The Star (Nairobi)

Kenya: Battle of the Titans as Mutula Joins Race for Makueni Senator

Education minister Mutula Kilonzo launched his bid for Makueni Senator on Saturday at Unoa grounds in Wote town. This brings to three the number of aspirants for the seat.

Kilome MP Harun Mwau and Agriculture assistant minister Gideon Ndambuki have already kicked off their campaigns. Kilonzo has declared publicly that he will sign the certificate for whoever shall win the senator's candidature during Wiper's primaries.

During his tenure as Constitutional minister, he delivered the new boosting his standing. Kilonzo has however been criticised as too elitist and a little out of touch with the realities facing majority of the people of Makueni, such as recurrent famine, poverty, water and poor infrastructure.

The Mbooni MP won by a landslide in 2007 but his constituents accuse him of concentrating more on national issues and neglecting them.

After the 2001 by-election in Kilome when Mwau first ventured into politics following the death MP Tony Ndilinge, he built a reputation as a no-nonsense politician keen on uplifting the lives of the ordinary people.

Although he lost to the little-known Mutinda Mutiso of Kanu, he financed the installation of electricity and roads into some of the remotest parts leaving an indelible mark in the lives of the people.

Since he won the Kilome seat in 2007, Mwau has built a significant following across the county thanks to his generous contributions to social institutions.

His party ticket, the Party of Independent Candidates of Kenya founded in 1992, does not command a euphoric following in Ukambani like Wiper.

Ndambuki joined politics in 1997.

The three-time Kaiti MP survived the Narc onslaught to be re-elected as the only Kanu MP from Ukambani in the 2002 general elections.

Ndambuki's Constituency Development Fund has earned recognition for initiating diverse projects in water, horticulture, education and roads.

While Mutula and Mwau are criticised for being too elitist and urbane, Ndambuki has kept a close touch with his constituents and is a common face in villages and Wote county headquarters attending government and public meetings.

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