The 2017 Homa Bay gubernatorial race presented an epic duel between outgoing Governor Cyprian Awiti former Kasipul legislator Oyugi Magwanga.
The matter which begun at the polling stations ended at the Supreme Court which upheld Awiti’s contested victory.
Five years later, the race to replace Awiti appears even stiffer with more people joining Magwanga who is making another stab.
The political landscape is set to change with the entry of former Nairobi Governor Dr Evans Kidero, current Woman Representative Gladys Wanga and ODM National Chairman John Mbadi.
Earlier last week Magwanga was publicly endorsed by elders from the greater Rachuonyo community at a ceremony held at the famous Kosele Stadium in Kasipul Constituency.
The coronation that saw the former MP handed a three legged traditional stool, a spear and a shield was presided over by the chairman of the greater Rachuonyo elders council, Mzee Phares Ogada and the secretary Mzee Caleb Ouko.
Former Karachuonyo MP Phoebe Asiyo who is part of the council sent her apologies as she was said to be unwell.
When he spoke, Magwanga recounted his battle to be in charge of the county operations as governor and how he eventually lost in a protracted court battle that pronounced Awiti as winner.
He likened his loss to a common phenomenon when maize is being ground into flour then suddenly electric power goes off.
In such an instant, he said, “When power returns, you continue with the maize in the machine first before you allow a new set to be ground.”
Magwanga said he was best suited to inherit the seat from Awiti because he was the most experienced among the other contestants.
He reminded the audience of his exemplary leadership attributes that saw him emerge as the best MP while serving as both Kasipul Kabondo and later as Kasipul after the former was split into two. He was ranked as the best performing MP then.
Observers are watching and weighing the chances of Magwanga following the move by the elders to endorse him.
Will the rest of the sons of the greater Rachuonyo who were interested in running for governor abandon their ambitions and rally behind Magwanga?
Instructively, none of them attended the Kosele coronation and they were not available for comments. They are Edward Koriko, Dr Richard Muga who are both serving in the Cyprian Awiti administration as ministers and KUPPET secretary general Akello Misori.
Though the current governor hails from Rachuonyo, it was not immediately clear if he supported the move by the elders or not.
Mzee Ogada who spoke on behalf of the elders implored upon the other aspirants to rally behind Magwanga and allow the region to present one formidable candidate to run against the others.
Former Chief Officer in Homa Bay County Dr Evance Abeka pointed to the looming battle for votes in the county that will pit Magwanga against the others who are equally heavy weights on their own merits.
He threw his weight behind Magwanga and said he was the best candidate to take over the leadership of the county.
“Magwanga has an undisputed record in terms of leadership and development. Besides, he is still very popular with the masses who supported him in the last elections.” He said.
He added: “In a level playing ground, he would easily send the rest of the pack home very early in the morning.”