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Kenya: A battle for Bungoma Senatorial seat – By-election December 2013

Posted by African Press International on December 4, 2013

  • BY GODFREY WAMALWA,  BUNGOMA SENATORIAL BY ELECTION ANALYSIS,

The Search for votes  by Candidates  in the ongoing  campaign  in the Bungoma  County Senatorial  seat  by-election slated  for   December 19  have reached fever  pitch even before the  official campaign period  by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries  Commission – IEBC  begins in earnest.

It is  not therefore  surprising that  political  observers and   pundits  have been  filing diverse  reports about  the by-election which  is slated to be one of the most grueling  political fights  ever to be witnessed in Bungoma County in  recent years.  While there are  four candidates   cleared by IEBC to  contest, there is no question that the real fight in this  race  will be  between  the former immediate Senator  Moses Masika   Wetang’ula   of Ford Kenya in the  Cord Coalition  and Musikari Nazi Kombo  of New Ford Kenya  in the Amani Coalition.

At the outset, this  titanic  battle   started much earlier  than the  real election  fight  because  when   Justice Francis Gikonyo of the High Court  sitting in Bungoma nullified Wetang’ula ‘s  election  word went around that Wetang’ula  had committed  and Election  offence of  bribery hence  would be  barred  from  participating  in the by-election.

But it turned water under the  bridge as the same  judge  later  clarified     his ruling, that  he   had not  barred  anyone. Unfortunately  Musikari Kombo and his supporters  got so excited  that they seemed to have been carried away by  the initial decision  of the court following which  they made all and sundry here in Bungoma   believe that Wetang’ula    would  not be  on the ballot  after all  and that  Kombo was set for  a  landslide  field day  and victory  against  former Bumula Mp Bifwoli Wakoli and  Journalist David Makali.

Bungoma political reviewers argue that, the by-election will not be between Kombo and Wetangula. It will be far much bigger than the two. It is likely to pit former PM Raila Odinga and his CORD brigade, against President Uhuru’s Jubilee. CORD shall be fighting two wars, to return the only CORD principal and CORD’s leader of Minority in the senate, and to confirm its firm hold on Western Kenya. Jubilee on the other hand shall seek to cement its upper house ‘tyranny of numbers’ and to prove to CORD that it is pulling the rug from right under its feet in Western.

The general  perception and   consensus   among   majority of the voting Public  in  the County  is that Moses Wetang’ula   is   a victim of vendetta   by the Jubilee Government which has always viewed  him   with suspicion particularly because of  his sometime  hard and uncompromising stance on  a number  of  issues in Governance, land  matters and most of all and  his surprise move to   join   Raila  Odinga and  Kalonzo’s  Cord Coalition in the runner-up to the   2013  General Elections.

The two main contenders , Moses Masika  Wetang’ula  and Musikari Nazi Kombo   have been holding  meetings  and caucuses  to drum up support  for their candidature   in different parts  of the County, but the measure  of what kind and level of support or following  that they are likely  to get from  voters was demonstrated on the subsequent  days when the candidates presented their  nomination papers to the IEBC  and thereafter  addressed Public rallies  at the legendary Posta grounds  in Bungoma.

Kombo was the first one to present his papers after which he addressed a poorly attended public rally at the grounds where  apart from   motor cycle boda boda  riders  who escorted him the whole way from Webuye, and  a trickle  of by standers  he was  accompanied by two members of Parliament, Bungoma Woment Representative Reginalda Wanyonyi and Webuye East Mp Eng. Alfred Wekesa Sambu plus NFK  County Representatives. It was however surprising that  Mps from Kombo’s New Ford Kenya Party skipped the event and have been lukewarm  in their expected support for Kombo whose campaign is being spearheaded by their own  NFK Party Leader Eugene Wamalwa.

Wetang’ula  on his part presented his papers  the following day after Kombo’s  presentation  and immediately thereafter  convened  a well  attended  mammoth  public rally at the Posta Grounds which was  graced  by his co- principals  in Cord Coalition, Raila  Odinga and Kalonzo Musyoka  and attended by eight Senators, Twenty Five Members of Parliament and  over Sixty County Representatives drawn from across  the political divide, the region  and  the Nation at large.

Commenting on the  massive attendance and speeches  made at the Posta Grounds Rally by local and visiting politicians, Professor Charles  Kibanani Ngome  of  Masinde Muliro  University  of Science and Technology in Kakamega said that there was no doubt that Wetang’ula   had an upper  hand  and  early head start arising from the apparent mishandling of the Election  petition  filed  against him by  Kombo .

