The coming to the fore of the Maendeleo Chap Chap movement spearheaded by Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua has divided the Ukambani political elite down the middle.
It has led to accusations and counter-accusations as to what the exact purpose of the movement is.
Maendeleo Chap Chap espouses an ideology by Governor Mutua and his supporters that Kenyans should embrace leaders who fast-track development projects that lift the populace out of poverty.
To its critics, it is a political vehicle designed by outside forces to alter the Lower Eastern power structure. The critics hold that it is funded by the Jubilee government to undermine regional supremo and Cord principal Kalonzo Musyoka.
Unperturbed, Dr Mutua launched Maendeleo Chap Chap in a grandiose fashion on January 2 at Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos, creating a platform with presidential looks and reading his speech on state-of-the art screens known as teleprompters; a first in Kenya in an open stadium.
He thereafter launched offices in Nairobi, Taita Taveta and Mombasa in quick succession.
A big test for Mr Musyoka and Dr Mutua comes in Masongaleni Ward, where the Wiper candidate will face off with The Independent Party (TIP) candidate.
TIP is led by former Kibwezi MP Kalembe Ndile and is allied to Dr Mutua.
The governor’s allies told the Sunday Nation that President Uhuru Kenyatta is expected to visit the region later in the year to commission the Kibwezi-Kitui-Mwingi Road and initiate a Sh1.2 billion dam in Mwingi, a move that is expected to heighten the emerging political feud in the area.
Mr Musyoka’s headache has always been Machakos. Out of the eight MPs in Machakos, only three were elected on a Wiper ticket.
The rest managed without the dominant party in the region.
The Wiper MPs are Stephen Mule (Matungulu), Patrick Makau (Mavoko) and Robert Mbui (Kathiani).
Those from other parties are Ford People’s Itwiku Mbai (Masinga), Yatta’s Francis Mwangangi (Muungano Party) and Kangundo’s Maweu Katatha (TIP); Machakos Town’s Victor Munyaka and Mwala’s Vincent Musyoka are both in Chama Cha Uzalendo.
Chama Cha Uzalendo is headed by former Assistant Minister Wavinya Ndeti, who has previously said she will field candidates in next year’s elections.
Speaking to the Sunday Nation on the phone, Dr Mutua said the Chap Chap Movement was a social, economic and political outfit aimed at uplifting the people’s welfare.
He denied he was planning to quit Wiper.
“It is Wiper people who are throwing me out because I am pushing on with development,” he said.
Senator Mutula Kilonzo, a staunch ally of Mr Musyoka, believes Dr Mutua is out to confuse the Akamba people.
“Machakos is more developed than Kitui and Makueni due to its strategic geographical location. There is nothing new he has done. In fact, there is nothing like Maendeleo Chap Chap for development; what he talks about was all contained in the Wiper manifesto,” said Senator Kilonzo.
But Dr Mutua rejects the senator’s notion and is categorical that a manifesto would have constrained him in his plans for the county.
He said: “We only have one life. If a mother goes hungry or a child dies because of political affiliations, it is a sin against God.”
Equally scathing in his criticism was Yatta MP Francis Mwangangi, who termed Dr Mutua an opportunist being used by forces outside the region. He wondered why Dr Mutua was “dividing the people”.
Mr Kisoi Munyao (Mbooni MP, Wiper) welcomed Chap Chap as a development movement but warned against it being turned into a political outfit.