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OPINION: Musangi on her own as Ukambani Governors dream bigger

Kitui governor Charity Ngilu (Right) with her colleague governors Hassan Joho (Mombasa) & Ann Waiguru (Kirinyaga) during the Embrace outfit meeting at Mombasa on Saturday. PHOTO|COURTESY.


Ukambani politics is undergoing major re-engineering. Two governors have expressed their presidential ambitions. One is ruling with minority. Residents are disappointed by the top leadership in most of their counties.

When Governors Kivutha Kibwana and Alfred Mutua declared their quest for presidency in 2022, this automatically brought the question of if they can marshal the required numbers to form the next government.

From grace to grass

Historically, the only Ukambani politician who has ever gotten closest to presidency is Kalonzo Musyoka.
The man from Tseikuru didn’t clinch the coveted seat but served under Kibaki as a VP. But as fate would have it, his fall from grace to grass can only be compared to the Icarus tale of going to the moon with wings that melt as they neared the sun.

Back to my story. Having concluded the census exercise peacefully, the results will be declared soon and people will rearrange themselves according to numbers. I don’t think either Kibwana or Mutua can give a good fight for a serious presidential race.
Mutua launched his race claiming he is popular outside the tri-ukambani counties. He also tried to mudsling Musyoka indirectly claiming that it is his time. Then what? So what?

Granted, the communications expert has developed Machakos in some sense via the Maendeleo Chap Chap but he could be biting more than he can chew. Having ditched Wiper which he used to clinch the gubernatorial seat in 2013 for 2017 and crafting his own political vehicle, Mutua sent a clear warning to his detractors that he can do without them. But for how long?

Meritless political mudslinging

Kibwana seems to have the most solid record of performance among the three Ukambani governors. He has transformed Makueni and all other 46 counties benchmark against the best. The good professor is doing his last term and he should give his best. But that does not mean he is the best bet from the region. He is better suited for international consultancy and law scholarship and not the meritless mudslinging politics that define Kenya’s presidential race. Mediocrity and lies win more votes than a shining CV and a polished mind.

As for Ngilu, it was very distasteful going to Embrace Coast Tour yet her own county health is in tatters and health workers are demoralized over strikes. The residents have to go to neighbouring counties for the services available at home.

It will be a long wait in the remaining years but one thing is sure. A lot of work must be done for counties that like the rest face shutdown and little funding from Treasury. The wananchi plight is clearly eclipsed by politicians’ ambitions to dream bigger at the Musangi’s cost.

Musyoka Ngui is a Journalist, Blogger and Editor
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