By The Coast Newspaper Team
As the general poll temperatures is yet to settle down men and women mostly of the bench have so far gone public declaring their interest for the county speaker’s positions that are vacant across the 47 county assemblies in the Republic.
According to the Kenyan constitution the positions fell vacant after the dissolution of the eleventh parliament that prompted to the just concluded general elections.
In Kilifi County, Four lawyers among them a sitting magistrate and a businessman have so far tendered their candidature before the newly elected Members of County assembly to consider them for the seat.
Outgoing Kaloleni lawmaker Gunga Mwinga a lawyer by profession has decided to give it a shot.
Mwinga who lost to a new comer in politics Paul Katana popularly known as PK, says he recently launched his bid for the seat and has so far managed to reach the MCA’s who are the only voters in this contest.
He adds that his 16 years experience legal knowledge will add value not only to the chamber but to the Assembly as a whole.
“Yes am set for it, begun my campaigns in earnest and met my voters the (MCA’s), I believe my candidature will bring my 16 years legal knowledge to the usefulness of the assembly. Again my experience as a lawyer will bring value to the chambers” Gunga said in a statement sent to Newsrooms via his phone.
Gunga served a one term in parliament after ousting former cabinet secretary Kazungu Kambi on a KADU Asili ticket.
Industrial Court judge Geofry Katsole is also out for it and is set to battle it out with other three contenders.
Katsole says it’s all about creating good working atmosphere between the MCA’s and the county at large.
He says he has a live experience having worked with politicians when he served as a town clerk tothe defiant Nairobi City Council and there were no acrimonies experienced.
Speaking over the phone Katsole said once elected he will ensure the assembly enact laws that will help locals to benefit from their resources which are locally found within the county.
He said revival of the tourism industry will be paramount to his agenda adding that there is need to have a sound foundation for the future generations.
“It’s all about laws, currently there no laws to guard the interests of the community hence jeopardizing their economic opportunities. The Coast produces the best pineapples in Africa, the salt at Gongoni is used across East Africa and the mangoes are rooting all over not because of any other reason but lack of good laws to give guidance’ Katsole said.
He said several minerals are ever ferried away to other parts of the world without any meaningful gains to the locals.
Other Contenders in the race are lawyer Johnson Mwahunga Mtana and Businessman Sanga Barawa.
The incumbent Jimmy Kahindi Jogolo a leaned friend, as they refer themselves will also defend his seat.Jogolo will ride on his previous profile where the assembly is known to have enacted several bills into laws.
He refurbished the chambers to a national standard earning himself a lot of accolades from the Senate speaker Ekwe Ethuro during it’s inauguration.In Taita Taveta Counrty a Mombasa based lawyer is among those interested in the county assembly speaker’s seat.
In Mombasa, reliable sources have revealed that former Mayor Ahmed Mohdhar is the front-runner for the seat although insiders of Team Joho Tano Tena indicate that position is also being eyed by the former Kisauni MP Rashid Bedzimba.
Others being touted as likely candidates are the former nominated MCA and financial committee chair Mohamed Hatimy and the former Kongowea MCA and senatorial loser Jabess Oduor from the just-concluded general election.
Sources that spoke to The Coast Newspaper allayed concern that this time the speaker position in Mombasa has failed to attract qualified professionals as it did in the 2013 elections where six individuals gunned for it.
Among the six applicants then is the senatorial-elect Mohamed Faki Khatib, a lawyer of repute who lost the position to unknown Thadius Rajwayi from the Mombasa Polytechnic University now Technical University of Mombasa.
The selection of the ‘motive engineering’ certificate holder against seasoned professionals such as marine expert Ismail Said Mboya, accountant Victor Adamba Abuka, academician Amir Ghalib Abdalla, civil engineer Richard Ochola Olonde and lawyer Faki left a lot to be desired.
The county executive went for a minnow in the name of Tadias Rajwayi and fears are that this time round the same will happen irrespective of who are the applicants for the coveted job of running the County Assembly business.
But with the majority of the 30 elected for the County Assembly emanating from the Orange Democratic Movement with one Wiper, one Ford Kenya and one independent the dice is cast and only the ‘blessed’ will be picked for the seat.
“Whoever of the three – Mohdhar, Bedzimba or Hatimy – in Governor-elect’s good books will carry the day but let us wait and see how things transpire between now and when he is sworn in as governor,” says an insider of Team Joho Tano Tena Camp.
However, political analysts are of the views that Mr Joho will be very prudent in picking a Speaker who will help him leave a legacy as the first governor of Mombasa so as to propel his presidential ‘journey’ in 2022.
