By Mourice Seretta
The Independent Electoral & Boundaries Commission (IEBC) announced Agnes Kavindu Muthama as the winner of the just concluded Machakos Senate seat in the by-elections held on Thursday, March 18.
Kavindu garnered 104, 342 votes – far ahead of her closest competitor Urbanus Ngengele who had 19,726 votes.
The special poll attracted 11 candidates.
Urbanus Ngengele of the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) associated with Deputy President William Ruto and John Mutua Katuku of Maendeleo Chap Chap were among the front-runners.
Katuku withdrew from the race on Monday, March 15 in favor of the Wiper candidate.
Upon Katuku’s withdrawal from the race, the leader of Maendeleo Chap Chap Alfred Mutua said that this move was a decision made in order to block Ruto’s UDA from the region.
A low voter turnout was registered in all polling stations in Machakos County, with speculations that this was bound to happen since the elections were conducted on a weekday.
“There are attempts of bribery, but they won’t succeed. Everybody is alert,” Kavindu complained while casting her vote.
Ngengele raised similar concerns.
The Senate seat fell vacant following the death of Boniface Kabaka in December 2020.
Machakos County has over 620,000 voters.
These are distributed in the 1,335 polling stations in the counties.
The by-election brought to the fore the unending family rivalry between former Machakos Senator Johnson Muthama and his wife Kavindu Muthama who carried the day during the by-election.
Muthama is the current Chairperson of UDA whose candidate Ngengele, Kavindu floored.
Although there were eight candidates in the race for the seat that fell vacant after the death of Senator Boniface Kabaka, the contest was reduced to a two-horse race between Wiper’s Kavindu and Ngengele of UDA party allied to Deputy President William Ruto.
MCC’s candidate Katuku’s withdrawal from the race was however interpretated to have the UDA candidate a leeway to capture the seat and complicate matters for Wiper Leader Kalonzo Musyoka, who MCC Party Leader, Machakos Governor Afred Mutua doesn’t want to dominate Ukambani politics.
National Assembly Deputy Minority Whip and Kathiani MP Robert Mbui offered the same.
“We know his schemes but we are confident our candidate is strong and will trounce her competitors with a big margin,” said Mr Mbui.
He said the Wiper party was a strong party in the Lower Eastern and could not be shaken.
A win for Kavindu Muthama is likely to politically hurt her ex-husband and former Machakos Senator who chairs UDA and is seeking to make inroads in the county.
It also could slow down the uptake of UDA in the Lower Eastern.
A loss for Wiper could have weakened the former Vice-president’s authority in the emerging coalition between him and the Amani National Congress (ANC) party leader Musalia Mudavadi, Kanu chairman and Baringo Senator Gideon Moi and Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang’ula (Ford-Kenya).