By Malemba Mkongo
Published by the The Star Newspaper
The 2017 elections will prove to be a tough war for old and senior politicians standing for positions in Taita Taveta county.
The elections will see the entrance of fresh and young blood indulging into politics and are expected to be obstacles to senior politicians seeking re-election. Most of the new comers likely to win can be categorised as under 40s.
The incoming politicians have received immense support from the seniors, with most of them being termed as “projects” of various politicians who will be vying for the top seat.
Some of the youthful politicians have been placed strategically to defeat opponents due to the influence and the crowd they command, specifically the youth. It is alleged some of the aspirants are bowing to pressure to vie for the seats to please their ‘masters’. Top on the list is the only senatorial aspirant, Stephen Mwadime, 26.
He is the only contender who has come out to publicly announce his intentions to vie. Mwadime is among the youngest people who have caused ripples in the county after declaring his ambitions. He says a person should not be judged by their age or experience, but by their character.
The senatorial aspirant who successfully clinched the secretary general position at Kenya University Student Association in 2014 has high chances of winning, due to his young age. Mwadime has described Senator Dan Mwazo as a dormant leader, who “should be sent home early”.
He said Mwazo has failed his electorates as he has never performed his duties as outlined in the constitution.
“Mwazo has failed our people and I am the better option. He has never even demanded accountability in the county government, which is one his duties,” he said.
Mwadime refutes claims he is a “project” placed to oust Mwazo, who seems to have shifted his allegiance to Jubilee. Newton Kifuso, 30, is also a force to reckon in the Taita politics, as he will be making a comeback in the next elections.
Kifuso, a Nairobi lawyer, stood against the current Wundanyi MP in the 2013 elections and narrowly lost to Thomas Mwadeghu.
He is expected to vie for the Wundanyi parliamentary seat, as Mwadeghu has announced he will try to unseat Taita Taveta Governor John Mruttu.
However, Kifuso is set to face a stiff competition from Mwadeghu’s pointman Costa Mwikamba. Mwadeghu is said to be in talks with Mwikamba to convince him to vie for the seat, although Mwikamba is yet to declare whether he will vie.
Political analysts says every governor seat contender has a list of people who they will be fronting next year.
Wundanyi MP Thomas Mwadeghu, Taita Taveta Governor John Mruttu and others already have their people working on the ground.
Many old contenders are going for more influential positions as the newcomers, who are much younger, are going for the lower positions.
Ethnic or community politics still seems to be at play, as the ‘projects’ are still being sought from the same community as their political masters.
This is because the masters do not want the positions to go to people they term as ‘outsiders’. Mwadeghu is fronting pointman Costa Mwikamba, who is from his home area – Mghange Dawida.
Stephen Mwadime is a beneficiary of the Political Leadership and Governance training offered by Frierich Ebert Stiftung.Click on the link below to find out more about it.