Parliamentary seats in Bungoma county have set the pace and tempo for the electioneering in the area with three county executive members and several chief officers showing interest to contest for various parliamentary seats across the county.
Most of the new contestants belong to the constituencies educated elite, the businessmen and bureaucrats who espouse grand ideas on the development of their constituencies. Mathews Makanda who is the county executive member for agriculture is flexing muscles to unseat the outspoken Kimilili MP Didmus Barasa come 2022. He will also face off his colleague chief officer in charge of health and sanitation Patrick Wandili who has joined the fray.
In Bumula, county executive member in charge of health and sanitation Antony Walela will face off the incumbent MP Mwambu Mabonga come 2022. However the CEC is facing serious allegations of impunity where he is under investigation why he awarded his company a contract to built a theatre in Bumula Subcounty Hospital.
In Webuye West, CEC in charge of environment Renson Makheti has too shown interest to battle it out with MP Dan Wanyama come 2022. He will also face off his colleague in county government John Wasike, a chief officer in agriculture docket. However, Makheti is facing serious allegations of graft with allegations that he swindled Sh1.5 million meant to construct water project in his Sitikho ward and Sh2.8m to construct another water project in Bokoli, the projects are World Bank funded. Denson Barasa, former Kuppet official and now chief officer in the office of the governor has declared that he will contest Webuye West parliamentary seat.
Others in Webuye West politics are Steve Wafula, Arnold Ndukuyu and John Musndu.
In Webuye East, Job Chelongo, Bungoma county deputy chief officer is said he will make his third stab in Tachoni politics. He lost in 2013 and 2014 consecutively.
However, he will have an uphill task as he will have to square it out with business tycoon Noah Chiuli. Webuye East is set to witness a fresh face after incumbent Alfred Sambu decided to quit politics.
Others in the race are Iyaya Wanjala, MCA Ali Balala of Maraka ward, Dan Simiyu and Khakina Nyongesa.
Meanwhile, four Jubilee sub branches in Bungoma county have differed over a coup staged against the branch chairman John Waluke.
Kanduyi subbranch chairman Moses Sikuta said the changes were long overdue charging that the branch had become dormant.
He claimed that Waluke the MP for Sirisia had failed to convene a meeting to review party activities for the last two years adding that branch offices had been closed over rent arrears amounting to Sh700,000. A fuming Sikuta told a press conference in Bungoma town that Kanduyi subbranch has been isolated in matters of development with William Ruto visiting and initiating development projects in Bungoma, Sirisia, Tongaren and Webuye West.
“We braved the odds and delivered 28,000 votes to president Uhuru Kenyatta becoming second to Mt Elgon out of the nine subbranches but we were not considered for any of the five nominations of MCAs as other jobs have also been handed to individuals from Bumula, Mt Elgon and Tangaren but nothing in Kanduyi,” complained.
The chairman said the landlord who provided the house for the party offices had given him final notice to either pay up the rent or be sued for a breach of contract.
“I have personally travelled to Nairobi party headquarters six times to ask for the rent money but all in vain. As for the branch chairman, he has always brushed me aside when I raise the issue,” he said.
Sikuta said his efforts to reach the deputy party leader for briefing has always been frustrated by senior officials leading to defections to the rival Ford-Kenya.
Branch chairmen from Kimilili, Kabuchai and Webuye East have dismissed the announced changes that saw Barasa being installed as the chairman.
Simiyu Matress, Francis Namusasi and J Nasongo said there was no quorum at the meeting in Bungoma town adding that party MCAs appeared to have been influenced by outsiders to cause division and weaken Jubilee in the area.
They noted that changes in the party leadership could only be effected at a branch delegates meeting and not by subbranch chairman and MCAs who are mere members.
The meeting at Bungoma Members Club where the changes were announced saw former Bungoma deputy governor Hilary Chongwoay being replaced by Cheskaki MCA Ben Kipkut as the secretary general.
Sikuta was made the vice chairman in charge of operations together with Webuye West MP Dan Wanyama to head the strategic team. Others were Tony Barasa the Lwandanyi MCA (deputy organising secretary), Reginalda Wanyonyi (women representative, Martin Wanyonyi (organising secretary) and Mt Elgon MP Fred Kapondi as the chairman of parliament caucus.