A decision by Education Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed to hold her homecoming in Kakamega today has left tongues wagging. The event will be graced by Deputy President William Ruto and several politicians from different parties.
Although CS Mohamed has her roots in the area, she has not publicly associated herself with Kakamega in the past, save for some few visits in the run up to the August 8 general election.
On July 7 last year, the Cabinet Secretary toured the county flanked by ambassadors George Masafu (Kinshasa), Florence Weche (India), Bramwel Kisuya (Spain) and Patrick Wamoto (Thailand).
She was, however, quick to note that the diplomatic officers were on leave and had created time to accompany her for the launch of the Inua Jamii programme.
But Jubilee campaigns dominated the event with the CS saying there was nothing wrong with the officers attending functions being implemented by the Jubilee administration.
Today’s event which will cost millions of shillings according to one of the committee members has been hyped in county.
Raphael Welimo, secretary to the organising committee revealed that over 10,000 people had been mobilised to attend the party with Governor Wycliffe Oparanya expected to play host.
The composition of the committee comprises Jubilee and NASA politicians, officials of teachers unions, head teachers and religious groups. This has fueled speculation that the CS could be positioning herself to succeed Governor Oparanya who is serving his final term.
However, Mr Welimo, who is also the Jubilee Party coordinator in the county has dismissed the reports as rumours.
“The CS is having her homecoming here in good faith, those reading mischief are misguided. She is not interested in the gubernatorial seat,” Welimo told The Saturday Standard.
But Ruto’s presence at the event could fuel speculations as he is seen to be setting the stage for his 2022 presidential bid. Political analysts argue that the DP has a soft spot for Ms Mohamed as opposed to other politicians eyeing the governor’s seat, including Lugari MP Ayub Savula and Deputy Governor Philip Kutima.
Notably, Ruto holds Kakamega and Western in high esteem since the region could be and remains a strategic voting bloc in his 2022 succession politics game plan. It will be the third time Ruto will be visiting Kakamega. He attended a homecoming for Sports and National Heritage Cabinet Secretary Rashid Echesa at the Mumias Complex Stadium on March 3 and another function in Likuyani the same month.
Political analyst Martin Andati warns that Ms Mohamed could be a force to reckon with if she declares interest in the seat. “She was born and bred in Shirere in Kakamega and even attended Township Primary School even though she has not been close to the locals,” explained Mr Andati.
According to him, the CS has endeared herself to the locals because of the infrastructure projects she has initiated. Besides, Andati said Ms Mohamed could easily build a strong political network to marshal the support she needs to capture the seat.
“She has a strong financial muscle and cannot be wished away. She also has close relatives with strategic connections,” he added.
For one to mount a successful campaign for the seat, he or she may need upto Sh500 million, which according to Andati, the CS has the capacity to raise.
He said the homecoming could raise questions even though she (Amina) is yet to make her stand known.
“The fact that she is from the minority Somali tribe doesn’t make her a lesser candidate. People could easily be swayed to elect her, going by the politics of the day,” he said.
Savula, seen as a lead contender in the gubernatorial race, welcomed her intentions.
“Let her come and experience baptism by fire. The people of Kakamega will decide,” he said.
Martin Oloo, a lawyer and political commentator said it is perfectly in order for the Education CS to express her ambition.