11 August 2017

Kenya: Ngilu Triumphs as Wiper Party Fails to Hold Her Back

Former minister Charity Ngilu was Thursday basking in the glory of wresting the governor's seat from Dr Julius Malombe.

She beat another giant, Mr David Musila, to make history as the first woman governor in eastern region.

Mrs Ngilu has just revived her career that suffered a setback when she lost the Kitui senate race in 2013 and her 2015 sacking from the Cabinet.


She has also dislodged the dominant Wiper party from Kitui politics.

Mrs Ngilu hit the campaign trail last year after falling out with Jubilee, promising devolution dividends.

The 1997 presidential candidate fashioned herself as one who best understood the common man's problems, citing her impressive record as Kitui Central MP for 20 years.


The turning point in the campaign came on December 2016 when Mrs Ngilu escaped death while her political confidant and former Kitui Mayor Martha Mwangangi was crushed to death by a county fire engine.

A terrified Ngilu claimed she was the target of an assassination and that the former mayor died her death.


Dr Malombe, who was a distant third in this year's election, was pelted with stones and fled when he attended the burial of the former mayor at Kyanika Village.

Then came the rivalry within Wiper, where Dr Malombe and Senator Musila faced off.

Mrs Ngilu resisted pressure from Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka to fold her Narc party.


She threw her weight behind the National Super Alliance while still maintaining a distinct political identity and fielding candidates across Ukambani.

Her dalliance with Mr Musyoka was seen as a scheme to gain from the Kalonzo brand.

This put her in collision with Wiper rank-and-file, including Dr Malombe.

At some point, Mr Musyoka disowned her during his campaigns.


Mr Musyoka said he would only campaign for Wiper candidates, despite the governor and Mrs Ngilu working together under the Nasa umbrella.

"I'm happy we are speaking with one voice as a community, but Wiper needs numbers in national and county assemblies. Being in a party that is in competition with us, Ngilu must appreciate that," Mr Musyoka said.

The governor also protested to Mr Musyoka that he had not endorsed or campaigned for him vigorously.


But Mrs Ngilu insisted the unity was part of a bigger agenda and that she was working with Mr Musyoka, like they did in 2002, to reshape the community's political destiny.

"We may have differed with Kalonzo before but, for the first time, the Kamba don't have a strong voice at Cabinet level or sufficient representation in top government positions" she said.


Mrs Ngilu accused the governor of failing to address the county's water problems despite having billions of shillings at his disposal.

"With a budget of Sh1.5 billion, the devolved unit can sink and equip a borehole in every village at an average cost of Sh5 million, and this can be achieved in a year," she said.

Mrs Ngilu now has a chance to implement the pro-poor socio-economic policies she has been advocating all through her career.


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