observer said.
Some of the rejected leaders were seen to have failed in their mandate.
Mwingi West MP Bernard Kitumbi, who hardly participated in parliamentary sessions, was voted out.
Others voted out were accused of failing to launch meaningful projects.
On Wednesday evening, Ndeti rejected the preliminary poll results.
“We do not know where they are getting the results from and this is causing a lot of anxiety. We are not accepting the results. I am a computer scientist and those numbers don’t make sense,” Ndeti said.
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