In  the meetings and caucuses, the candidates have been targeting key voter rich constituencies  and  minorities  with hope that these groups  will tilt the scales particularly  against  opponents who are  seen to command massive following  of the predominant Bukusu Luhya sub-tribe.

Webuye East Mp Alfred Sambu and Kombo   has spent a lot of time  persuading  the Tachoni,  a large non-Bukusu  Luhya sub-tribe to rally behind his candidature, but the Tachoni   Elders  led by their Chairman  Wasilwa Wasike   said  that they are against the decision by their MP   to support Kombo  when the issues that have always affected the tachoni have been completely ignored by Kombo.

In a recent meeting in Webuye,NFK leader Eugene Wamalwa said that as the party leader, what he is interested in is to see NFK reclaim the seat, which he said it won, but was denied through electoral fraud. “We are aware CORD campaigns will be about pure propaganda, painting NFK as a Jubilee project, and we are ready for it. The people of Bungoma should know the by-election would be about reclaiming an NFK win that was stolen in the March 4 general elections through fraud. It will be a contest between NFK and Ford Kenya and people should stop hiding behind larger coalitions,” said Wamalwa.

Political observers aver that the contest between Kombo and Wetang’ula, if it comes to be, may go down in history as the toughest and most bruising political battles in Luhya-land since independence.

In a recent political rally at Bungoma posta ground,CORD  leaders came out to paint Jubilee as a coalition that has no interest  to Western people, after locking out the region in major political appointments through what some leaders from the region now refer to as “politics of exclusion”.

There has been some disquiet among the western region people who the Jubilee administration has sidelined the community when it comes to appointments to various senior public offices on   appointment of Cabinet Secretaries, Principal Secretaries to parastatal heads and even diplomats, there is a feeling that Jubilee gave the Luhya community a raw deal, perhaps in punishment for the minimal support the coalition got in the last elections.

But recently Webuye East Mp Alfred Sambu in a meeting stated that  President Uhuru  is committed   in reviving the long dead Webuye panpaper mills. This is likely to cause jitters among CORD top brass.

Analysist aver now it is a ripe time for the government  to dangle carrots and throw goodies to the residents of Bungoma in a bid to sway them the Jubilee way. It will not be surprising if some ministry sprang up and the position thrown to someone from the Bukusu soil, or some diplomatic position or senior government office thrown our way.

Virtually all industries in the county are on their death-beds, this could be another good political target by the Jubilee strategists. Governor Lusaka, elected on Amani Coalitions New Ford Kenya (NFK) will be a key link by the Jubilee government in penetrating the county. He is said to have been part of the president Uhuru’s team when he visited China.

He was on hand to welcome Deputy President William Ruto to the region and led the other MPs present in declaring willingness to work with the Jubilee government. Being the governor and in charge of the county’s resources, and coming from a coalition friendly to the government, Lusaka is said to have roots in Tachoni region  has instructed his people to drum up support for Kombo in the senatorial campaigns. But Lusaka has denied that is has remained neutral in the by elections campaigns.

Raila troops  on the other hand are seeking to whip anti-government sentiments, that are already evident on the ground. The Raila,Musyoka,Wetangula  brigade are of the fact that only one Luhya, and a lady for that matter, was appointed to the cabinet. It is also seeking to play the ‘stolen election’ card on the community  the loss by CORD to Jubilee in the March 4 polls elections, believed to have been controversial.

Other  factors that have influenced  the senatorial race  in the county is number of candidates in the race, the battle is  between the candidate backed by Jubilee and that backed by CORD. Amani Coalition has three out of nine MPs and one MP, Hon. John Serut won as an independent candidate. The Amani MPs as well as Hon. Serut  has thrown  his weight behind the Jubilee-backed candidate.

In the last elections, even Amani affiliate parties could not agree on a single candidate, with NFK fielding Kombo and Musalia Mudavadi’s United Democratic Front (UDF) fronting Dr. Mukhisa Kituyi.

 

End

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Kenya: SHAME AS COMMUNITY TAKES CHARGE OF A DESERTED SCHOOL RUNNING WITHOUT CDF.

