Governor Khaemba makes cabinet changes as Trans Nzoia’s 2022 politics get complex

Governor Patrick Khaemba

The DAP (K) associated with Defence CS Eugene Wamalwa is currently involved in registering members and has so far recruited close to 50,000members in Trans Nzoia County alone before the official launch of the party at the end of the year

By Sirengo Namasaka

Nearly nine months to the 2022 General Election, Trans Nzoia County Governor Patrick Khaemba made a reshuffle in his Cabinet in a move that could catapult and have a bearing in next year’s outcome in the polls in the county.

Even as Khaemba made the changes for some of his CEC members, the major two local political parties – Ford Kenya FK and The united Democratic Alliance UDA- were engaged separately in Nairobi and took stands that could add value to the election results in the county.

The delegation was led by the former Cabinet Minister Kipruto Arap Kirwa who has kept it secret on whether or not he will attempt to recapture his former Cherangany seat or go for the Senate which dodged him in 2013 and 2017

While FK was hosting its Delegates Conference at the Bomas of Kenya under the embattled party leader Moses Wetag’ula, UDA associated with DP Dr William Ruto was hosting about 500 party aspirants and supports at his Karen home to strategize on the polls in the county. The delegation was led by the former Cabinet Minister Kipruto Arap Kirwa who has kept it secret on whether or not he will attempt to recapture his former Cherangany seat or go for the Senate which dodged him in 2013 and 2017.

Defence CS Eugene Wamalwa has been linked to the DAP(K) political party

For the ODM party, the Raila Odinga-led party was still engulfed in the branch leadership wrangles pitting the Saboti MP Caleb Amisi with a Patrick Musungu who is reported to have been replaced by the lawmaker in mini-polls that are being contested by the party headquarters. The party is also understood to be marvelling at the declaration of one Dorcas Njenga as the party’s flag bearer in the gubernatorial race after she allegedly led a delegation of Kikuyus and other smaller tribes in the county to Raila through the Kakamega governor Wycliffe Oparanya.

Mrs Njenga who has a confidant of the Defence CS Eugene Wamalwa within the DAP (K) party aligned to the CS is reported to have switched from the party after she was dumped as the possible running mate of the Rift Valley Regional Commissioner George Natembeya on the party’s ticket to succeed Gov. Khaemba.

She has vowed to mobilise the other local communities to stop the popular majority Bukusus from dominating the leadership of the county and has been convening and sponsoring meetings ahead of the visit by Raila in the county. And for the ANC and KANU parties, the duo seems to be guided by the OKA principals Musalia Mudavadi, Wetang’ula, Gideon Moi and Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka in the hope of striking a deal before they can embark on individual and respective campaigns. Nothing is said much of the two parties in the county.

Gov. Khaemba replaced the Finance CEC member Boniface Wanyonyi with the Water counterpart Andrew Musungu whose position was taken over by the Gender CEC Aggrey Chemonges. Mr Boniface Wanyonyi now moves to the Lands docket to replace Christine Tanguli who was seconded to the Gender and Sports docket

The DAP(K) associated with Defence CS Eugene Wamalwa is currently involved in registering members and has so far recruited close to 50,000members in Trans Nzoia County alone before the official launch of the party at the end of the year. CS Wamalwa has declared that he is not about to stop politicking in support of the ODM leader Raila Odinga seeking the presidency claiming that there was nothing in the Constitution that prohibits him to do so as this was his personal right.

In effecting the Cabinet changes, Gov. Khaemba replaced the Finance CEC member Boniface Wanyonyi with the Water counterpart Andrew Musungu whose position was taken over by the Gender CEC Aggrey Chemonges. Mr Boniface Wanyonyi now moves to the Lands docket to replace Christine Tanguli who was seconded to the Gender and Sports docket. This is the second time Khaemba is transferring M/s Tanguli after she survived an impeachment motion by the Trans Nzoia County Assembly following her under-performance at the department of Health.

Incidentally, the affected CEC members Boniface Wanyonyi and Tanguli are both vying for the governor’s and WR seats respectively in next year’s polls. For Tanguli, the woman will be trying her third hand at the WR seat having lost to the Jubilee incumbent Janet Nangabo in 2013 and 2017. The relegation of Wanyonyi from the department of Finance to the Lands docket was long perceived the County Assembly came up with a motion to impeach him together with his CCO Emmanuel Simiyu who was being waylaid for arrogance and selective performance to the members of the public.

