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Opinion Poll: Wafula Wakoli, Mwambu Mabonga favorite candidates to clinch the Bungoma senatorial by election

According to the poll, Mr Wakoli, the former Personal Assistant to Mr Wetang’ula, would be elected as the second senator of Bungoma with 891 votes (42.09per cent).

By Micah Sali, Bungoma

The contest for the Bungoma Senatorial by election has narrowed down to three main contestants going by the latest opinion polls.

They are David Wafula Wakoli (Ford Kenya), Mwambu Mabonga (UDA) and Wafula Wamunyinyi (Azimio la Umoja).

The candidates are seeking to replace Moses Wetang’ula who after election in the August polls, he went on to become the National Assembly Speaker.

List of Bungoma senatorial candidates

If election was to be held today, then Mr Wafula Wakoli will be elected as the next senator of Bungoma County, if the recent opinion poll is anything to go by.

The poll was conducted between October 25 – November 25 this year by the County Splash, an online news agency and research firm.

National Assembly Speaker and former Bungoma Senator - Moses Wetang'ula

The targeted sample size was 2,500 people but 2,117 respondents across the county participated in the poll. The margin of error was -1 and +1. The study was conducted through telephone interviews, face-to-face interviews and filling of questionnaires.

The study focused on the reasons the respondents preferred a particular candidate while at the same time, their second-best alternative candidate if their choice is not on the ballot.

According to the poll, Mr Wakoli, the former Personal Assistant to Mr Wetang’ula, would be elected as the second senator of Bungoma with 891 votes (42.09per cent).

 Former Bumula MP Mwambu Mabonga would be the second with 427 votes (20.17per cent and former Kanduyi MP Wafula Wamunyinyi will emerge a distant third with 156 votes (7.37 per cent).

Aaron Wafula of Republican Liberty Party (RLP) will be at the fourth position with 143 votes (6.76 per cent), followed by Fredrick Busolo Simiyu of Vibrant Democratic Party (VDP) with 115 votes (5.43 per cent), Robert Sifuna of Roots Party of Kenya (RPK) will be position six with 67 votes (3.17 per cent) and Geoffrey Barazah Wanyonyi (NOPEU-P)  will emerge position seven with 39 votes (1.84 per cent).

Others are Elias Sikulu Barasa (People’s Empowerment Party) will get 31 votes to be position eight, Enock Opara Makokha (Independent) got 29 votes (1.37 per cent) to be position nine, Raidon Wekesa (Independent) got 7 votes (0.33 per cent) to be at the tenth position while Julius Masinde (Independent) got 5 votes (0.24 per cent) to be position eleven. The number of undecided voters was 207 votes which represented 9.78 per cent of the total respondents.  


Why Wafula Wakoli ahead

Wafula Wakoli’s nomination as Ford Kenya candidate for the forthcoming senatorial was a reward by Wetang’ula for the work he has done for the party in the last ten years.

Before Mwambu who wanted to contest on the lion party switched to UDA, there is a feeling within the Ford Kenya circles that the seat must be taken by a person loyal to Wetang’ula to maintain its political strength. Wetang’ula is keen to work with young but faithful foot soldiers within the party.

Wafula Wakoli

Mwambu has not been forgiven by Ford Kenya supporters for ganging up with Webuye MP Dan Wanyama, Sirisia MP John Waluke to humiliate Mr Wetang’ula in the Kabuchai by election last year. Majimbo Kalasinga won the seat.

 Kimilili MP Didmus Barasa who was part of the UDA brigade drumming up support for UDA candidate Evans Kakai has changed tact and now is supporting Mr Wakoli. 

Mr Barasa has declared support for Wakoli saying that Mwambu and Wamunyinyi are rejects at constituency level and lack the muscle to control the county politics.

Bungoma has 9 constituencies. Out of the 10 MPs including area Woman MP Catherine Wambilianga, two are supporting Mwambu while the rest have openly campaigned for Wakoli.

Wamunyinyi is being supported by former CS for Defence, Eugene Wamalwa and the Azimio la Umoja brigade in the county. The decision of former Bungoma governor Wycliffe Wangamati to support Mwambu Mabonga has been a blessing in disguise for Wakoli since the current Governor Ken Lusaka has totally thrown his weight behind him.

