By Simiyu Simiyu
“If, by any means Lusaka fails to clinch his second term, he will have the wheelbarrow scandal to blame.” ~ Simiyu Simiyu
“Uproar as Bungoma County Spends Sh1M on 10 Wheelbarrows…” Read a headline in the Nation newspaper in September 2015 .
The country had just been treated to the world of comedy when the news on the wheelbarrows that cost a million shillings spread like a stormy wind across the continent.
The County Government of Bungoma had reportedly purchased ten wheelbarrows at Sh 1M – Ksh 109,000 each.
The approar therefore prompted Governor Lusaka to “defend” the controversial purchase of the equipments in full glare of cameras.
“These are not ordinary wheelbarrows. They are made of stainless, non-carcinogenic material and are used in the food industry.” he said in a press conference, a statement that caused more damage than harm to the already tainted picture of his government.
Though Mr Lusaka later fired the alleged officers and even had them charged in a court of law, his critics are yet to forgive him for the allegations that were revealed two years ago.
With less than two months to the next general elections, the Jubilee pointman in Western Kenya is still struggling to shake the shaddows of the wheelbarrows off his shoulders.
His fiery challenger for the gubernatorial seat of the third-most populated county in the country, Wycliffe Wangamati, seems to have more reasons to challenge for seat than Lusaka himself.
Pundits have attributed Mr Wangamati’s fast-rising star to Lusaka’s alleged past sins and could be a reason for the businessman to trounce the incumbent come August.
As a result, Wangamati will ride on the “wheelbarrows” in his public addresses to preach against corruption.
While addressing his supporters at the Bungoma Bus Stage on Friday 2 May, 2017 after being cleared by the electoral commission to vie for the County’s top seat, Mr Wangamati, popularly known as WW, assured his supporters that he will wipe out corruption in the County Government once elected into office.
“If you elect me as your governor, I will never buy one wheelbarrow at Ksh 109,000.” He said amid cheers and ululations from the flooded residents.
“I will never buy one stool or armchair at Ksh200,000.” He continued.
Governor Lusaka has continued to use his vividly-appreciated development record during his first term to lure the electorate for a second and final chance but will the voters trust him again?
With Bungoma County understood to be an opposition zone under NASA coalition that has county Senator Hon Moses Wetang’ula as a co-pribcipal, Governor Lusaka will need a hundred thousand miracles to snatch a second term on a Jubilee ticket.
So far, it’s incontestible that the race for the Bungoma gubernatorial seat is a two-horse race between Gov Lusaka and Ford Kenya’s businessman Wycliffe Wangamati.
Other aspirants for the coveted seat include former Assistant Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister Alfred Khang’ati who is vying on an ODM ticket.
If, by any means Lusaka fails to clinch his second term, he will have the wheelbarrow scandal to blame.