People Daily

Influential families set to face off in Kitui West race

The influential Mwendwa family that has for years called the shots in Kitui West politics is positioning itself to contest the parliamentary seat left by the late Francis Nyenze.

The Mwendwa family’s era in politics appeared to have ended with the exit of former Kitui Women’s Rep Nyiva Mwendwa and death of Independence Cabinet minister Eliud Ngala Mwendwa.

Nyiva’s son, Kitili Maluki, has declared interest in the parliamentary seat that has revolved around the late Senior Chief’s sons and daughter in-law for decades rekindling the family dominance of the seat since independence. Last year, old age forced Nyiva, the only member of the family and widow of first African Chief Justice Kitili Mwendwa to hang her boots.

Although the local politicians including Governor Charity Ngilu have been coercing Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka to give direct nomination to Nyenze’s widow Edith Vethi, behind the scenes manoeuvres led by Nyiva want Kalonzo to keep off and let the voters decide.

During the burial of Nyenze at his Kyondoni village home where several speakers pushed for Nyenze’s widow to succeed him, Nyiva took a different direction explaining how a tough Nyenze snatched the seat from the Mwendwa family.

A few days later, her son declared interest in the seat along with other seven aspirants including August 8 losers Ben Mbai and advocate Benjamin Musyoki. Others in the race are Robert Mutiso, Hannington Mbiti, journalist Dennis Mulwa, Fred Kimanga and Benedict Mutiso. Local political analysts however, aver that Ngilu will be a key factor as she commands overwhelming support from the voters and the side she will align with her can carry the day.

“We cannot rule out Ngilu’s influence in the county politics and can easily change the political arithmetic,” says Kitui county professional coordinator Campbel Munyambu and a close ally of Kalonzo. When he condoled with the Nyenze family recently, Kalonzo was non-committal on calls to give Edith direct nomination.

“We should give all aspirants chance to seek party nomination as per the party manifesto,” he said. The seat fell vacant following the death of the former minority leader in the national assembly who died of colon cancer infection. ENDS

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