To the surprise of many pundits, Rtd Maj. Godhana’s star is unexpectedly shining in the western pastoralist dominated area of Wayu and Waldena,Galole Sub County.
During the last General election when Tana River County went to the polls the outcome depicted a highly ethnic and polarized County. The three major communities ie Pokomo, Orma and Wardei each voted for a candidate of their own leading to Governor Godhana winning by a whisker to unseat the then incumbent Hussein Dado.
It was during the vote count that those who were observant noted that Rtd.Major Godhana received substantial votes from Wayu and Waldena, but few bothered to find out why, However, it is now becoming clear that the Retired Major has made inroads and is becoming more popular in the region.
Those who were present at Maumau Girls Secondary, the County tallying center can attest to the fact that Godhana in his acceptance speech recognized the backing he received from Wayu ward. He said
” Serikali yangu haitakuwa ya jamii moja, bali itahusisha jamii zote katika Kaunti” (My Government is going to be all inclusive). This is something that can be seen in his appointment of the County Executive Committee and County Chief Officers where he blended a mix that all communities got a slot.
To many after every election they expect that “the winner takes all”. This is the reason behind branding of the first Government as belonging to ” nguo mbili” or “kikoi”. It is for the same reason that when Godhana took over his Government became popularly known as ” Reba nguzi”. What Maj Godhana has been trying is to remove these stereotypes of inferences which divide Tana river communities along tribal lines. The struggle to bring Tana communities together is gaining momentum, but it might be catastrophic because of the nature of Kenyan politics being ethnic based.
The Wayu ward communities began enjoying favours from the sitting Governor when he was the MP Galole between 2007- 2013.
He used his Constituency Development funds to initiate projects like Waldena Secondary and Waldena Health Center. The Health center was an Economic Stimulus project under (Rtd)/President Kibaki’s Administration. Unfortunately the two projects stalled. When Hussein Dado took over as Governor he neglected them for fear that he will give political mileage to Godhana.
During the 2017 campaign period Major Godhana promised to complete the projects he initiated if he was elected,True to his word the Governor completed the projects and has listed numerous other projects like Daba International Airport, Dayate metropolitan business hub and official headquarters of the County. The county is also planning a highway to connect Hola and Mutha that will shorten the distance to Nairobi and open up the hinterland for investment.
Major Godhana’s paradigm shift from areas domiciled by farmers who supported him 100% to Wayu ward is what is making Godhana very popular in that area. If the status quo is maintained the orma candidates will have a rough time wrestling Godhana in the region come 2022 general elections.
Finally what Godhana needs to do is to get good will from the Pokomo community that supported him in 2017. Majority are disenfranchised and are breathing fire castigating him for neglecting them. The balancing act will finally be the determining factor and the yard stick whether Dr. Godhana’ s approach will succeed or backfire.