Trans-Nzoia women representative Janet Nangabo rode to national assembly in 2013 and 2017 courtesy of Eugene Wamalwa whose defunct New Ford-Kenya party dissolved to amalgamate with the ruling Jubilee under Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto.
Today, Nangabo has shifted goals and decided to work alongside Ruto under Inua Mama Project and abandoned her relationship with Wamalwa who has scores to settle with the DP even as Ruto fights to succeed Uhuru in the 2022 polls.
Like Nangabo, Kakai Bisau under the NFK ticket attempted the Trans-Nzoia governor’s seat and again in 2017 on the Jubilee blessings steered by Wamalwa before losing to the incumbent Patrick Khaemba allied to Bungoma senator Moses Wetang’ula of Ford-Kenya party.
Just again like Nangabo, Bisau currently working in the DP’s office as one of his political strategists is finding it difficult to work with Wamalwa towards his third attempt for the gubernatorial seat in 2022.
Both Nangabo and Bisau are torn between Ruto and Wamalwa even as the Devolution CS descends down to Trans-Nzoia county with the 2022 polls and the outcome of both the Punguza Mizigo Bill and the Building Bridges Initiatives BBI staring in their faces.
As much as the DP continues to visit Trans-Nzoia county initiating development projects and raising funds for churches, Wamalwa under the same umbrella of Jubilee has moved to the ground as he watches the Punguza Mizigo and BBI trials unfold before plunging into the melee.
Another Jubilee strategist Abraham Sing’oei incidentally working in the DP’s office, has not bothered about the DP-Wamalwa feud and instead has gone full blast to claim the governor’s seat with a motto of galvanising all the 42 tribes residing in Trans-Nzoia.
Singoei still vividly recalls in 2017 when he was prevailed upon by the Jubilee leaders led by Wamalwa and Noah Wekesa to step down in favour of Joshua Werunga for the Kwanza parliamentary seat which he eventually lost to Ford-Kenya’s Ferdinand Wanyonyi. Werunga is currently the speaker of the Trans-Nzoia county assembly.
Singoei who had made a maiden attempt for the constituency in 2013 still believes he was robbed of the seat through “negotiations” and this time round he is leaving nothing to chance to become the second Trans-Nzoia governor after Khaemba.
He has never forgiven Wamalwa and Wekesa for the 2017 debacle and it will be interesting to see how he will wriggle himself out of the duo’s local influence, though Wekesa has since retired from politics owing to the vagaries of age.
Kiminini MP Chris Wamalwa could be the other person gaining off the DP-Eugene Wamalwa spat as he struggles to maintain the FK’s status quo in the county by taking over from Khaemba.
Enjoying soft spot with both the DP and the Devolution CS, the Kiminini legislator has gone ahead to lead a personal fight as he consolidates local votes to try achieve his dream of ascending to the gubernatorial office.
MP Wamalwa has been a regular feature at Ruto’s functions in Trans-Nzoia with the latest being the burial of a local politician Kibiwot arap Koros in Cherangany where he asked residents to back him for the governor’s seat while also supporting Ruto for the presidency.
No other local MPs were present at Koro’s funeral except for the former Cherangany legislator Wesley Korir.
As MP Wamalwa stole the limelight as the only gubernatorial aspirant accompanying the DP at the funeral, Wekesa who played a big role in the bringing of over 11 parties to form Jubilee ahead of the 2017 general election had sensed the danger of the party falling apart and called on Ruto as the deputy party leader to call for its national grassroots polls.
The Jubilee brigade including Endebess MP Robert Pukose and CS Wamalwa’s allies were nowhere to be seen and it was clear that the party was headed for doldrums if it does not put its house in order.
Korir who admitted his mistake of 2017 and lost to Joshua Kuttuny pledged allegiance to DP Ruto and vowed to go for the same seat in 2022.
Pundits say should the BBI go the referendum way and establish for a parliamentary system of governance being opposed by Ruto, CS Wamalwa could opt for national leadership and enter into negotiations to back MP Wamalwa for the governor’s position.
