BattleGround 2017 – Vihiga County

With less than a year to the 2017 general election, campaigns have intensified in county 0038. The Vihiga County gubernatorial seat has attracted a sizeable number of veteran politicians spanning across all the five sub counties. The incumbent, cleric turned politician is looking to defend his seat against two sitting Mps and an independent scholar.


Moses Akaranga faces a fierce battle from Wilber Otichilo (Two term MP for Emuhaya constituency, Yusuf Chanzu(Mp for Vihiga constituency) and independent candidate Dr. Otolo.

The Mudavadi factor will play a big role in the county with the so called NASA still at its initial stage although pundits see this as a minor issue that will have very skewed influence on the outcome of the election.

A major factor that would really determine the outcome of the election is the sub tribe factor. Vihiga county is the second smallest county after county 001 in size per square km with an estimated population of 558thousand people. The number of registered voters as per latest voter register is close to 202 thousands. In essence this constitutes to half of the county population. The county has 4major sub tribes being the dominant Maragoli, Banyore, Tiriki and the Terik people who are an agro-pastoralist indigenous minority community of Kalenjin group resident in what remains of their ancestral lands in Vihiga, Kisumu and Nandi Counties of Kenya.

The incumbent Moses Akaranga and Yusuf Chanzu come from the dominant Maragoli while Otichilo and Otolo are From Banyore. Analysts argue that Dr. Otolo is positioning himself as a running mate to either Akaranga or Yusuf incase any calls upon him. Historical statistics indicate that the Maragoli cannot vote for anyone who is deemed as an outsider to the community. The incumbent has in the past made inroads into the Tiriki land dishing out goddies and county jobs to ensure that he has a sizeable number of votes from this region. It is argued that this will be the deciding vote. If things stand as they are, with Yusuf sharing the spoils with the incumbent, it will mean that Otichilo who will carry the Banyore vote has an equal number to both Yusuf and Akaranga. This will mean that the decisive vote will still be the Tiriki.

Akaranga’s regime has been painted as very corrupt and massive underperformance with the county boss at one point blaming it on the people he appointed to work for him. This portrayed the reverend as lacking grip to the county matters. Otichilo on the other hand has already secured the two subcounties of Emuhaya and Luanda. Yusuf will be rallying on the ANC ticket support and has been seen as enjoying the blessings of ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi. The two leaders from Maragoli would be rellying on a MOU between the Maragoli and the Tiriki where the Maragoli are supposed to support George Khaniri as the senator.

At the sub counties level, a serious battle is expected in the race for Sabatia constituency seat. This seat was held by Mudavadi family for close to three decades. The incumbent Alfred Agoi is facing a fierce battle from the popular aspirant Charles Majani. Majani popularity is rising day by day and is seen as being the favorite candidate to win the Legislative job. There are rumors around the constituency that he enjoys the support of Akaranga and is seen as the bridge between Mudavadi and Akaranga. Agoi has performed dismally in terms of development and spends most of his time in Nairobi. Political analysts predict that as the clock ticks towards 2017, the tide is shifting towards Majani who is a serious mobiliser. Political parties in the constituency will play a very insignificant role. Agoi’s controversial source of wealth is also seen as his major undoing.

Hamisi constituency will also be another battle ground with the recent entry of Shepherd Agesa from the private sector. Shepherd would be seeking to oust incumbent Charles Gimose.

In Vihiga constituency, Vitisia would be battling it out with Chogo and Ananda. This is seen as a soft ground and would be indluenced by the political wave of the day

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