Interior CS Dr. Fred Matiang'i is set for a rude shock as provisional results in the hotly contested Bonchari Constituency by-election stream in. Clear indications are that Orange Democratic Movement Party's candidate Pavel Oimeke has taken a clear lead.
Front-runner Pavel Oimeke of the ODM Party casts his vote at Nyamare Primary School at the start of the voting exercise.
Through overt manipulation of the police, county commissioner, and chiefs Matiang'i threw his weight behind the Jubilee Party candidate Zebedeo Opore. Details are now emerging of how the Interior CS broke the silent pact between Orange Democratic Movement Party and Jubilee Party to field a single candidate in the by-elections just to flex his muscles in his Gusii backyard before pursuing national ambitions.
Dr. Fred Matiang'i has an oversight role in national development projects giving him a headstart in the presidential race. A win in Bonchari would have helped erase the perception that he is good in boardrooms but a greenhorn in politics.
CS Matiang'i who chairs Cabinet Committee on development is said to nurse presidential ambitions and was using Bonchari as a springboard to his 2022 campaigns. His front-men Kitutu Chache North MP Jimmy Ang'wenyi and his Kitutu Chache South counterpart Richard Onyonka spearheaded Opore's campaign.
Up to late last evening, an unusually heavy contingent of police officers was deployed in Bonchari. Earlier in the day, the Orange Democratic Movement Party through its Secretary-General Edwin Sifuna had protested to open acts of intimidation involving incidents where the residence of Governor James Ongwae was raided and former MP Timothy Bosire who was the ODM Party Chief Agent in the elections was prevented from leaving a hotel in Kisii town.
Dr. Fred Matiang'i: A loss in Bonchari is a big blow to his presidential ambitions
For Matiang'i it has been a do-or-die battle and it's not known to what extent he might go to interfere with the democratic space in the Bonchari Constituency by-election. For deputy president, William Ruto's UDA Party Bonchari was a prime opportunity to extend its influence in Gusiland ahead of 2022. For ODM Party it was an opportunity to stamp its authority in the region with a first Constituency victory. Although the Governor and the Senator of Kisii County are all ODM Party members the party does not have a single MP in the region.
Political might and administrative clout have been at play in the intriguing Bonchari Constituency by-election. Already provisional results show the ODM Party candidate Pavel Oimeke as having the lead. Should that situation remain constant then Dr. Fred Matiang'i would be in for a literal slap in the face as all the State machinery he had at his disposal fails to translate into votes.
Following the ruthless police handling of ODM Party agents in Bonchari the Party Secretary-General has indicated that it's time to take stock of how genuine is the political marriage between Jubilee and the ODM Party.
Meanwhile, the nascent United Democratic Alliance (UDA) has good reason to remain upbeat as its candidate Francis Muraya Githaiga emerged triumphant in Rurii Ward by-elections. In the hotly-contested Juja Constituency by-elections, George Ndung'u Koimburi a candidate associated with Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria who is a close ally of deputy president William Ruto is set to carry the day. Just like in Bonchari Constituency State interference and intimidation have been recorded in Juja Constituency.
Nyanza Regional Police Commander Karanja Muiruri was on call in Bonchari.
Whatever the outcome of the final results in the by-elections the will of the people would have triumphed over State interference in democratic processes.
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