The two motions have since died a natural death unless revived within six months, the period that would have seen the current County Assembly elapse. What most pundits were querying is why the governor moved Chemonges to the Water docket where a fellow Sabaot John Meng’wa who has set his eyes on the Saboti constituency in 2022 is the CCO.

Sources divulged that the move was being taken to deny the incoming governor the opportunity to make the employment act it was geared to give four senior CCOs to be hired and cross over to the next government and protect the misdeeds of Khaemba’s administration

But the mini-changes have not dumped Wanyonyi’s spirit of succeeding his boos as the second governor and instead have invigorated and ignited campaigns among his supporter who has vowed to prove him wrong in the move they believe was to side-line him from the succession roll.

And within the same breath, Khaemba’ss administration a few months before he departs the office last week ignited a fresh succession storm by the publication of 28 positions by the County Public Service Board CPSB for directors for various departments which have been vacant since his inception to the office in 2013. The positions are on permanent and pensionable terms.

Inside sources divulged that the move was being taken to deny the incoming governor the opportunity to make the employment act it was geared to give four senior CCOs to be hired and cross over to the next government and protect the misdeeds of Khaemba’s administration. The targeted COOs are Emmanuel Simiyu (Finance) Claire Wanyama (Legal), Phillip Wasike (Public Works) and Charles Barasa (Health).

‘’ The governor should be having a sinister motive in advertising for these jobs now. Why didn’t he do it during his first term? Why now? Asked an MCA who is privy to the clandestine on-goings at the board adding the residents should wake up to such illegality. Questions abound as to why Khaemba had appointed Maina Milimo as the director for communications on a contract between 2013 and 2017 instead of recruiting him on permanent and pensionable 

terms only to advertise for the position which has remained vacant for the last five years.

It will be recalled that it is only last month that Claire Wanyama was rejected as the County Attorney by the County Assembly for questionable academic papers and integrity before Khaemba forwarded a High Court Advocate Charles Wabwoba who was later given the AG job unanimously. The whole blame -game is being heaped on the CPSB which is said to be headed by a non-professional a Mr Soita who was allegedly pushed to the board by Khaemba.

But even as Gov. Khaemba went ahead to re-organise his last days at the county, his FK party conducted the Delegates’ conference in Nairobi and elevated some local politicians to the party’s national echelons. These included the Kiminini MP Dr Chris Wamalwa as the Secretary-General, Henry Ole Ndiema-1st deputy chairman, Dr Susan Nakhumicha 2st deputy chairperson, Ben Milimo- Chair of Caucus of professionals and nominated MCA Margaret Wanjala to represent the womenfolk. What this means is that the group is likely to tilt the party’s nominations with Dr Chris Wamalwa being the governor’s candidate, Mr Ndiema for the Senate and Dr Nakhumicha for the WR. Mr Ole Ndiema will be attempting to regain the seat he lost to the incumbent Dr Mike Mbito allied to Jubilee and who has shifted interest to Saboti in next year’s elections.

A major surprise at the FK conference was the presence of Dr Diana Lukosi who in recent days had donned herself in the UDA flags but only to make an about-turn saying she had camped back home for the Kiminini seat

According to an FK official in the county Jackson Muganda, the party’s successful conference heralds a new chapter of leadership not only in the county but the entire country as had been envisaged by the late VP Michael Wamalwa. He described the opposing faction of the party led by the Kanduyi MP Wafula Wamunyinyi as a batch of Nyumba Kumi.

The major surprise at the FK conference was the presence of Dr Diana Lukosi who in recent days had donned herself in the UDA flags but only to make the about-turn saying she had camped back home for the Kiminini seat.

But the lady may count herself not lucky for having the ground changed tune and gravitating towards the FK diehards who include Evans Kundu, Dr Joseph Wafula and MCA David Kisaka, incidentally all allied to FK.

According to sources familiar with FK, the party will grant all the aspirants the opportunity during the nominations to evade the fallout but with prominence to politicians who will ensure the party retains the seat after the two-term hold by Dr Chris Wamalwa. While the trio of Kundu, Dr Wafula and Kisaka could be headed for a neck-to-neck race, another aspirant Biketi Musuya had started laying off his ground after a murky exit at the county government.