Posted by African Press International on November 1, 2013

BY GODFREY  WAMALWA,BUNGOMA NEWS,11/10/2013

As the CDF project’s sign posts recently looks to dominate main streets in
the country since inception, threatening to replace the all-over- littered
commercial billboards, St. Andrews Secondary School in Webuye Constituency
in Bungoma County belongs to its own league with a rare history of running
for five years without allocation from the Constituency Development fund.

A mere mention of politics to the desperate students of  deserted St.
Andrews Matulo Secondary school and the community at large sends cold spine
after their unwavering efforts to attract funding from the constituency
development fund  has hit a snag for nearly half  a decade ago in a school
that is merely surviving on grants and well wishers.

For them, they say, CDF is a vocabulary that has never come to reality
since the school started its operations in 2007.

Disregard and neglect is the literal picture you meet as one finds the way
in the school, one is mystified as you meet two sign posts on one gate
entering the seemingly abandoned institution currently sharing classrooms
with primary school pupils.

The future of close to three hundred students at St. Andrews is at cross
roads as pupils take their classes under threes.

Recently initiated strict legislative laws barring politicians from
carrying fundraising seem a last nail on the coffin to develop the school
and improve its infrastructure after the politician’s initiative was faced
off by the interim independent electoral commission.

‘’This school was started in 2008 as a community initiative to address the
surging population of pupils in the region with limited facilities. The
school has however come to this level through the community donations and
parents alongside the church sponsorship’’, says Asman Wafula,the
principle, at his makeshift office on the verandah of the ongoing
incomplete four roomed building.

The principle however says that the primary section has succumbed to
overloaded population pressure from the secondary school students taking
their tuition from the facility compelling them to tender a notice to
vacate the facility.

‘’We received a notice to vacate the premises where  more than thirty form
four students are taking their classes from in preparation for the final
examinations due in November’’, Said the principle.

Courage and hope is the picture that smacks faces of the apprentices and
teachers in the school as students line up with pupils at the latrines to
attend to calls of nature in an environment that struggles to co-exist in a
bid to attain the basic fundamental rights education.

According to the school principal, Mr.Wafula, the school has had to wade
through thick and thin to register commendable results besides the hurdles
to achieve three direct entries in the university last year.

‘’We took three students to the university last year and attained a mean
grade of 5.5 in KCSE. We however look forward to attain better results
given support from the Educational ministry and the Constituency
Development Fund ‘’, said the principal heading a staff of eight teachers
with four-posted by teachers service commission (TSC).

Mr. Wafula says, ‘’with enough infrastructures and sufficient posting of
teachers the school has a better capacity to register better results’’.

The board Chairman Mr. Anzel Mukhweso pointed out that students operation
has been notoriously hampered by the weather due to lack of infrastructure.

The community says it has been made to believe that the political rivalry
between the Nominated MP Musikari Kombo and the incumbent Alfred Sambu is
the cause of the hues and torment they are facing to make their innocent
pupils acquire basic education as the CDF tenure gets to the end in two
months time.

The former deputy Mayor Webuye Municipal Paul Wanyonyi warned the MP from dragging
politics into development matters saying it threatens to hurt growth.

‘’Politics shapes development but in case bad politics infiltrates into
development then uneven distribution of resources takes centre stage where
the subject comes under attack ’’,said Wanyonyi.

He said that politics could not be isolated from that pathetic case in that
school citing abandonment and neglect from the leadership class.

He added that the area MP has used the fund as a political weapon punishing
innocent students.

Speaking to API, the area MP, Alfred Sambu denied the allegations
citing the poor representation by the local committee at the grassroots.

‘’I have not disowned the school nor dragged politics into the matter. This
is all to do with poor representation by the CDF committee at the local
level that has failed to make viable proposal for the project’s funding. I
however agree the school is in pathetic situation and needs funding to
rescue the situation ’’, said Sambu.

The area MP further told this writer that the myriad incomplete projects in
the constituency is the main cause of the predicament  with fear of
starting projects that cannot be finished.

‘’ I am not out to cast projects that cannot be utilized in the name of
pleasing the voters. My mission is to see the projects serve the desired
purpose’’, added the MP.

The area MP has in the recent come under hot critics for allegedly
discriminating some quarters of the constituency allied to his rival
nominated MP Musikari Kombo after the recent delimitation of the boundaries.

ENDS.

 

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Kenya: Education officer lauds Mbakalo school head

Posted by African Press International on June 17, 2013

  • BY GODFREY WAMALWA, BUNGOMA

Ministry of Education and parents from Bungoma North district have lauded  Mbakalo High School administration for its positive performance posted in the last year national examinations.

