The race for Mwatate constituency parliamentary post is tightening after an Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) aspirant withdrew his candidature to support a rival arguing that nomination at the primaries were likely to split supporters and weaken the party.
Mr. Geoffrey Kimonge, an advisor to former Governor John Mruttu, had declared his interest to vie for Mwatate parliamentary seat under the ODM banner before he backed out and threw his weight behind Mr. Christopher Mwambingu.
Speaking over the weekend while endorsing his competitor, Kimonge disclosed he was moved to make that decision following wide consultation with his supporters.
He noted that rivalry from party nominations would have resulted in a major fall-out that would erode ODM’s chances of clinching Mwatate parliamentary post in the August general election.
“I have made this move for the sake of the party. We need to retain this seat and our competition would have split our votes,” he said.
Over 50 ODM delegates in Mwatate constituency endorsed the move and argued it would make the party stronger.
ODM Youth Leader Patricia Mwashighadi said Mwambingu was their preferred candidate because he had shown utmost loyalty to the party.
She explained that even after losing in nominations in 2017, Mwambingu did not quit the party but instead supported the candidate who won. “He has been a gallant ODM soldier and it is time he was rewarded for his support for the party activities,” she said.
Mwambingu is currently a nominated MCA in the County Assembly of Taita-Taveta County. He is seeking to replace the current MP Andrew Mwadime who had declared his interest to vie for governor’s post.
Mwambingu promised to champion for land ownership rights and negotiate for sharing of revenues drawn from Tsavo National Park. “These are issues that have been very close to my heart. I will have them addressed at Parliament,” he said.
Several other candidates have expressed interest in Mwatate parliamentary post. They include a law don Prof Morris Mbondenyi, former agriculture County Executive Committee Member Ben Mghana and a prominent businessman and philanthropist Peter Shake.