“With the shaky situation befalling the ODM fraternity and Nasa Coalition following the outcome of the elections, a shrewd businessperson invests where he will harvest maximum benefits,” says a political pundit Philip Mbaji.
But with professional in the legal fraternity giving the position a wide berth this opens the chance for another ‘minnow’ ascending to the powerful seat without breaking sweat.
In Kwale, the scenario is different with those eyeing the coveted position being speculated to be the former speaker and gubernatorial loser as independent candidate Sammy Ruwa, Raphael Chimera Salim Gombeni fronted by governor elect Salim Mvurya and Hamisi Lugogo as well.
Based on how he conducted the previous County Assembly debate, sources told The Coast Newspaper that Mr Ruwa has high chance of winning the position even after failing in his bid for the governorship of Kwale County.
“With the majority of MCA-elects from the ODM party, the chances of the former speaker recapturing the seat are guaranteed,” says Kwale political observer Farouq.
When asked whether this will have any implications on how the governor-elect Salim Mvurya conducted himself as Jubilee governor under ‘hostile’ ODM brigades, Mr Farouq dismissed this saying even before the elections the governor had the same hostile ‘crowd’.
Although the Coast region overwhelmingly voted for Nasa Coalition compared to other regions nationally, the political observer decries that it has gotten a ‘raw deal’ when it comes to sharing nomination slots in both the National Assembly and Senate.
“This region has produced the largest number of Nasa coalition electees but who is benefiting when it comes to nomination slots in both houses?” he poses adding that the region must demand for its rightful share.
In Taita Taveta a Mombasa lawyer is among those interested in the county assembly speaker’s seat.
Mwanaisha Sharrif who has offices in Voi hopes to fight it out with another female lawyer, Janet Mwawasi Oben among other candidates who have also vowed to fclinch this coveted seat which the incumbent speaker Meshack Maganga has declared to defend.
Oben is a parliamentary loser having lost in the Jubilee party primaries to Lydia Haika who won the county women representative position in the just concluded general elections.
Other seats up for grab are the Deputy Speaker, Leader of Majority, Deputy Majority Leader, Chief Whip, Deputy Whip, Minority Leader and Deputy Majority Leader.
The immediate County Assembly Deputy Speaker who is also the Bomani Ward Representative Chrispus Tondoo has also confirmed that he will defend his seat.
Mr Tondoo disclosed that a total of about 10 candidates have so far declared interest for the key position.
Among those who have declared interest include the County Director of Legal Affairs Officer Fredrick Mwabili, two Wundanyi Parliamentary losers Raymond (ODM) and Cromwell Baridi (Ford Kenya), County Executive Committee (CEC) member in-charge of Environment and Natural Resources Alexander Mwangeka, a Director with the Coast Water Services Board Faustine Mgendi and Senatorial loser Jeremiah Kiwoi among others.
In an interview Friday, Ms Sharif, Mwangola and Mgendi confirmed that they were going for the top county assembly post.
“It is true that I have expressed interest for the top position. I am ready to battle it out with other candidates,” Sharif.
She is credited for drafting the County Bursary Bill which had enabled bright students from poor families to benefit from bursaries.The Lawyer at the same time successfully represented residents and leaders who were prosecuted at the Voi Law Courts for illegally blocking the Nairobi-Mombasa highway in 2013.
The suspects among them civic leaders were acquitted. “I have done a lot in this county and if given a chance I promise to do even more do more,” said Sharif.
The Lawyer also served as one of the Joint Secretaries in the Tribunal which was formed to investigate the late Ambassador Bethwel Kiplagat suitability to chair the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC). The other joint secretary was Perpetual Waitere.
Mr Mgendi called on the members of the county assembly to ensure that regional balance is observed in electing the new Speaker.
He said since the Governor- elect Granton Samboja and his Deputy Majala Mlagui are coming from Taita and Mwatate Sub Counties, then the next Speaker should come from either in Voi or Taveta Sub Counties
for regional balance to prevail.
“There is no need of electing the speaker from Wundanyi and Mwatate constituencies because the areas have already gotten two senior positions in last week election. Voi and Taveta constituencies have been left out in senior positions and the next speaker should comefrom the two constituencies,” said Mgendi who is a Certified Public
Accountant and investment expert.
Meanwhile, the County Assembly Clerk Michael Ngala said the various key posts have not been declared vacant because the newly elected MCAs had not been
He said once the MCAs are gazzeted, then all the key county assembly positions will be declared vacant.