As the clock ticks towards the 2022 general elections, an epic battle is shaping up in constituencies across Bungoma County.
Various aspirants, among them newcomers, former politicians, and Members of County Assembly keen on upgrading their positions have lined up and already on the ground popularizing their bids.
The death of Kabuchai MP James Mukwe has accelerated the campaigns particularly among new comers jostling to grab the position. The deceased will be laid to rest at his Sanandiki village home on December 19 opening the battle for the inheritance of his seat.
The constituency has no former MP as the late Mukwe was the first MP after the constituency was hived off from the larger Sirisia.
The candidates who have lined up to battle it out for the seat include Dr. Gasper Waffubwa, Majimbo Kalasinga, Evans Kakai, and Dr. Juma Mukhwana.
The candidates have divided themselves into two camps, those who stand for change and those who want to maintain the status quo. Those who represent the status quo are coalescing around Bungoma senator Moses Wetang’ula.
Our focus is on. Dr. Gasper Waffubwa who is a medical doctor practicing in the United States(US). We shall feature all aspirants in our subsequent publications.
Dr. Waffubwa has emerged as a formidable candidate who represents change. Though he is based in the Us, he has been on the ground for long, implementing projects that are at the heart of the locals.
He schooled at the local Namilama primary and secondary school before proceeding to Chavakali high school for his form six. He later enrolled for a medical course at the Kenya medical training college KMTC Nairobi, before moving to the US.
While in the US, he studied Occupation therapy where he has worked as a director, regional director, and currently as an occupational health consultant.
Back home, Dr. Waffubwa has continued to undertake development projects in a bid to alleviate poverty. He has been using his own resources to drill five boreholes across the four wards in the constituency. He intends to drill additional five boreholes to address perennial water shortage. The borehole at Chwele market is the largest and serves the entire market in additional to neighboring households.
“I decided to spent a minimum of 20 percent of my earnings back home in a bid to address the challenges facing our people. My friends both locally and abroad have been supplementing the efforts,” he said.
Dr. Waffubwa says he has equally been able to construct more than 150 houses for needy and vulnerable families across Kabuchai constituency. Over 200 needy students in various secondary schools have also benefitted through his support.
Kabuchai resident Mr. Kasembeli Watila says Dr. Waffubwa has been supporting groups with finance to undertake projects of their own.“He has given money to groups that have been used to set up income generating projects. The projects include purchase of tents, chairs, and start of small projects like poultry farming and rearing livestock,” he said.
To tap talent and support the youth, he is in the process of establishing a soccer academy to harness talent and grow sports. The academy will soon be operational.
Further, Dr. Waffubwa seeks to partner with business people on Chwele market to expand their capacity. He has plans of setting up cooperative societies for farmers to enable them pool together and be able to export part of their horticultural produce.
“I want Chwele to overtake Karatina as the largest fresh produce market. We need to attract investors to the market such as financial institutions, value addition farms, export companies among others,” he said.
On his choice of political party, Dr. Waffubwa says he has no preferred party. He said he will run for the seat as an independent candidate but is open to work with any party that shares in his vision.
In order to reach out many people, he is in the process of setting up a foundation that he will use to mobilize funds.
In neighboring Kanduyi constituency, we feature veteran journalists Bonifcae Wayne Nyongesa who will be marking a stab at the parliamentary seat in 2022. The seat is currently held by Wafula Wamunyinyi.
Mr. Nyongesa who contested for the senate race and lost enjoys wide support in four wards of Bukembe West, Bukembe East, and Sang’alo East and West. The four wards overwhelmingly supported his bid when he ran for the senate seat against incumbent Moses Wetangula.
Should Kanduyi constituency be split into two as proposed in the BBI bill, he will easily sail through if the four wards are to be hived off to form a constituency.
Other aspirants for the seat like former speaker John Makali will have to square off with Wamunyinyi in the remaining part of the constituency. Roads CEC Mr. Collins Mukhongo is also eyeing the seat.
Mr. Nyongesa equally enjoys wide support from the various groups he established while at the helm of Sulwe fm. He has managed to steer clear of divisive politics despite working as a public relations officer under Governor Wycllife Wangamati.
His neutral position in many political duels in the County has earned him immense respect. He is a silent mobiliser who reaches out to voters directly. His deep roots in the media and calculative demeanor puts him at the apex.
Mr. Nyongesa says his main strength has been remaining on the ground supporting locals after all the other aspirants fled upon losing elections.
In Education, Mr. Nyongesa has sponsored several students from needy families at secondary, tertiary and university levels.
He reveals that Kanduyi needs a paradigm shift that will empower people economically, create jobs for residents and ensure empowerment of all.