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3Aug/111

Kenya: New Counties governors positions have attracted many professionals and high profile individuals in Luo-NyanzaN

Writes Leo Odera Omolo.

The plum job of County governors is increasingly becoming more incentive judging by the number and personalities of the new entrance into the race.

The latest entries comprise men of high integrity, technocrats and individuals considered to be men of high caliber. They included professors, engineers, accountants and Chief Executive Officers {CEO} in public companies and private sector.

The most interesting feature of the impending general elections is that those who had started their campaign as early as last year are now said to be on the losing trend.

Newcomers to the race seemed to be in the process of overturning the seasoned politicians who had launched their campaign immediately after the promulgation of the new constitution in August 2010.

In the contest for the Homa-Bay County governor, three personalities have been featuring prominently in the race. The front-runners include Eng. Philip Okoth Okundi, the immediate former Homa-Bay MP who is also the chairman of the ODM board of election. Okundi hails from Kochia west within Rangwe constituency. His other challengers were the retired former country director of the Marie Stoppie Clinics Cyprian Otieno Awiti who is from Karachuonyo constituency and Dr. Mark Matunga a senior executive with the Microsoft international Computer firm. He hails from Mfangano Island in Mbita district. Also said to be interested in the same plum job is the incumbent Rangwe MP George Otieno Ogindo, but the latter is of lately talking less about the campaign for the job of late.

The fifth person who had declared his interest the Homa-Bay governor is Opiata Ogad a businessman based in Nakuru town and a native of Rusinga Island also in Mbita district. However, Ogada seemed to have lost interest has not been heard of for some time. He appeared to have gone quiet or lost the steam in the race anymore.

A new entrant in the race whose campaign has sent shock-waves in the spine of other contestants is Prof.Joseph Akeyo who teaches in the Faculty of Physics at the Maseno University. He launched his campaign late last year at his Wagwe village home in West Karachuonyo late last year.

The launching ceremony, which had attracted thousands of people ended up tragically. Within only two days only after the launching of his campaign and while he was driving from his Karachuonyo home, his car had a terrible accident. The vehicle rolled up several time killing his first wife a young son and a brother instantly. Prof.Akeyo sustained serious injuries including a broken neck and skull.

The entry of Prof.Akeyo into the governorship race in the Homa-Bay County has drastically changed the cause of the contest drastically making matters looking gloomy and difficult for the seasoned politician Cyprian Awiti who is also a resident of Karachuonyo east within the same Karachuonyo constituency.

Prof Akeyo is also the chairperson of the Karachuonyo CDF seemed to be enjoying the blessing of the area incumbent MP Eng.James Rege and other leaders from Ndhiwa, Mbita,Rangwe and Gwassi. His popularity is spreading like bush fire and growing day by day. He appeared to have overcome his rivals in the rich voting region of Ndhiwa and god part of Karachuonyo, particularly in patches spots in Central and East Karachuonyo and in Kasipul Kabondo.

Prof. Akeyo is the rising star as far s the contest for Homa-Bay County governor is concern and a man to watch.

The other aspirant Dr. Mark Matunga appeared to have made very little progress, though he enjoyed support in some patches of the region, it will an uphill task for him to clinch the seat. Matunga is being stabbed at the back in his Suba region background with claims and allegations that he is not in good book with the Luo political kingpin Raila Odinga.

The rumor making the round within the County of Homa-bay that he is supporting a rebellion within the community by sponsoring the activities of the so-called Suba Council of Elders. The credence’s to this allegation emanating from the fact that a meeting has been called in his home backyard of Mfangano Island on August 12. In that meeting Ker of Suba Apollo Okeyo Omuga is expected to b officially installed.

The groups viewed by many people in Luo-Nyanza as a splinter and rebellion to the community cause. That of backing Raila Odinga’s presidential bid in 2012.The current set up of the Luo Council of Elders headed by Ker Willis Opiyo Otondi who was installed in a ceremony held at the Ofafa Memorial Hall in Kisumu City. The Vice chairman of the Luo Council of Elders is Ex-Senior Chief Omolo Anditi from Rusinga Island .This has caused a lot of anxiety fuelling the rumor that the group is not supporting Raila’s presidential bid.

If it is true that Dr Matunga support the Suba Council of elders as it is being alleged then his chances of winning votes from non-Suba dominated constituencies in the other regions would be rather remote. He need to come out clean and shake off the allegations and publicly disassociate himself with the activities of this group.

Homa-Bay County covered the largest parts of greater Southern Nyanza with eight parliamentary constituencies stretching from Kabondo, Kasipul, Karachuonyo, Rangwe, Homa-Bay, Ndhiwa, Gwassi and Mbita.

This are even much tougher in the neighboring Migori County.The governor lucrative position has attracted a large number of professionals, professors, engineers and the best brains in the region.

Leading the pact of aspirants is the youthful communication consultant with Airtel in Nairobi Eng Mark Nyamita, who hail from Rapogi Division of Uriri district. Nyamita’s popularity is felt in far afield like Rongo, Ranen, Uriri, Kakirao, Migori town and some parts of Nyatike constituency. However, h could not be reached to confirm or deny that he was in the race.

Also n the race is Eng.Jared Ochieng’ Baraza who is currently an adviser to the International Telecoms Union based in Geneva, Switzerland. Baraza is also the Country Director of the Engineers Without Borders, an international NGO,Ghana Telecoms University in Accra and a visiting professor at the Kenyatta University n Nairobi.

Eng Baraza is currently busy establishing water, electricity and telecommunication Institute and agriculture in Migori.A son of the Ex-Senior Chief of Suna Location the late Chief Baraza, the engineer is said to be very popular with the youth and woman folks.

Also in the race for Migori County governor position is Prof.Rachillo Luo Kobuoyo, a senior surgeon with the US Airforce based in the US. The surgeon who has attained the rank of a colonel with the US Airfore has lived in the US for many years..He hails from Karungu Central in Sori Division, Nyatike constituency and is reported to have been involved in the education of boys and girls in the region as well s financially supporting the needy economic and social projects.

Another person said to be keen in contesting the Migori governor is Christopher Odhiambo Rusana, an immigrant from Tanzania who has settled in Mikuro area of Suna west. He is the Clerk to the Kehancha County Council. He is said to be a native of Wagire a Luo sub-clan living in North Mara region in areas close to Kenya-Tanzania border. The impact of his candidature is yet to be assessed.

In Central Sakwa within the newly created Awendo district Ezra Odondi whom is a CEO in one of the largest auditing firms in Nairobi is also said to be keen in contesting the position of Migori County .governor. The other aspirant is Owiso Ngao who has been working for the oil companies in Saudi Arabia. He hails from Nyamome area of East Suna.

The seat is also expected to attracted one or two aspirants from within the two Kuria constituencies of Kuria West and Kuria East, though no one has so far come forward to declare his interest.

The contest for both Homa-Bay and Migori governors could produce fire work during the actual campaign period given the number of high profile aspirants vying for the the two sets.

Ends

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  1. For migori governorship we are alive to hear entry of Billy Mijungu, son of Kenya National union of teachers Executive secretary John Mijungu Kisia, a businessman in nairobi, youthful under 35years holder of MBA – from University of wales in Uk. His candidture would Upset the political chess board. Mijungu is well known name and farely successful with public management of resources, born in Migori has a home in Uriri Lived in Awendo, nephew to the people of kamagambo in Rongo district where he studied for most part of his teenage life, is a suba and would easily make in roads in Kuria through the suba kurias and nyatike which also is his uncles home district, he is a coloured young man what this space !


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