Other notable politicians who have recently joined the Ford Kenya bandwagon in support of Wakoli include former Kanduyi MP Alfred Khang’ati and former Deputy Governor Charles Ngome who defected from Azimio la Umoja coalition to support Wakoli. The two are warming up for appointments from the Lusaka’s government.

 Other candidates who might have complicated the campaign for Wakoli but have withdrawn their candidature include ODM politician Moses Nandalwe and businessman man Lendrix Waswa.

Moses Mwambu Mabonga

Mwambu has had lukewarm relationship with Wetang’ula, a move that has caused him much pain his political career.

In the 2013 Bungoma senatorial by election, he campaigned for former Webuye MP Musikari Kombo who was the New Ford Kenya candidate. Wetang’ula won the by election.

Former Bumula MP Mwambu Mabonga

Mwambu was later appointed as the political advisor of former Trans Nzoia Governor Patrick Khaemba.He joined Ford Kenya before 2017 but was defeated at disputed Ford Kenya party primaries by the current Bumula MP Jack Wamboka.He stood his ground, registered as an Independent candidate and won the election.

He collaborated with the Jubilee government and later on joined the UDA wing and lost the seat in 2022.Ford Kenya insiders claim he is working with the enemies of the party to weaken it. 

“Anybody working with Wangamati and Wamalwa who have constantly tried to destroy Wetang’ula’s career will not be tolerated, ” said Joseph Mafura, a Ford Kenya official.

His father hails from Namwela in Sirisia but migrated and settled at Tongaren. Part of the family members are settled in Bumula constituency. Mwambu would have benefitted from support of Sirisia MP John Waluke’s connection to get more support in Sirisia.Waluke’s maternal parents are Bamusomi,Mwambu’s  clan.

Wafula Wamunyinyi

Wamunyinyi who has been an MP for over 15 years should be ready to overcome a combined  resistance from the sitting MP John Makali,former MP Alfred Khang’ati, Wakoli and the 5 sitting MCA’s who are all supporting Wakoli in Kanduyi constituency before  going out to the 9 constituencies where he  has pockets of supporters unlike Mwambu who is banking on Tongaren and Sirisia constituencies to support him.

Ford K sitting MPs led by the Woman MP Catherine Wambilianga have claimed that the Senatorial seat cannot be handed over to another party.

“This is our only seat at the Senate and we cannot be all that foolish to donate it to strangers, “said the woman MP at a rally in Webuye West.

 Wambilianga who is the county Ford Kenya chairman said that losing the seat will weaken the party nationally. 

Former Kanduyi MP Wafula Wamunyinyi

 Kanduyi MP John Makali, Tongaren MP Murumba Chikati,Kabuchai MP Majimbo Kalasinga,Webuye East MP Martin Pepela  who are all in Ford Kenya are backing Wakoli. ” We cannot weaken our party leader nationally by backing people who were rejected by their supporters recently,” said Kalasinga at a rally in Kimilili. 

Philip Wanyonyi of Citizens for Good Governance claimed that division in the Azimio LA Umoja camp has already given Ford Kenya candidate an upper hand in the December 8 Senatorial by election.

“The two would have combined their forces to give the Ford Kenya candidate a run for his money,” Wanyonyi said both Azimio LA Umoja and UDA supporters would have fronted a single candidate to face Wakoli.

Wanyonyi added: “To defeat Wetang’ula in this world you need strategy and resources. The speaker has 9 lives like that of a cat especially when you try to break his bedroom. You should be bulletproof,

Ken Lusaka and Moses Wetang'ula

He said that Ford Kenya had formed a strong structured campaign unlike the other parties.”Wakoli enjoys  support from 9 MPs,over 40 sitting MCAs and opinion leaders expecting jobs from the national Assembly speaker and the Governor,” 

  He said that the Ford Kenya brigade at the moment is more structured and oiled.”Wetang’ula and Lusaka will not take this campaign lightly as it will be an acid test for their future in regional and national politics,”

Wanyonyi said that for Mwambu and Wamunyinyi to gain ground, they should concentrate on faulting Wakoli instead of attacking Wetang’ula and Lusaka as if they are in the competition. ” Attacking Wetang’ula and Lusaka will be their greatest undoing.



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