Mr Kundu, a prominent farmer from Bikeke, is renowned for his philanthropic activities in the area and only recently helped in organising the success of the FK delegates’ conference in Nairobi. At the UDA get-together at DP Ruto’s Karen, there was a near confrontation between the supporters of the Endebess MP Dr Robert Pukose and those of the governor aspirant Kakai Bisau over which side was the truthful one to carry the DP’s flag in Trans Nzoia but the temperatures were eventually cooled down by the DP himself who said all were equal to him.

Those intending to vie for the governor’s seat were required to register by paying Khs 10,000; Khs 5,000 for MP and Khs 2,000 for MCA before being allowed to attend the meeting. Notable figures at the UDA meeting included John Meng’wa, Julius Tunduria eyeing the Cherangany seat and Eng. Richard Chesebe and Allan Chesang’ poised to compete for the Senate.

Conspiqous absentees at the UDA consultative meeting were the WR Janet Nangabo and the former Saboti MPLazaro Wafula who are close allies of the DP while the surprise attendee was the Kitale businessman Alwin Sasia alias Lisa, the county coordinator of DAP(K) and the handler of CS Eugene Wamalwa. But Lisa was quick to assert that he had attended the meeting as an observer and not as an aspirant set to oppose Dr Robert Pukose for the Endebess seat.

All expectations had been that Senator Mike Mbito would attend the aspirants’ meeting in a bid to reconcile the duo who quit ways over the support of the senator for President Uhuru Kenyatta’s purge o insurgents in the Jubilee party. What this portends is that Dr Mbito will be out to battle it out with Ruto’s men in Saboti who are headed by John Meng’wa and Joseph Pepela of FK.

All the forces alike are said to be divided between Dr Mbito, Meng’wa, MP Amisi and Pepela.’’ The DP advised as to support the winning aspirants in the part preliminaries so that we can have the majority seats in the county’’. Said Meng’wa. The FK delegates’ conference seems to have opened the Pandora Box in Cherangany with lawyer Ben Mimilo being declared the best boy for the Wetag’ula-led party to take on the outgoing MP Joshua Kuttuny of Jubilee and the eventual winner of UDA that could angle towards Julius Tunduria.

But two-time FK contender Patrick Simiyu opposed to the Wetang’ula faction is not letting it go and has vowed to initiate a new strategy to clinch the seat he lost to Kuttuny by a whisker in 2017 and similarly to Wisley Korir in 2013.DAP (K) is fronting a former candidate Patrick Masindano who has twice contested the seat.

Kwanza constituency under the firm grip on the FK MP Ferdinand Wanyonyi alias Magufuli may not be an easy ground to make changes owing to immense support for the home party. Though several aspirants have declared to run in the party nominations, Magufuli as the Trans Nzoia party leader may not relinquish the role. Front runners include the Minority leader Emmanuel Waswa and another county official Moses Lupao.

As expected Endebess with the lowest number of voters may not have a bigger attachment with all the eyes set on the outgoing Dr Pukose and Lisa, both of whom were the main contenders in 2017 before the latter was prevailed upon by URP to step aside. The Coast Regional Commissioner Gilbert Kittiyo rumoured to have interest in the seat has confirmed non-participation while Mombasa trader Paul Moiben is being groomed to be George Natembeya’s running mate. Same for the Saboti MCA David Kaboloman, the representative is contended to be the running mate f Dr Chris Wamalwa as private land surveyor Leonard Moss fights to succeed Kaboloman on the UDA ticket.

The Senate race seems to have attracted newcomers such as Eng. Richard Chesebe, Allan Chesang’ and Ken Simiyu to take on the old guards led by Henry Ole Ndiema and the Speaker of the County Assembly Joshua Werunga. Though Eng. Chesebe was beaming with confidence to make the mark, the other aspirants were putting their houses in order to equally seal the victory.

The WR race has placed Janet Nangabo between the hard place and the rock with word going rounds that she has joined the long list of gubernatorial races dominated by male contenders. Political pundits say the tough-talking mama Utamu could still make it in the women rep duel despite tough opposition mounted by Marketer Esther Koli, Susan Nakhumicha, Immaculate Shamala, Lilian Sioyi, Naomi Okul, Margaret Wanjala and Jane Gaitano.

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