Speaking during district education day at Mukuyuni Girls High School,Bungoma North Education officer Mr George Ogando noted that Mbakalo High school principal Mr Habil Maliga for his school emerging academic giants in the area in 2012 KCSE examination.

Mr. Maliga commitment towards his career saw the school lead in the district thus being awarded as the best principal in the district.

The education officer also challenged other school heads to work extra hard to improve performances in their various schools.

Meanwhile the Kenya National Union of Teachers KNUT led by the Executive Secretary of Bungoma East District Mr. Aggrey Namisi has revealed that the transfer of teachers in the area  has been influenced by political influence from the area Member of Parliament Alfred Sambu.

He condemned political influence in running of schools which he said leads to poor performance in the schools and called upon Sambu to leave the education sector to be run by the set authorities in-charge of education in the district.

The unionist also claimed  the transfer to be against the law which does not permit for middle of the year transfers of teachers and called for the relevant authorities involved in the transfer to withdraw it.

“Transfer of teachers are supposed to be done at the end of the year and not at the middle of the year and that in itself tells us just how this transfer is not well founded,” said Namisi.

However, District Education Officer Mrs. Immaculate Obare noted the risks involved in students walking on the roadsides in the name of demonstrations and called upon the students to be communicating their grievances through relevant channels in the schools before going out on the streets to demonstrate.

ENDS

 

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Kenya: Giants Ndivisi Girls reawakens

Posted by African Press International on June 16, 2013

  • BY GODFREY  WAMALWA, BUNGOMA,

The problem of being or having an average child with a near perfect child and discipline is that you always be tussling to measure up and your shortcomings are likely to be magnified many times over.

And that could be what it feels like to be at Ndivisi Girls High School in Bungoma East district, the next school that is literally next door neighbor to the famous Lugulu Girls High School.

While Lugulu Girls is renown to be quintessence of excellence and discipline Ndivisi Girls has had its share of laying proper strategies to appear in a national map.

Yet Ndivisi Girls is determined to change its images for the better,with the school Sh.18 Million project  funded by webuye CDF for establishing  classroom block in Ndivisi Girls High School which is a provincial school situated in the new Webuye East Constituency that now educationists  believes might pose academic threat to  the much revered Lugulu Girls that is now in Webuye West Constituency but within the same district.

The recent book harvesting event,which saw school lovers donates book in hundreds, is considered to be one of its strategic plan aiming to turn the institution to be a centre of academic excellence and a product of high achievers that it was in the past.

The initiative has been received with enthusiasm from parents,teachers and students.The school now is expects exemplary performance from Form Four candidates because teachers have already  rolled up their sleeves through lead them in a series of exams  and other revision materials.

Gracing the colorful event,Bungoma east secondary schools head association chairperson Mr Christopher Manyonge applaueded the girls discipline as it has shown to do better compared to other years.

The noble event is set to provide the girls with enough learning materials to improve its national exam results.The school has risen from a mean score of 4.3(2009)5.3(2010) , 5.792(2011)and 5.077 in (2012).

On having a better disciplined body of students and flamboyant teaching staff,the school principal Mrs.Judith Wamocho has made significant strides since she took over as the principal.

With a manageable population of  360 students,Mrs.Wamocho vision is to see the school stand out as an oasis of academic and sporting success. She believes the feat can only be achieved through the institution’s ability to strike a balance between academic work and co-curriculum activities.

The school which in the recent past won national and the East Africa netball title,saw the gallant girls tour various parts of Africa and Kenya.

API has also established that due to its growing popularity, many students and parents have been trooping to the school hoping to gain admissions.

Mrs.Wamocho who is credited of her impressive development records and no-nonsense approach issues affecting her team, girls are now rolling up their sleeves for a duel of the century despite of the remoteness of the institution.

She is also determined to see her girls being assimilated at the national level and is trying to establish links with more learning materials.

The school idyllic setting is perfect for study and recreation.The management has also invested heavily in turning the premises green hence maintaining a clean,healthy environment while the strong Christian foundation influence puts discipline and self respect ahead of everything else.

An academician,Moses Andati,who admires  her  style of school management,argues that if given full support both from the government and entire Ndivisi community,the institution might be one of the admired schools in the region in the near future.

Attached is the school learning block that was funded by Webuye CDF.

 

ENDS

 

 

 

 

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