By County Splash
Shinyalu Constituency is an electoral constituency in Kakamega county. It was delineated from Ikolomani constituency in 1988 with Japheth Livasia Lijoodi of KANU as its first Member of Parliament and was replaced by Japheth Shamalla during the 1992 general elections.
Daniel Khamasi was the third legislator of Shinyalu between 1997-2002 on a Ford Kenya ticket and was re-elected on a Narc Kenya ticket in 2002 but was defeated by the late Charles Lugano Lilechi on an ODM ticket in 2007.
Mr. Lilechi died in 2009 and Justus Kizito Mugali succeeded him in a by election but was dethroned in 2013 general elections by Silverse Anami Lisamula. In 2017 polls, Mr. Kizito Mugali bounced back on an ODM ticket.
However, if elections were to be held today, Adrian Mambili Meja will be elected as the Member of Parliament of Shinyalu with 39.94 per cent (678 votes) followed by Anami Lisamula with 33.21 per cent (564 votes) with the current MP Kizito Mugali coming a distant third with 19.22 per cent (326 votes) of the total votes tally in a sample population of 1698 people.
The research which was commissioned by the County Splash, an online news platform and research firm was conducted between August 3 – August 27.
Dr Antony Lung’aho emerged at the fourth position with 4.04 per cent (69 votes) followed by the youthful politician Fred Ikana with 2.12 per cent (36 votes) while Dr Oscar Shamalla was at the sixth position with 0.45 per cent (8 votes) of the sampled population. 1.02 per cent (17 votes) were undecided on who to support as their Member of Parliament.
The research which was conducted through one on one interviews, questionnaires and phone calls to the respondents across the constituency consisting of 902 females (53.10 per cent) and 796 males (46.90 per cent).
Those between the ages of 18-35 years were 658 (38.75 per cent), those between 36- 54 were 715 (42.11 per cent) while those above 55 years were 325 (19.14 per cent).
According to the research, Adrian Meja has an upper hand against other contestants in Isukha Central Ward (14,871 voters) and his home- tuff Murhanda Ward (12,026 voters) as well as some sections of Isukha West, Isukha South, Isukha North and Isukha East.
His strength is attributed to his advocacy roles like protecting the locals from brutality meted on the locals by KWS and KFS rangers, sinking of boreholes and erection of water pumps, humanitarian work like giving free wheelchairs and crutches to Persons with Disability (PWDs) and his philanthropic support to the churches across the constituency.
His name is well spread across the constituency His steadfast and independent personality has also attracted the business community, Christian faithfuls and the professionals in the area to his bandwagon.
His support base was mostly from the youths and women aged between 18-35 years and those between 35-55 years of age.
However, Meja faces a tough balancing act in his own home turf of Murhanda ward where one of his challenger, Dr Lung’aho hails from.
Majority of the respondents perceive him (Meja) to be too conservative and lacks political charisma which may fail to attract the electorates to his camp.
For Mr. Anami Lisamula who has served as a former MP between 2013-2017, still has a bigger percentage of campaign structures and connections intact. He has a huge following in Isukha South (15,221) where he hails from and sections of Murhanda Ward, Isukha North and Isukha West.
Lisamula’s oratory skills and having served as an MP, his name is well spread in the constituency. According to the sampled population, whilst serving as a legislator, he did a good job in terms of initiating development projects as compared to his successor, Mr. Kizito Mugali.
His support base was majorly from those above 55 years of age. His close association with Musalia Mudavadi’s ANC party that is now a popular party in the area also gives him a comparative advantage ahead of the rest.
Lisamula’s greatest undoing is his bad blood with the current MP as well as not being development conscious during his reign as an MP.
Mr. Mugali, the incumbent MP already boasts of a startup package of Isukha North (11,208) and Isukha East (8,783).
He has generally tried in sponsoring poor but bright students from vulnerable families in the constituency which also gives him an added advantage over his opponents. His association with ODM leader Raila Odinga may also work in his favour given he is the only party’s candidate in the constituency.
But majority of the respondents feel he has failed on his duties as an MP by not completing projects that were started by his predecessor Mr. Lisamula. He has also lost touch on the ground as well as not initiating any tangible development projects in the constituency. They also feel that he has not helped them during the fight against Covid19 as compared to what other MPs have done in their areas of jurisdiction.
For Dr Lung’aho, a new entrant in the race and a political greenhorn seems to be development conscious with some of the community projects he had initiated in the constituency like erection of foot bridges, opening up of road reserves and charity work.
However, the respondents who were reached during the survey perceive Dr Lung’aho to be out on a mission to spoil Adrian Meja’s chances of succeeding Kizito Mugali Shinyalu MP given that they come from the same locality.
Having announced twice in the previous polls in 2013 and 2017 of his intentions to run for the seat but bolted out before the nominations, he is likely to be perceived as a spectator and not a serious candidate.
Lung’aho’s name is yet to be felt on ground given that most of his political projects are delegated.
Fred Ikana is another political greenhorn in the race but his name is relatively spread in the constituency courtesy to Ikana foundation that has helped the locals take their children to school among other charity works.
As a youthful aspirants, Ikana is likely to attract youthful votes and many look upon him as promising candidate with a political future. Ikana lacks political strategies as many claim that he is yet to reach to them in his parliamentary quest.
Dr Oscar Shamalla is yet to lay his political ground and his name is neither here nor there.