Big Names Emerge in Arati’s Choice for Kisii Deputy Governor

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Big Names Emerge in Arati’s Choice for Kisii Deputy Governor

The quest for the next Kisii deputy governor is heating up, with several candidates seeking to replace the impeached Dr. Robert Monda.

Notable people include Richard Tong’i, the immediate former MP for Nyaribari Chache; Mr. Hilary Nyaanga; Mr. James Kenani; and Eric Obino, a veteran journalist turned politician.

According to clan arithmetic, which resulted in a resounding victory for Governor Simba Arati in the 2022 elections, the deputy governor position belongs to the Abanyaribari of the vote-rich Nyaribari district.

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Dr. Monda is from Nyaribari Chache and was the area MP before Mr. Tong’i took charge. Zaheer Jhanda of President William Ruto’s United Democratic Party (UDA) defeated Mr. Tong’i, who ran for his seat with the Jubilee Party and was a member of the Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition Party, in the most recent elections.

Mr. Kenani, a former Kenya Pipeline Company chairman, finished third in the race on an Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) ticket, followed by Mr. Obino, who was making his maiden foray into elective politics on a Kanu ticket and is also an Azimio member.

According to a source familiar with the situation, a number of Kisii MCAs met in Nairobi yesterday and then met with Governor Arati to brainstorm potential successors for Dr. Monda. The Kisii County Assembly removed Dr. Monda from office last Thursday after a majority of senators voted to sustain his impeachment.

A larger group of MCAs will propose the selected name to the assembly tomorrow, following the Nairobi meeting. According to the report, “There is an urgent search for a new deputy governor as there is a feeling that Dr. Monda could head to court for a stay order to forestall any plans to fill the vacant position.”

In 2019, the Supreme Court ruled that governors have 14 days to nominate a deputy, after which the county assembly will vote within 60 days to reject or affirm the nominee. The court is Dr. Monda’s only option for saving his career, and it can only overturn the removal on procedural grounds.

Mr. Obino declared his willingness to serve, saying, “If people believe I can do the job, why not? I am willing to serve the people if given the opportunity.”

One of the leading contenders for the position is Mr. Tong’i. Governor Arati earned a large number of votes from Nyaribari. The clan aspect played a significant role in the distribution of top seats, as Governor Arati from the larger Ababasi clan had to choose a running mate from the Abanyaribari clan.

Kisii County’s prominent clans include the Abagetutu, Abanyaribari, Ababasi, Abanchari, Abamachoge, and Abagirango. Governor Arati’s choice of Dr. Monda as his running mate was a planned attempt to weaken his closest challenger in the gubernatorial race, Mr. Ezekiel Machogu (currently Education Cabinet Secretary), who is from Nyaribari Masaba and is competing for the 157,146 Nyaribari votes.

His other opponent, former Kisii Senator Prof. Sam Ongeri, is also from the region. Mr. Arati also enlisted Senator Richard Onyonka of the Abagetutu clan, the largest in the county. Former Governor Ongwae is from the Abagetutu clan.

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