A number of deputy governors are plotting to run against their bosses in next year’s General Election in what promises to be captivating political duels.
Other deputies may not be running themselves but the bad blood between them and their bosses makes it almost certain that they won’t back their re-election campaigns.
Then there are deputies who want to succeed the outgoing governors but the latter prefer someone else as their successor, resulting in frosty relations.
While a few governors like Lee Kinyanjui (Nakuru), Anyang’ Nyong’o (Kisumu), Ndiritu Muriithi (Nyandarua), Sospeter Ojaamong (Busia), Amos Nyaribo (Nyamira) and Cyprian Awiti (Homa Bay) are in good terms with their deputies, some of the county bosses are in “hostile” relationships with their number two.
Those in the latter category include John Lonyangapuo of West Pokot, Nyeri’s Mutahi Kahiga and Anne Waiguru of Kirinyaga. Kisii Governor James Ongwae and his deputy Joash Maang’i also do not sing from the same hymn book.
While Ongwae is a close ally of ODM leader Raila Odinga, Maangi is Deputy President William Ruto’s pointman in the Gusii region. Kirinyaga Deputy Governor Peter Ndambiri has declared that he is going to vie for the seat in next year’s election, which puts him at loggerheads with Waiguru who is seeking re-election.
The Kirinyaga situation is replicated in Vihiga where a fallout between Governor Wilber Ottichilo and deputy Patrick Saisi has metamorphosed into a public quarrel after efforts by party leader Raila to reconcile them failed.
Saisi has accused Ottichilo of frustrating him claiming that his salaries had been blocked as part of a plan to make life difficult for him.
The Deputy Governor told People Daily that he was surprised that Ottichilo had not called him for a meeting or to just “greet him” since the ODM leader tried to reconcile them.
Governors, deputies brace for bruising battles in 2022 Interesting scenarios as friends-turned-foes set to run against each other in next year’s election “My governor has decided to frustrate me despite our party leader reconciling us during the burial of my wife Ashura,” Saisi said.
He added that he had not received his salary for the last two months. “Last month the Governor took the executive and MCAs to Mombasa without involving me and yet I am the deputy governor.
I don’t know why all these things are happening to me yet I am not suspended or impeached,” he said
. But Ottichilo is accusing his deputy of working with his enemies to bring him down. He has also accused him of working with people who went to court challenge the 2021/2022 Budget.
While Nyeri Deputy Governor Caroline Karugu has not openly declared her next political move, she is locked in a legal battle with Governor Kahiga, who in September publicly accused her of being “busy with other things.”
Karugu has gone to court seeking to have Kahiga compelled to release her dues amounting to over Sh15 million in salaries and allowances withheld since June 2019. “By reason of which I am compelled to use A unique situation is also unfolding in West Pokot where Deputy governor Nicholas Atundonyang is plotting to unseat Lonyangapuo. Atudonyang relocated to the US soon after the 2017 election.
In 2019, Lonyangapuo told a parliamentary committee that his attempts to get his deputy back had failed adding that he only communicates with him on social media channels like WhatsApp.
The Deputy Governor is now challenging his boss into a political duel. “I was recently sick and some leaders, I assisted to get the positions they are holding saw it as an opportunity to succeed me,” Lonyangapuo, who is the only governor elected on a Kanu ticket, said recently.
In the neighbouring Elgeyo-Marakwet county, a political war between Governor Alex Tolgos and his deputy Wesley Rotich has been raging for months. Rotich wants to take over from Tolgos who is serving his final term. But the two hold different political persuasions.
While Tolgos is aligned to Raila and President Uhuru Kenyatta, Rotich is a supporter of Ruto. The governor is yet to endorse any candidate seeking to succeed him, but it is highly unlikely that he will support Rotich.