10 Prominent Politicians Seeking Comebacks in August Polls

Isaac Rutto Mwangi Kiunjuri Boni Khalwale
A collage of former Bomet Governor Isaac Rutto, former Agriculture CS Mwangi Kiunjuri and former Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale

A number of prominent politicians who lost elections and left in the cold between the 2017 - 2022 election cycle are now seeking comebacks in various positions in the upcoming August 9 polls.

While some unsuccessfully ran for elective positions in 2017, others opted to take breaks, but are now gunning for elective posts when Kenyans go to the polls to install their leaders.

Among those seeking to redeem their political careers is former Bomet Governor, Isaac Ruto, who wants to reclaim the seat he lost in 2017 to the late Joyce Laboso. Laboso’s allegiance to the Jubilee Party against Ruto’s Chama Cha Mashinani (CCM) dethroned him. At the time, Ruto was supporting President Uhuru Kenyatta’s rivals, the National Super Alliance (NASA) under the leadership of Raila Odinga.

Ruto will come up against incumbent Hillary Barchok who took over in 2019 after Laboso’s death. Also in the race is Petroleum and Mining Cabinet Administrative Secretary, John Mosonik.

Hillary Barchok Isaac Rutto John Mosonik William Ruto
A collage of Bomet Governor Hillary Barchok, CCM Party Leader Isaac Rutto and Petroleum CAS John Mosonik

In Kakamega, former Senator Boni Khalwale, a proponent of Deputy President William Ruto’s bottom-up political ideology, will be running for the governor’s position.

After serving for one term as the Senator between 2013 and 2017, Khalwale unsuccessfully tried to oust governor Wycliffe Oparanya. Since losing in the 2017 polls, he has tried to remain politically relevant, joining Ruto's United Democratic Alliance (UDA) with the hope of using the party to clinch the coveted county seat.

Former Kiambu governor, Ferdinand Waititu, whose impeachment was confirmed by the Senate in January 2020, is back in the race.

Waititu, commonly referred to as Baba Yao, will battle it out with his former deputy, James Nyoro, and Kiambu’s first governor, William Kabogo, whom he won against in 2017. Waititu is allied to Ruto’s UDA.

In Machakos, UDA chairman Johnstone Muthama has expressed intent in going for the top seat. Muthama opted not to run in 2017 but has since come back, drumming up support for the UDA party.

Former Agriculture Cabinet Secretary, Mwangi Kiunjuri, is also reported as eyeing a seat in Laikipia County. Although he has not yet made a pronouncement, conflicting reports indicate that he will either be seeking the Laikipia gubernatorial post or the Laikipia East parliamentary one, a seat he held for 15 years.

Upon ejection from the Cabinet by President Uhuru Kenyatta, Kiunjuri launched his own political party - The Service Party (TSP) - an outfit he will be using to contest in the upcoming polls.

Koigi Wamwere is also poised to run for the Nakuru Senatorial seat in a race that is already crowded. 

In Mogotio Constituency, veteran politician Hellen Sambili, who once served as Minister for Higher Education, is looking to oust incumbent Daniel Kamuren Tuitoek, who she lost to in 2017.

Former Tiaty MP Asman Kamama is also breathing heavily behind William Kamket’s back after the later ousted him in 2017. Kamama had served in Parliament between 2007 and 2017.

Magerer Langat, who served Kipkelion Constituency between 2007 and 2013, will also be in line to reclaim his seat, while embattled Laikipia North MP Mathew Lempurkel will also be making a comeback against Sarah Korere who trounced him in the 2017 election.

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has gazetted August 9, 2022, as the date for the General Election, while also releasing guidelines for the poll.

IEBC Chairperson Wafula Chebukati addresses the media at a press conference in August 2021
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