SUCCESSION FIGHT

Pressure on Mbadi, Wanga, Kajwang to abandon Homa Bay governor race for Cabinet

Residents believe it will be smooth sailing for Raila if he declares to run for President

In Summary

• Mbadi and Wanga have publicly declared their interest to succeed Governor Cyprian Awiti in 2022

• Former Homa Bay Trade executive Carilus Ademba triggered the debate when he told the trio to pull out of the gubernatorial succession politics.

Homa Bay Governor Cyprian Awiti, his deputy Hamilton Orata, woman rep Gladys Wanga ,Senator Moses Kajwang and former Kasipul MP Oyugi Magwanga during the launch of the BBI signature collection in Homa Bay on November 29,2020
Homa Bay Governor Cyprian Awiti, his deputy Hamilton Orata, woman rep Gladys Wanga ,Senator Moses Kajwang and former Kasipul MP Oyugi Magwanga during the launch of the BBI signature collection in Homa Bay on November 29,2020
Image: ROBERT OMOLLO

Pressure is mounting on Homa Bay MPs who have declared their interest in the gubernatorial seat in 2022 to rescind their stand.

Suba South MP John Mbadi, Woman Rep Gladys Wanga and Senator Moses Kajwang' (Senator) are being asked to  be in the National Assembly after 2022 so that they stand a change to be appointed to the Cabinet, if BBI goes through.

Mbadi, the Minority leader in the National Assembly, is serving his third term, while Wanga and Kajwang' are in their second term.

Mbadi and Wanga have publicly declared their interest to succeed Governor Cyprian Awiti in 2022 and have set the ground rolling with underground campaigns.

The push started after the Building Bridges Initiative report proposed that Cabinet ministers can be appointed among elected MPs.

Former Homa Bay Trade executive Carilus Ademba triggered the debate when he told the trio to pull out of the gubernatorial succession politics.

Ademba said they have higher chances of getting prominent positions in the national government after 2022 elections.

Some residents believe it will be smooth sailing for Raila Odinga if he declares to run for President in 2022 with the support of his handshake partner, President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Political pundit Patrick Agwagra says Mbadi, Kajwang' and Wanga are close allies of Raila and cannot fail to land appointments should ODM form the next government.

“Wanga is the one of the charismatic women in the greater South Nyanza and is capable of becoming a minister. I cannot exempt Mbadi and Kajwang’ from that list,” Ademba said on October 16.

He spoke at the burial of former Karachuonyo ODM chairman Tedly Ogola in Oriang’ village.

Others in the governor race are Deputy Governor Hamilton Orata, former Kasipul MP Oyugi Magwanga, Homa Bay county secretary Isaiah Ogwe, Nairobi businessman Jared Otieno Kiasa, Kuppet secretary general Akelo Misori and Finance executive Nicholas K’Oriko.

Addressing mourners at the burial, Governor Awiti told the leaders to stop early campaigns which may precent them from implementing their pledges.

But during the launch of the BBI signature collection in Homa Bay, Awiti asked senior politicians not to only focus on the governor seat.

Without mentioning names, Awiti appealed to them not to lose an opportunity of being appointed ministers after 2022 election just because they all want the governor seat.

“I know we politicians have different interests but it would be important for senior leaders here in Homa Bay not to chase one bird. Let’s not miss out in ministerial appointments,” Awiti said.  

The governor said he knows some of the elected leaders from the county who can perform well as ministers.

But the politicians are not backing down.

Wanga and Ademba supporters engaged in verbal exchange before police intervened when the latter told the woman rep that she should drop her governorship bid.

Wanga told Ademba he was wrong in advising her on the seat she should hold.

“I tell Ademba that I am not boarding and let him prepare for stiff competition.  I will not change my aspiration for the gubernatorial post,” Wanga said.

He said he will not go home when Awiti's term expires in 2022.

“I cannot be a deputy governor for seven years and go back home. I’m in the gubernatorial race,” Orata said.

Wanga chairs the National Assembly Finance Committee, while Kajwang is in the Senate Public Accounts and Investment Committee which he once serve as the chair.  

Mbadi felt displeased at a funeral in Malela, Ndhiwa, when Kajwang' told him to reconsider his gubernatorial ambitions.

“He (Mbadi) is senior among MPs in Homa Bay. I think he should remain as MP and get appointed as minister for Finance after 2022,” Kajwang' said.

Mbadi is an accountant by profession. But the ODM chairman told Kajwang that his knowledge and experience in politics make him a good governor.

“There is no high office I need again in the National Assembly after serving as a Minority leader. I want to come and work for Homa Bay people on the ground,” Mbadi said, telling Kajwang to remain where he is.

“Continue being a senator because you seem comfortable there,” he said.

But should they succumbed to the pressure, Wanga will seek Rangwe MP, while Kajwang will likely go for Suba North.

It is  not yet known whether the trio will heed to the calls as there is speculation former Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero may come back home and run for  governor.