Why Kisii Politicians Remain Divided Over The Next Community Kingpin

By The Weekly Vision

Lobbying among the Abagusii community for the next political kingpin seems to have divided their top political, business and religious leadership right in the middle. The process to nominate the late Simeon Nyachae’s successor has always failed because of political fights and suspicion between some politicians and professionals from the Abagusii community.

The community has remained without a kingpin since 2021 following the death of Mzee Nyachae. Lobbying to have one leader recognized has failed as leaders from different political divides have failed to speak in one voice. The search has been elusive though attempts have been made to have a single political leader to give the community political directions.

It has however been noted that between the years 2017 and 2022, the former Internal Security CS Fred Matiangi was the undisputed Abagusii leader. Dr Fred Okeng’o Matiangi wielded so much power that he automatically filled the vacuum left by the late Nyachae and whipped the majority of the Kisii top politicians to his side. But following his exit from the powerful docket and now a senior citizen, the community does not have a kingpin and the community is divided between Azimio and Kenya Kwanza.

Several names are being mentioned as possible kingpins in the region. Kisii Governor Simba Arati’s name has featured prominently on the list. Governor Arati has risen through the ranks from MCA, to MP in Nairobi and now Governor. He is said to be one of the most vocal Kisii politicians. However, those opposed to him claim that he is too young to assume the mantle. 

Another name being mentioned is that of former Kisii Senator Prof. Sam Ongeri. Those pushing for Prof. Ongeri claim he wields political experience and age to earn respect across the political divide. Prof. Ongeri ran for the Kisii gubernatorial seat in the last elections and performed dismally. Former Kisii Governor James Ongwae’s name has also been mentioned as a possible successor to the late Nyachae. Having served for two terms as governor, he did not run for any elective position but campaigned for Raila Odinga. He has since cut ties with ODM and joined Kenya Kwanza. The move to leave ODM has since limited his chances of succeeding Nyachae despite having political expertise.

Former Kisii Deputy Governor Joash Maangi is another politician whose name has been mentioned. After serving for two terms as DG, he run for the Kisii Senatorial race but lost. He is now the Foreign Affairs and Diaspora Chief Administrative Secretary. Many have dismissed him claiming he is still a political greenhorn in Abagusii politics and lacks what it takes to be the community’s kingpin.  Another name being mentioned is that of former Cabinet minister Chris Obure. Obure contested the Kisii gubernatorial seat and lost to Simba Arati. He has also decamped from Azimio to Kenya Kwanza. Many have dismissed him as not able to unite the Abagusii community. As things stand now, the community may remain divided as there are no hopes of political players from the region reading from the same scripts. 

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