Washiali’s preferred heir feeling campaign heat as battle for Mumias East MP seat hits fever pitch

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Benjamin Washiali

Kakamega

By Collins Matubwi

Five aspirants will square it out at the ballot in a bid to succeed Mumias East Benjamin Washiali who has since quit elective seats.

The aspirants are Peter Salasia (DAP-K), David Wamatsi (ANC), Philip Okomba (Independent), Malaha/Isongo/Makunga MCA Lucas Radoli (ODM) and Benson Mapwoni (UDA).

Hon Philip Okomba Sakwa

Washiali is not defending his seat after serving as the area MP for 15 years.

“There has been skewed representation and distribution of resources in last 15 years by the current regime. When a leader does not do his job well, the people will suffer and that’s the mess I have come to correct,” said Okomba Sakwa

He joined active politics in 1997 and supported former assistant minister Wycliffe Osundwa who was seeking a second term. Later in 2002, Washiali threw the hat in the ring vying on Kanu ticket but lost to Osundwa.

In 2007, Washiali rode on ODM wave to capture the seat and the constituency was split into two, Washiali recaptured the seat in 2013 on UDF ticket and rode on Jubilee ticket to retain the seat in 2017.

Hon Peter Salasya

In Washiali’s absence, the parliamentary contest is fast shaping into a hotly contested race between Azimio La Umoja One Kenya and Kenya Kwanza alliance.

Clan factor cannot be wished away.  The constituency has two major clans namely Abashitsetse and Abakolwe that play a key role in determining whoever is elected

Like in the past when sugar politics determined the winner, this year’s contest is not any different.

Voters in the area have always used the late Allan Wameyo, who was the first area legislator as a yard stick of measuring the capacity of aspirants.   Wameyo was credited with championing for the welfare of sugarcane farmers since 1980s.

Hon David Wamatsi

Clan factor cannot be wished away.  The constituency has two major clans namely Abashitsetse and Abakolwe that play a key role in determining whoever is elected.

Aspirants are alive to the fact that clannism, sugar and party politics could be the determinant factors and their campaigns are dominated with the three issues.

The candidates are burning the midnight oil meeting clan elders, seeking endorsements whereas others have launched door to door campaigns to endear themselves to the voters.

For Salasya ,32, vied in the 2017 elections as an independent candidate and came a distant fourth with 2,000 votes.

Hon Benson Mapwoni

He is from the Abakolwe-abachirinya clan, the second largest clan where the incumbent hails from. Salasya holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from Egerton University.

“I am a self-made politician and ready to become the next MP of Mumias East. The revival of miller is top of my agenda as that is what is going to revamp our economy and create jobs for my constituents,” said Salasya

Salasya says  that by virtue of the sugar miller being domiciled in the constituency, they have to benefit from its existence.

For Okomba, he is from the largest Abashitsetse clan in whose lineage Wanga Kingdom is traced.

Hon Lucas Ochami Radoli

Sakwa holds two degrees, one in Finance from the University of Nairobi. He also studied Architecture at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (Jkuat) and holds a Masters degree in Construction from the University of Salford.

“There has been skewed representation and distribution of resources in last 15 years by the current regime. When a leader does not do his job well, the people will suffer and that’s the mess I have come to correct,” said Okomba Sakwa

Wamatsi,a perceived front runner in the race has confidence that he will succeed Washiali.

The 44-year-old aspirant was second to the incumbent in the 2017 polls. He garnered 9,315 votes while Washiali won the seat with 13, 848 votes.  

Radoli from the dominant Abashitsetse clan believes his experience in politics puts him above his competitors.

He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry from Kenyatta University and is from the Abakolwe Abamale clan.

Wamatsi was among ANC aspirants targeted by ODM in Kakamega County but turned down the Orange party direct ticket offer.

According to Wamatsi, he does not fear his rivals “because I don’t see a major threat in them.”

Radoli from the dominant Abashitsetse clan believes his experience in politics puts him above his competitors.

He served as a councilor for five years during the now defunct local authorities and has served as MCA for two consecutive terms.

Mapwoni, from Abakolwe-abachirinya clan is the incumbent’s preferred heir apparent and is banking on Washiali’s support to win the seat.

ENDS.

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