The Bungoma County senate race will be the next battle field in the 2022 general elections. The seat is likely to be diluted with proposals that each County will have two senators elected- a man and a woman.
Uncertainty over the candidature of the current senator Moses Wetangula has thrown the race wide open.
Wetang’ula is likely to contest for a parliamentary seat with his eyes set on the newly proposed positions of Prime Minster, two deputies and minsters all who will be picked from parliamentarians.
Those who have so far shown interest in the position include Dr. George Sirengo Masafu- Kenya’s ambassador to DRC Congo, Dr. Juma Mukhwana-the CEO of Qualifications authority of Kenya, Bungoma Agriculture CEC Mathews Makanda and a youth activist Majembe Machacha.
Today, we feature Dr. Masafu. The series will focus on other candidates in our subsequent publications.
Dr. Masafu enjoys immense grassroots support having worked on the ground long enough. He equally boasts of huge networks both nationally and regionally. The networks will be key in his dream of marketing and projected Bungoma as a national hub should he win the seat.
To his advantage, are networks he has established out of the projects he has been undertaking on the ground in Kimilili and other constituencies within the County. He has supported various schools to put infrastructure in addition to sponsoring needy students in secondary schools across the country. Those in universities and other middle level colleges have also benefitted.
On developing and considering Bungoma County first, Dr. Masafu has invested in the County thus creating job opportunities for locals. He has interests in the media, hospitality and real estate. He has also supported the development of churches, boda boda groups among others.
“My objective is to see to it that I attract investors who will put their money in various sectors. This will create employment and set the county on a growth trajectory that will transform it into a regional hub,” he said.
Those who support his candidature argue that he will be a uniting figure that will not polarize and tear the County in the middle.
“The seat of senator is key in resource mobilization and oversight of the resources once realized. We need a firm but sober person who will not polarize the county and collude with the Governor to swindle our resourced,” said a local Mr. Augustine Waswa.
Those close to Dr. Masafu describe him as one of the greatest minds that Bungoma County has, foresighted and a man who can transform the County by first changing the mindset of residents then innovate proper ways of empowering them economically.
“The culture of people who look for handouts from politicians need to end. We need projects that can empower locals to set up projects that will enable them have money in their pockets,” said Dr. Masafu.
Dr. Masafu currently heads Kenya’s mission in Kinshasha, DRC representing the country in DRC, Gabon, Congo Brazzaville and the Central Republic of Africa. He has vast experience in management. If he clinches the seat, those in his support argue that he will blend nicely with the Governor to initiate development programmes that will empower the locals.
As part of his wealth of experience, Dr. Masafu worked with House and Mc George International company as a Pharmaceutical Manager then later joined another International Company, Jos Hansen in the same position.
He later returned to House and Mc George Company but this time around as the Company`s Chief Executive Officer.
Ambassador Masafu has carried out assignments in many international organizations and in different countries among them Cyprus, Germany, Finland, Denmark, India, South Africa, Nigeria, Egypt, and Botswana.
Dr. Juma Mukhwana has previously contested for the position of Senator, Member of parliament for Kanduyi, and is said to be interested in running for the Kabuchai parliamentary seat. His detractors argue that he lacks focus and is not sure of the position and the seat he wants to contest.
“It’s hard to understand whether Dr. Juma Mukhwana is motivated by greed for power or service delivery. He has within a short span expressed interest to contest for three separate positions in separate constituencies,” said a source who sought anonymity.
Dr. Mukhwana is said to be too proud and lacks a grassroots touch with the common man.
“He is up there in the world of academia and the voter is down there. There is a total disconnect,” said the source.
Mathews Makanda, the CEC for Agriculture is a novice and non-starter in the race. He contested the Kimilili parliamentary seat and lost at the primaries stage.
Many of his detractors view him as asocial media politician with no actual support on the ground. He spends a lot of his time on social media with nothing to show for his work as a CEC.
“His main problem and undoing is his imagination that he can play in the league of the big boys in County politics. He is a political toddler who has a lot of growing up to do. No one knows him beyond the village where he was born,” says a political analyst Joseck Wanambuko.
His abrasive and combative demeanor also betrays him. He is a poor orator with a poor mastery of issues that are at the heart of voters.