Regional balancing at play in Kitui assembly Speaker's race

Wednesday September 6 2017

The newly constructed ultra-modern Kitui County Assembly debating chambers which elected members will start using on September 7, 2017 when they will also elect their Speaker. Battle for the seat is shaping up into a contest between various sub-counties. PHOTO | KITAVI MUTUA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

The newly constructed ultra-modern Kitui County Assembly debating chambers which elected members will start using on September 7, 2017 when they will also elect their Speaker. Battle for the seat is shaping up into a contest between various sub-counties. PHOTO | KITAVI MUTUA | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By KITAVI MUTUA
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The race for the Kitui County Assembly Speaker is shaping up into a contest between various sub-counties despite intense lobbying by candidates.

Despite the influential position having attracted several contestants including current Speaker George Ndotto, the need to achieve regional balance where all the eight constituencies are represented in top county leadership is gaining currency.

Besides academic credentials and other competencies, the strength of each candidate is being measured by the sub-region they hail from and whether that area has produced another top county official.

The election for the Kitui Speaker will be held on Thursday.

BIPARTISAN

According to Miambani Ward MCA Alex Nganga, the county assembly will act in a bipartisan way to avoid concentrating power in one region.

Mr Nganga of Narc party says the Speaker’s position should go to Kitui South, Kitui Rural or Kitui East constituencies which do not have any of the top four county elective posts.

Governor Charity Ngilu hails from Kitui Central, Senator Enoch Wambua is from Kitui West while Mrs Ngilu’s deputy, Dr Wathe Nzau, and County Woman Rep Irene Kasalu are both from Mwingi Central.

“The assembly will exercise its discretion by voting but county power must be equitably spread and shared in a manner that makes all Kitui people to feel represented in top decision-making forums,” Mr Nganga said.

FRONTRUNNERS

Frontrunners for the seat include Mr Ndotto, who like Governor Ngilu, is from Kitui Central, and Bernard Kitindio, a young lawyer from Kitui South.

Others are Mumo Kisangau, lawyers John Makau and Samson Masila.
Mr Nganga sentiments were echoed by Kanziko Ward MCA James Munuve (Wiper) who said candidates for Speaker’s seat who are from Mwingi are obviously disadvantaged because they have more than enough share of county cake.

“Besides the woman rep and deputy governor, our County Assembly Clerk Elijah Mutambuki is also from Mwingi and three out of the nine Wiper party nominees are from Mwingi,” Mr Munuve explained.

POLITICAL LOGIC

He said there will be no justification or political logic of electing a Speaker from Mwingi when other regions are not represented.

Even though Governor Ngilu and Wiper party leader Kalonzo Musyoka have remained largely non-aligned to either candidate, Mr Kitindio is emerging as the favourite candidate of their two parties and is likely to clinch the seat if the two leaders concur.

Mr Ndotto, a long standing rival of Mrs Ngilu, banks his hopes of retaining the seat on his political experience and performance in the last assembly where he spearheaded the construction of modern debating chambers.

Wiper won 21 seats in the 40-member assembly while Narc got nine, and the two parties have eight and three nominated MCAs respectively.