BY PASCAL MWANDAMBO
Barely nine months to the next general elections, politicians in Taita-Taveta County have begun sending signals of a bruising battle as they reinforce their political arsenals.
Perhaps the most glaring was the declaration by Taita-Taveta senator Dan Mwazo of an impending “Tsunami” in the county starting next year.
Speaking at Kamkunji ground in Voi town where he endorsed Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka as the presidential flag bearer, Sen Mwazo said he would make a bold statement in January concerning which political party he would use as a platform for his quest for the governors post in the forthcoming polls.
Mwazo, who received wild cheer from the crowd, said speculations that he was ditching Cord for another political outfit were baseless and unfounded.
“I want to confirm to everybody here that I am in Cord to stay. But come January I will make a major announcement and from there, expect a political tsunami”, said Mwazo.
However, it was not lost to many that all is not well between the senator and ODM leader Raila Odinga, who have been bosom buddies since the last elections.
Sen Mwazo has been conspicuously missing in virtually all functions presided by the Cord leader in the county including the latest where Raila visited Kasigau, Mwazos home turf.
This has led to speculation that all is not well between the two leaders, but the questions lingering in the minds of many is what could exactly have led to the fallout.
Mwazo was livid : “I attended this (Kalonzo) rally because the Wiper leader had called me personally and invited me to this function, unlike others who have been visiting the county without notifying me,” said Mwazo in a broadside likely meant for Raila.
However, despite Mwazo skirting around the party issue as far as his quest for the governors post is concerned, highly placed sources at the Wiper party intimated that the senator had decamped to the “Umbrella,” party.
Mwazo is seen as the likely candidate to give incumbent John Mruttu a run for his money in spite of his lackluster performance as a senator.
The senator’s oversight role has hardly been felt in the county while hundreds of millions have been lost through rampant corruption both in the county assembly and the executive.
However, Mwazo can largely bank on the various development projects he undertook through CDF while he served as Voi MP between 2007 and 2013, before he became senator.
Mwazo has also not been adversely mentioned in any graft scandal and this might be one more feather in his cap.
Others eying the gubernatorial seat are Wundanyi MP Thomas Mwadeghu and Granton Samboja, who is largely viewed as the Jubilee point man in the county and a voice for the youth.
Another political seat that is likely to draw first blood is the women Rep with about ten candidates eyeing the same.
Incumbent Joyce Lay will face off with two former Voi mayors Hope Sanguli and Pricillah Mwangeka as well as Anna Kina of the Jubilee Party. Nominated MCA representing people with disability Rosina Kisochi who is also in the race says she wants to be the first woman with disability to clinch the seat of Women Rep in the country.
On the other hand, a number of MCAs have pulled up their socks and now want to vie for parliamentary seats. These include Raymond Mwangola(Wundanyi), Flumence Mshila(Mwatate) and John Maghanga (Voi).
At the same time two of Mruttu’s county cabinet members will seek elective posts come next year.
Agriculture’s Harrison Mghana will make a stab at the Mwatate parliamentary seat while Eng. Elijah Mwandoe of industrialization,energy and ICT will vie for senator seat.
captions: top- down:
1.Senator Dan Mwazo with Cord leader Raila Odinga before things fell apart
2.Governor John Mruttu
3.Women Rep Joyce Lay
4.Wundanyi MP aspirant Ray Mwangola
5.Senator asprirant Eng Elijah Mwandoe
6.Jubilee women Rep aspirant Anna Kina