Nambale constituency’s politics in Busia County have always been high profile and highly competitive, but this time round for the first time there is Young blood that has stormed into it.
That is for the Member of Parliament’s (MP’s) post that may catapult it to a highly explosive thunderstorm pitting the young and the old who have dominated it.
The entry of the youthful and highly aggressive Media personality Kizito Namulanda is a development that is seeing for the first time a member of the constituency’s young generation storming into the fray to contest for that seat in 2017.
Over the decades during the past general elections the contest for that job has always been dominated mostly by retired personalities of the older generation, unlike this time round Namulanda may be setting a major precedence in the constituency’s political outlook.
Nambale constituency first came into being just before the 1992 multi-party general elections with the first Member of Parliament being Phillip Wanyama Masinde who expedited for its creation – Masinde is from Nangwe village in Busia town and was the first cabinet minister from the Bakhayo community of Nambale constituency that is now given birth to Matayos.
Masinde had retired from a senior managerial position at the Car & General Company to contest for the then Busia East constituency seat in 1998 general elections having lost in the previous one against the then incumbent the late Dr. Mukasa Mango. Busia East then included the Bakhayo and Marachi communities in one constituency – they were split to form Nambale and Butula constituencies. Yet the Samia had their own in Busia Central and Banyala also their own in Busia south.
It was during the 1987 general elections that Masinde trounced another older generation incumbent Dr. Mango then a cabinet minister in charge of the then ministry of livestock development, but remained at the backbench for sometimes before being elevated to the minister of Labour and used that chance to curve out Nambale to independent of the Marachi.
Come the 1997 general elections, Chrisanthus Barnabas Okemo another older generation on
second attempt after losing out to Masinde at the 1992 polling trounced the Labour cabinet minister to be directly elevated to the energy ministry cabinet position on first entry into parliament. He had also retired from active corporate employment in a senior managerial position to do business before venturing into the politics of the constituency.
Okemo from the Buyofu in the East of the constituency indeed also made history for the constituency for being appointed to the cabinet directly on his first win by retired President Daniel Arap Moi.
For the first time Okemo went on to dominate the constituency’s leadership for 15 years of three consecutive parliamentary terms during which he became notorious of introducing and entrenching the “monetary handouts syndrome” that enslaved the constituency during his entire tenure as he kept off consistently until the electioneering period to resurface.
A tenure from which he was bundled out of politics when he went for the senatorial post during the last general elections with devolved governance structure decreed by the Constitution of the Republic of Kenya 2010 – interestingly bundled out by a man who had played a leading role in the crafting of that constitution former Attorney General Amos Wako as the constituency’s seat went to his (Okemo’s) immediate first cousin the incumbent MP John Sakwa Bunyasi.
Bunyasi also of the older generation from Madende/Lwanikha area in Nambale East had indeed also retired from a senior managerial position from the powerful World Bank to storm into the constituency’s political fray in the general elections of the year 2007 as his first attempt at which he lost to Okemo.
It was at this elections that he lost to Okemo as a result of massive bribery and rigging not only with the voters but also with the then Electoral Commission of Kenya officials and clerks conducting the elections – this had also been witnessed when Okemo trounced yet another older generation contestant Peter Olasa Wabidonge during the 2002 elections, all engineered and executed by then personal assistant Peter Khasamule Odima.
What is clear as far as the Nambale constituency’s electioneering history politics are concerned, there has never been a contestant for that seat of the age at which Namulanda has declared interest thus taking the tiger by the tail and the Pamplona bulls by the horns.
The incumbent Bunyasi trounced yet another older generation contestant who was vying on an Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) ticket which was at the time considered the most powerful party swaying the ground against Bunyasi’s United Democratic Front (UDF) – the loser was the ODM candidate Godfrey Mulanya a lawyer by profession from the Bukhayo Central ward area.
Indeed it is from this background that the entry of the youthful Namulanda a senior professional mainstream media personality with one of the leading Media houses in the country is likely to trigger the explosion of a major political thunderstorm in Nambale constituency’s politics this time round.
In the brewing storm for the 2017 elections for the constituency’s legislator all those who have officially publicly declared interest to battle it out by virtue of age they are older than Namulanda thus making them vulnerable to the possible massive fallouts with the powerful numerical strength of the constituency’s youthful vote and that of the easily swayed mothers.
It goes without saying that the incumbent Bunyasi has repeatedly made known publicly that he will be defending his thus making him contestant number one on the list of those who have declared as he guns for the second term in office.
The ODM loser at the last general elections Mulanya has also publicly declared publicly his determination to vie for the seat a second time despite virtually disappearing from the constituency’s active political radar since the end of the last general elections.
The other personalities un-doubtedly of the older generation compared to Namulanda is Okemo’s former Personal Assistant and immediate former Director Resource Mobilization of the Busia County Peter Odima and another Journalist or media personality Joseph Barasa who is very active on social media platforms doubling up as a human rights activist and also known for tirelessly fighting for the sugar industry in Kenya among many other hats.
The most interesting emerging scenario are un-confirmed reports that after losing out at the last general elections for the senatorial post, the former Nambale legislator Chrisanthus Barnabas Okemo is coming to try and wrestle the Nambale constituency seat from his cousin at the next year’s 2017 general elections where of course he will also meet his former P.A. ceteris paribus (everything remaining the same as reported or equal).
Though Namulanda has not officially come out to publicly declare his contest for the seat, what is clear is the fact that when he indeed throws in his weight and storms into the fray next year this most likely to bring the toughest challenge to the youthful generation of the constituency whether they stand on their own and vote as a block for one of their own generation and how much they can influence the mothers’ votes who are usually highly partial to their sons than daughters.
He is also lucky that he comes right from the middle of the constituency that of Emukhuyu and Makina areas combined with Kisoko being the biggest voting bloc of the constituency. Ironically just like Okemo and Bunyasi they all come from highly Christian homes, but Namulanda being the first from a staunch Anglican family while the others are from the Catholic Church.
It remains to be seen how Namulanda is going to galvanize this powerful voting blocs from the clutches of the older generation contestants, but what is clear is the fact that these two are the most powerful voting blocs in Nambale constituency through the power of their tyranny of numbers when unleashed by the holder will spell doom for any contestant.
It must also not be forgotten that as a matter of fact the constituency has over the decades sired many media personalities of the highest qualities ever; Namulanda being one of them is indeed making history for being the first among this professional lot to declare interest to fight it out of this national legislative position of the constituency.
Kizito made his mark in the media industry when he was part of a Kenyan Team of Journalists dispatched to Tanzania by the Nation Media Group in 2005 to expedite for its expansion programme in that country but were deported on orders of the then President Jakaya Mirisho Kikwete.
Back in Kenya with Standard Group’s KTN he became the brain child of that TV station highly popular investigative programme Jicho Pevu but which went down after Namulanda was moved from KTN where he was pulled from it by the management to other duties.
-Additional Reports By Musa Radoli