Mwala Constituency: Don likely to give Katuku rough time

Water minister Mutua Katuku is a man under siege as campaigns in his constituency become nasty, with sideshows taking the centre stage. And, quite unusual in Ukambani, politics is now the major subject at funerals as prospective candidates publicly criticise each other when given the opportunity to address mourners.

Last weekend, people attending the burial of former Masii councillor William Kimongo were treated to a theatre of the absurd when virtually all the leading contenders tore into each other. It was the same scenario during the recent burial of Mr Eric Mutua Mulu, who until his death was eyeing the seat after losing in 2002.

The hopefuls include Dr Faith Ndunge Muli, former National Intelligence Service director William Kivuvani, Pastor Jeremiah Muoki, Mr Kilungu and a one-time Nairobi provincial police officer, Mr Geoffrey Mwathe.

Others are Mr Joshua Musili, Mr Paul Mbatha, Mr Boniface Mutua Musyoki, Mr Felix Musyoka, Mr Urbanus Muthama, Mr Harrison Wambua, Mr Paul Mbatha and Mr John Luusa.

Also said to be in the race is former MP Peter Kavisi of Kanu.

Mr Kivuvani says Mr Katuku has outlived his usefulness to voters and that it was time he was ousted. But the MP dismisses him and the other opponents, and promises to fight to retain the seat.

And if past results are anything to go by, Mr Kivuvani is likely to complicate matters for the incumbent as he has recently come in forcefully and appears to still enjoy some fanatical support at his strongholds.

Mr Katuku’s opponents have zoned the constituency to lock him out, especially in areas where the minister has had hostile reception in recent days. The opponents are taking advantage of the constituency’s complex voting pattern in which nothing can be taken for granted.

The five zones that are always crucial at every election are Wamunyu, Yathui, Vyulya, Masii and Mbiuni. So far hopefuls who have shown seriousness in their campaigns are from outside Mbiuni. This means that Mbiuni with more than 13,000 registered voters, will be targeted by every candidate to provide the necessary swing vote.

There is talk that Mwala is likely to be split, and if this happens, the beneficiary is likely to be Mr Katuku who comes from Yathui, but with ancestral home at nearby Ikaalasa.

Mr Katuku faces two experienced politicians in Mr Kivuvani and Mr Muoki. Mr Kivuvani stretched the MP in expensive campaigns in 1997 when he vied on the Social Democratic Party ticket before going down by 16,748 to 12,193 votes. Both politicians are fairly wealthy and have tested the MP’s strength and know his style of politics.

Mr Kivuvani missed out during the 2002 elections.

Mr Katuku vied on the Narc ticket and beat Mr Muoki who, incidentally, had played a leading role in the MP’s 1997 election campaigns.

Mr Muoki was poised to bag the Narc ticket, but it was Mr Katuku, then a close ally of Health minister Charity Ngilu, who benefited from direct nomination.

Mr Muoki accuses the MP of managing the CDF cash poorly. And although he was instrumental in the minister’s first campaigns, he says he should be kicked out, accusing him of having failed to deliver.

Mr Muoki, who intends to vie on an ODM Kenya ticket, cites the Sh3.5 million Miu river bridge which was swept away by floods a few weeks after it was officially opened, as an example of poor CDF money management. But Mr Katuku rejects the accusations, arguing that the provision of water, education and good health are the key sectors the residents should expect from the CDF.

Of the Sh125.6 million allocated to the area CDF since 2003, Sh54 million had gone into water projects, Sh43.9 million into education and Sh12 million in health, he says.

Roads took Sh4.2 million, agriculture Sh1 million and Sh10 million was used to respond to emergencies like drought and damage caused by rain and wind.

To silence his critics, the minister recently published The Mwala CDF Newsletter highlighting what he considers his achievements.

But youthful hopeful Kilungu appears to have problems with the minister’s statistics, saying that they are exaggerated.

He resigned recently from the Kenya Bureau of Standards, and says the performance of the incumbent is wanting, especially in matters affecting the youth.

Mr Kilungu, who is of a humble background, having grown up an orphan and educated by a sponsor from Scotland, is reciprocating the gesture by sponsoring orphans in schools.

Nicknamed the Livondo of Mwala by virtue of his liberal dishing out of money from a helicopter, the 39-year-old is known for generosity when it comes to projects and social events.

But it is the entry into the fray of top pathologist and Kenyatta University lecturer Faith Muli, 46, that is sending shivers down the spines of the male hopefuls.

Two recent initiatives in the education field have given Dr Muli the necessary fillip.

In Machakos, she has come up with the first private medical training institute — Machakos Medical Technical Training College. And recently, through Kenyatta University, she helped to introduce degree courses in medicine, nursing and laboratory technology at Machakos general hospital.

Dr Muli is also the chairperson of the Kenya Medical Laboratory Technicians and Technologists board.

Under her watch, Kenyatta University has begun humanity courses at Kitui teachers college. She says the time for leaders with no credentials is long gone, and urges voters to this time go for “real managers” who will help to alleviate poverty and foster development.

She is a founder chairman of the Ukamba Professional Society for Socio-Economic Development for all universities in Kenya, and is eyeing the Liberal Party of Kenya ticket.

Dr Muli says education is still elusive to many people in Mwala despite free learning, and blames the situation on poverty and high HIV/Aids prevalence.

A former Masaku county council chairman, Mr Ngalatu Musau, who is also in the race, is a formidable opponent with a strong base in Wamunyu.

Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Mwala Constituency: Don likely to give Katuku rough time

Anonymous said...

We the people of mwala voted for a change in the flawed 2008 General elections only to find that we took the wrong person for the job.The incumbent M.P is a non performer.He went to the parliament to sit,listen and watch.He is doing little if not nothing in developing the constituency.Those are the kind of leader we will send packing come 2012.Why can't we get people who think of drilling boreholes,constructing hospitals and schools,lighting the constituency and improving road network.If only we could get ukambani leaders following steps of Hon.Haroun Mwau and Hon.Johnstone Muthama we will never require relief food but farming incentives and expatriates in Agriculture Sector.

Anonymous said...

I beg to disagree with comments of Dec 18th 2008 by the anonymous 1. Urging Ukambani people to follow the foot steps of Hon. Haroun Mwau and Hon. Jonstone Muthama will lead to more disillusioned drug traffickers and illegal gemstone mafia thugs. We are lacking leadership in Ukambani and we are in dare need of at least one! at least one! at least real leader! if we get two, we will praise God for that. Where are our young men and women?. We have for so long tirelessly educated our own, some geniuses schooled at Starehe Boys centre & school and others at alliance high school to just to mention a few, but look at where we are now?. We cannot even feed ourselves!!!. I feel so embarrassed. YOU YOUNG MEN AND WOMEN WAKE UP. WE NEED YOU NOW LIKE NEVER BEFORE
Financial strength is not a measure of the ability to lead, but rather the ability to get others do better in what they know how to do best.

Anonymous said...

Ukambani folks, wake up from your deep sleep. you have been left out of events due to the fact that you choose leaders who are even sleepier than you are. wake up and remember the song that says "Amukomete amukai, amukomete amukai...." you will be left out this time if you don't choose your leaders wisely. Dont be bribed by madazi of 5 bob and you choose a leader to go and sleep in the parliament. Like when is the last time you saw your mr. katuku standing in parliament at least even to raise a point of order, your leaders are asleep and they will infect you folks. Be careful!!!look at CDF money, he is just feeding on it and the schools are tailing in national examinations, roads are impassable especially rainy seasons as if there is any much rains that we receive, look at water, people are buying water at 300 bob per drum, what a mess???? veronicah.