Written by Leonard Wamalwa
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With less than seven days left before councilors of Nzoia County Council go to polls to elect a chairman who will replace the former chairman who passed on a few months ago, Samson Bunyasi, the campaigns for the seat have taken tribal affiliations.
The councilors are now divided in two tribal groups of the larger Luhya and Kalenjin communities as each group strategizes on how to win the seat.
Sources privy to this have indicated that about 20 councilors from the Luhya community are said to be in a camp in a Hotel in Malaba town of Busia County where they are first trying to iron out their own in-house differences following the large number of aspirants interested in that seat from the group.
At the same time, 14 civic leaders from the Kalenjin community are also having sittings on a daily basis within Kitale Town to chart the way forward as to how they can win a few more councilors from the other camp to have their preferred candidate win the seat.
The twenty councilors camping in Malaba are said to have gone contrary to The Local Government Act that bars councilors from going into camps during the campaigns for leadership in their respective local authorities by going to the camp prior to the elections.
Earlier on the councilors from the Kalenjin community who have not gone to the camp seemed to be bitter about their colleagues going to the camp and had even wanted to release a sharp statement pertaining the move but seem to have later softened up when were approached over the same issue.
They had even gone further to claim that a prominent politician from Western had footed the bill of the twenty councilors and thus, most of them termed the move as intended to divide the county into tribal groupings.
Those who talked to West FM a few days ago had bitterly accused the politician whom they said had gone against an earlier pledge by senior politicians in the area that they will not interfere with the campaigns and wanted the civic leaders to work on their own and involve the senior politicians at a point where they deemed necessary to seek for their support.
"It is too early for us to give a statement because we might say and may be destroy what could have been good to help our team so let’s wait till Thursday then we will give you a concrete statement over our stand," said one of the councilors who also sought anonymity.
After softening up and changing their stance, the fourteen councilors who sought anonymity said that they were doing consultations with some of their colleagues in the camp in Malaba to see if they can be lured into their camp and produce a leader to win the coveted seat.
They however, pledged that the elections shall be peaceful, free and fair unlike in the previous exercises where most of them from different camps have been involved in physical confrontations that have left some with serious injuries during the voting day.
So far the seat of the chairman has attracted over seven councilors out of the 36 councilors that form the council at the moment after the deaths of the chairman Samson Bunyasi and Kapkoi ward councilor Kevin Simiyu earlier in the year.
The aspirants who had indicated their aspiration for the seat before they left for the camp included Fred Kwanusu of Kwanza, Joash Kisiangani of Kinyoro, Andrew Kutitila of Sikhendu, John Simiyu of Matisi, Reuben Mudagala of Kiminini, Albert Chepkwony the current acting chairman and vice chairman, Ishmail Masinde of Machewa and Keffa Were a nominated councilor from Kwanza District on a Ford Kenya ticket.
The list therefore, indicates that the Luhya camp has more than eight councilors interested in the seat and are in the same camp hence any lack of understanding or harmonization to reach a consensus to have one of them vie for the seat will give the Kalenjin team an upper hand to have an eventual winner of the seat if they can manage to win a couple from the Malaba team to their team.
So far only one Kalenjin councilor has been mentioned to be interested in the seat as compared to the eight from the Luhya side.
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