Western Politics: Top 3 Hotly Contested Gubernatorial Seats

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By Paul Mukana

All eyes are set on August 9th polls as Kenyans eagerly await yet another chance of electing their leaders.

Out of the 5 western counties, 3 will be electing new governors (Kakamega, Transnzoia and Busia) because the respective governors are completing their two terms.

Only Bungoma and Vihiga will have the incumbent governors battling it out to defend their seats since they have only served one term.

Bungoma’s gubernatorial showdown will be a recalibrated political meltdown for incumbent governor Wicliffe Wangamati of DAP-K party.

Wangamati faces a turbulence opposition from former governor Kenneth Lusaka who is hot on his heels for a possible come back to the Bungoma county political space.

Therefore, a simmering bone of contention awaits Bungoma county voters.

Zachariah Barasa will be vying on an independent ticket and he can’t be overlooked since he commands a marauding horde of supporters.

Transnzoia county is bracing itself to usher in a new governor because Patrick Khaemba is finishing his second term.

The race to succeed Khaemba has been described by political pundits as a real battle of titans.

Kiminini MP Dr.Chris Wamalwa of Ford Kenya party has thrown in his towel and his closest nemesis is former Rift Valley regional commissioner George Natembeya of DAP-K party.

Dr.Wamalwa is being fronted by the Kenya Kwanza’s bureaucrats and Natembeya was recently endorsed by Azimio’s presidential flag bearer Raila Odinga.

Although, analysts have pointed out the tussle as a two horse race bidding Dr.Wamalwa and Natembeya, we have other 3 aspirants who have tightened their grip on the fight to succeed governor Khaemba.

Business oligarchs Dorcas Njenga and Moses Khaoya are in it and also UDA party will be fielding Philemon Samoei.

It will be a scramble between technocrats and political moguls as the top coalitions will also be capitalizing on it to lobby for presidential votes .

Another fight of death is being witnessed in Kakamega county as candidates immensely parade up to replace outgoing governor Wicliffe Oparanya.

Senator Cleophas Malala will be vying for the seat through an ANC party ticket under DP Ruto’s Kenya Kwanza coalition.

His fierce rival is former Kenya Electricity Transmission Company (KETRACO) boss Fernandez Barasa of ODM party.

It is Barasa’s first shot on politics but he has been a technocrat for years .

Besides, Barasa is enjoying the full backing force from governor Oparanya and the Azimio’s brigade.

In other, words, the race to succeed Oparanya is undoubtedly a contest between Raila Odinga and William Ruto’s political camps.

Lugari MP Ayub Savula has also unwittingly grappled into the race on a DAP-K party ticket .

So,the atmosphere in Kakamega is definitely raucous as the imperious candidates throw in their banters in spirited attempts to woo voters .

In Vihiga county, governor Wilber Otichilo is being given a run for his money since over 3 candidates are battling with him as he will be trying to defend his seat.

Senator George Khaniri of UDP party and former National Assembly speaker Kenneth Marende of DAP-K party are apparently giving Otichilo sleepless nights.

As the adage goes, politics abhors competition since Sabatia MP Alfred Agoi and former governor Moses Akaranga have both made it clear that they will be vying for the Vihiga gubernatorial seat.

ODM’S Paul Otuoma has been described as the man to watch in the Busia gubernatorial showdown.

However, Otuoma faces steep competition from deputy governor Moses Mulomi of DAP-K party.

Western is like a trojan horse in the Kenyan election because the total number of registered voters in the 5 counties are a significant figure that can enable a presidential candidate to pull a thunderous trigger.

Thus, as the election date fast approaches,each of the gubernatorial candidates is ostensibly muddling the political spaces available in a vicious battle to test victory.

The western region is known for being home of both small and large scale farmers.

Thus, it is the ultimate food basket of the country.

On top of that,a number of production factories run in the region making its contribution to the country’s social economic development visible.

Hence good leadership in the 5 counties is definitely an advantage to the whole country.

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