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Denzel Musumba

Denzel Musumba


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Local interests triumphed over politics in S.Mugirango when little known Ford People’s Manson Nyamweya outwitted PNU and ODM candidates to win the by-election on Thursday. It’s all systems go in race to capture S. Mugirango PNU and ODM leaders were still in shock Friday, wondering where they had gone wrong in the campaigns that drew big guns like Prime Minister Raila Odinga and Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka to the area. Mr Nyamweya romped home with 14,099 votes. PDM’s Omingo Magara, who had the full backing of PNU, came a distant second with 8,885 votes while ODM’s Ibrahim Ochoi was third with 7,638 votes. The humbling defeat by a contestant perceived as an underdog sounded a clear warning to politicians that addressing local needs, rather than a show of might complete with helicopters and top-of-the-range vehicles, was paramount. Mr Odinga led a powerful ODM force to South Mugirango to campaign for Mr Ochoi and instructed Cabinet ministers Anyang Nyong’o and James Orengo to pitch tent in the constituency to retain the seat the party won in 2007. Mr Musyoka and Higher Education minister William Ruto also crisscrossed the tiny villages of South Mugirango campaigning for Mr Magara. And as they went for each other’s throats, Mr Nyamweya quietly reached out to all corners of the constituency, promising development. Mr Orengo, though insisting that ODM was still popular in the constituency, said the outcome had a clear message — the by-election was not about national politics but local interests. Education minister Sam Ongeri, the main man in Mr Omingo’s campaign team, said the by-election was not about South Mugirango but about the Gusii community. Mr Magara’s development record proved to be his downfall, with residents saying that the constituency is the only one without an inch of tarmac road.