Other sources indicated that Nangabo’s declaration to go for the governor’s seat was only a warm up support either to Eugene or Chris depending on the outcome of the BBI to be tabled in the national assembly later in the year.
But the DP himself has not uttered a word over the bids by his lieutenants for the Trans-Nzoia county top job preferring the aspirants themselves fighting it out.
For Eugene, his supporters have vowed to stand with him come rain or shine. For example, what would you expect for a former Saboti MP David Lazaro whose return to the constituency lies squarely with the blessings from the Devolution CS despite him having been appointed a director with NCPB through Ruto’s influence?
It is now clear that the rivalry between the DP and CS was not about to end even as the speaker to the senate Kenneth Lusaka who was in Eugene’s team seen to keep off Trans-Nzoia as one of the DP’s pointmen in the county after realising.
This is also opening up to the entrenchment of rival parties in the area including FK, ODM, ANC and the former ruling party Kanu and should this persist, Eugene could be forced to build a new political tent and walk away with his supporters knowing that he would have no stake with the DP in the formation of the new government in 2022.
Fresh reports indicate that a new party called Democratic Alliance Party of Kenya associated with Kizito Temba, an aide to Eugene was in the offing and soon or later it will be officially launched to the residents of Trans-Nzoia, Busia, Kakamega, Bungoma and Vihiga counties. Eugene is not new to switching alliances having worked with FK and Republican Party of Kenya.
But what would be the Trans-Nzoia county government outlook with the Ruto-Eugene stalemate? Or will there be a truce between the two before 2022? Or still, will there be new faces of leaders?
For one, Chris with over 30 applicants for deputy governor’s position led by Saboti MCA David Kaboloman is pulling the strings but this is countered by Bisau who discredits the Kiminini MP for not being sincere in attending more than five church services in a single day and resorting to social media for boisterous campaigns.
On the other hand, Chris through his county coordinator Alfayo Muganda chides Bisau for having wasted two chances in the past while Singoei boasts of being the man who could unite and involve all the 42 communities in the new county leadership.
To Chris and Bisau, Singoei as a Nandi is being faulted for his Nandi community’s to attempt to extend leadership tentacles to Trans-Nzoia from Nandi and Uasin-Gishu counties which in turn plays positively for Singoei who avers that the governor’s seat is not a one community’s conclave.
But all this hullabaloo will be looming in the near future in the hope that Eugene will not be among the gubernatorial contenders, a move that will complicate the matrix.
Nevertheless, whoever becomes the next governor and or even if Eugene remains at the national helm of the government, he will aspire to have majority MPs and MCAs. Jubilee had the last laugh in 2017 with majority MCAs and MPs followed by FK and ANC and ODM with one civic seat each.
Chris after exiting Kiminini, the MP will perhaps go by the choice of the people for their support for a surgeon Emmanuel Wanjala popularly known as Majimoto or MCA David Kisaka and local businessman Tonny Muyoti while in Saboti he will push for Joseph Pepela, Benson Milimo in Cherangany, Robert Simiyu in Endebess in while in Kwanza split in between one Moses Lupao and MP Ferdinand Wanyonyi.
Eugene has no lineup for the five constituencies except for John Meng’wa as his running mate. This is the same for Bisau as well as Singoei who have yet to identify their support groups. All the aspirants are preparing their financial backgrounds as well as establishing inter-ethnic camps ahead of the 2022 polls.
The senate seat has not drawn much hype with the incumbent Mike Mbito of Jubilee warming up for a smooth comeback after consolidating support from youth and women groups. After starting on low ebb, Mbito has risen to become a man to watch because of philanthropic activities and personal interactions to issues.
The women rep docket is up for grabs though the holder Nangabo is yet to receive resistance. Contender Justine Sitti has hang on her boots while Christine Tanguli of FK is currently entangled in county issues as a CEC as well as other former contenders, Immaculate Shamalla, Cherop Mikis, Eunice Karanja, Susan Nafula and Gladys Mulati are yet declare their interest after they lost in 2017.