Kandara Constituency: Freedom hero's son enters duel for Toro's seat

A son of former freedom hero Bildard Kaggia has joined the growing list of aspirants for the Kandara parliamentary seat occupied by Roads assistant minister Joshua Toro.

Mr Mwaganu wa Kaggia, 57, is the latest entry into the race for the seat which has attracted at least 14 people.

He hopes to ride on his father’s legendary name.

Senior Kaggia was among the Kapenguria Six pre-independence freedom fighters who were imprisoned with founding President Jomo Kenyatta.

Mr Achieng’ Oneko was the last of the six to die last May. Others were Mr Paul Ngei, Mr Kung’u Karumba and Mr Fred Kubai.

Party banned

Mr Kaggia represented Kandara between 1963 and 1966 when he differed with Mr Kenyatta and walked out of Kanu with the late Jaramogi Oginga Odinga to start the Kenya Peoples Union that was later banned.

He failed to re-capture the seat in the subsequent “little elections” on the KPU ticket which had become so unpopular in Central Province because it was perceived to be undermining Mr Kenyatta’s authority.

Mr Kaggia retreated to the village where he operated a posho mill business.

Mr Mwaganu has just returned from the United States where was engaged in consultancy. His ambition is to pick up from where his father left and hopes to represent the constituency once held by the freedom fighter.

Mr Mwaganu who has associated himself with human rights activities in the recent past, has the difficult task of trying to fit in his father’s shoes in the wake of stiff competition from Mr Toro.

He has been supporting orphaned children and building homes for the destitute and HIV/ Aids patients.

Many voters in Kandara feel that Mr Kaggia got a raw deal from both the Kenyatta and Moi regimes.

As a result, his eldest son’s entry into politics may elicit sympathy votes.

Although the Kibaki administration repaired his rural house and built a mausoleum for the freedom hero besides starting the tarmacking of an access road to his home, the family feels it was not enough compensation and that the gesture came too late in the day.

“I have been compelled to join politics as a way of offering transparent and just leadership and effectively tackle the myriad problems that continue to ravage the people of Kandara,” says Mr Mwaganu.

Agriculture, he adds, will be his main focus and blames dishonest leadership for the woes facing farmers particularly in the coffee sub-sector.

However, Mr Mwaganu’s debut into elective politics in Kandara could prove to be an uphill task.

Mr Toro is tactful politician who has been credited for various CDF projects.

Still, he will be fighting a crowd of other aspirants who had entered the race much earlier and are more familiar with the grassroots.

They rights advocate Alice Muthoni Wahome, retired Nairobi deputy clerk Mr P.M.G Kamau, civic leader Maina wa Kamau, Mombasa-based hotelier Daniel Kihiko and architect David Muraya.

Others are retired banker Gakumo Warui, Mr Mburu Mwaura, an engineer, Thika-based advocate Kamau Mbiyu, Bishop Boniface Karechio and Ms Veronica Waithera.

Former area MP Gacuru wa Karenge who served between 1992 and 1997, is also fighting for a place in the next Parliament.

Also in the race is Mr William Mugo, a retired education officer who runs a number of private schools.

Ms Wahome entered the duel with a bang and pulled a surprise by winning the recent Narc-K elections, beating at least five opponents and the incumbent who, however, staged a parallel election.

Married in Nyeri

She has often shrugged off criticism about her being married in Nyeri.

She seems to be winning favour in her birth place but Mr Toro remains undisturbed by the onslaught he faces and is confident to retain the seat for the third time.

He claims credit for ongoing reconstruction and recarpeting of the Thika-Kandara-Githumu and Kabati-Kagundu-ini-Kariua roads.

He has initiated repair of roads in the constituency including Makenzi-Muruka-Kandara and Karugia-Ngurwe-ini-Kagira-Turuturu stretches.

All indications are that the MP has his act sewn up.

His ouster would require united opposition by his opponents but such a move is most unlikely.

Party politics will also play a part and whoever clinches either the Narc-K or Democratic Party — both friendly to Mr Kibaki–will compete favourably in the final leg.

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