The Wiper party has lost the hotly contested Mutonguni Ward by-election in Kitui, the home county of the party leader Kalonzo Musyoka.
Musee Mati of Maendeleo Chap Chap, which is led by Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua, garnered 2,892 votes to defeat Wiper's Stephen Kithuka, who got 2,147 votes.
Chants of "Yote yawezekana bila Wiper (all is possible without Wiper)" rent the air at the tallying centre, moments after IEBC Returning Officer Reuben Mbuu announced Mr Mati as the Member of the County Assembly-elect.
In third place was Independent candidate Jace Kavale with 853 votes, followed by Alex Nzau of Jubilee with 815 votes.
The by-election had attracted nine candidates.
The by-election on Thursday had narrowed down to a bitter contest between Wiper party leader Kalonzo Musyoka and Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua, with their respective party candidates being fronts in a bigger political war to control the Ukambani region.
The win for Governor Mutua’s candidate is significant in two ways. One, it is the first big victory against Mr Musyoka and his Wiper party, which has dominated Ukambani politics for last 15 years.
It also gives Maendeleo Chap Chap political entry point in Kitui County and a foothold at the County Assembly.
The Wiper leader had personally led the campaigns for his nominee accompanied by his party MPs, where they urged voters not to embarrass him in his home county by rejecting Mr Kithuka.
Mr Musyoka had told voters that a win for any other candidate would not only embarrass him but also cast doubts on his ability to consolidate the Ukambani vote block, which has remained loyal to him in the past several elections.
Governor Mutua who kept off the campaigns said Mr Mati’s win in Kitui was a vote of confidence in his party and a confirmation that people are tired of the old political order and want a new way of doing things.
“People want politics of development and not big man or woman syndrome. This was not a contest between candidates but the beginning of a new revolution to usher in development based leadership not only in Ukambani but Kenya as a whole” said Dr Mutua on Twitter.
Dr Mutua thanked Mutonguni voters for choosing “future and progress”, while congratulating his supporters, mobilisers and agents for a job well done in delivering the ward seat.
“This is a major victory for MCC. It must be remembered that the Wiper party leader was once the MP in this area,” said Dr Mutua’s Chief of Staff Mwengi Mutuse, who led the campaigns.
Mutonguni Ward, which is now in Kitui West constituency was once represented in Parliament by Mr Musyoka as part of the then Kitui North constituency.
None of the Wiper MPs and MCAs turned up at the tallying centre at Mutonguni Vocational Training Institute.
The loss is also a big blow to Kitui Senator Enoch Wambua and his elder sister Kitui West MP Edith Nyenze, who are facing accusations of imposing an unpopular candidate on voters despite warnings by their colleagues.
Mr Kithuka, the Wiper candidate was defeated by Mr Mati in the 2017 elections, coming a distant third.
The by-election was occasioned by Mr Mati’s successful petition which dragged in the courts for almost two years. This was after the then Kitui West Constituency Returning Officer James Mbai erroneously awarded the election certificate to the wrong candidate who had lost in the contest.
Efforts by the IEBC officials to recall the election certificate a day after poll results were announced were thwarted when the loser, Felix Mbevo of Narc, rushed to court and obtained an injunction, triggering a series of suits and appeals.