COUNTY POLITICS: Incumbents face voter backlash in president’s turf


Many issues people were angry about in 2013 have not been addressed.

In the 2013 General Election, all but one of Kiambu’s incumbent Members of Parliament (MPs) were voted out. Only Githunguri’s Njoroge Baiya survived the political tsunami.

Many voters in the populous county felt that their MPs had not done much to help them, especially in regard to the poor state of roads and education infrastructure.

This year, a purge is likely yet again in the August election. Many of the issues people were angry about in 2013 have not been addressed despite the fact that their kinsman, Mr Uhuru Kenyatta, is the President.

Incumbent MPs are sharply divided between those supporting Governor William Kabogo and those against him. Voters say too much time is wasted on feuds by MPs, even as roads and school buildings remain in deplorable conditions.

“The fights begun immediately after the elections, stalling development and causing unnecessary hatred,’’ says Ms Alice Wambui, a resident.

Thika Town’s Alice Ng’ang’a and Kabete’s Ferdinand Waititu, both of whom are in the anti-Kabogo camp, appear to attract most of the blame. Mr Waititu says he will run against Mr Kabogo in the polls.

“Mr Waititu has totally neglected his Kabete constituency and behaves like a self-appointed governor, spending time and resources criss-crossing the county in search of votes. And Ms Ng’ang’a has neglected many primary schools in her constituency, so much that the ongoing Digital Literacy Programme is hampered by lack of basic facilities,’’ says Ms Joyce Kasingu, another resident.

So sharp have the fights been that even President Uhuru Kenyatta has mostly given his home county a wide berth.

Farmer Njoroge Gathairu says: “The leaders have frustrated our expectations and should be sent home.’’

Perhaps the only exception is Kiambu Town’s Jude Njomo, who tamed commercial banks with a law capping interest rates. But whether this will help him win re-election remains to be seen.

Those out to oust the incumbents have stepped up their campaigns. Being the President’s home county, Jubilee is the party to be in. Whoever wins its ticket will be more than half way to victory.

Each of the 13 seats, including that of Woman Representative, has so far attracted at least three challengers.

Woman Representative Anna Nyokabi is facing stiff competition from former Kiambu County coordinator for the defunct The National Alliance, Ms Gladys Chania, radio presenter Gathoni Muchomba and Ms June Koinange.

In Thika, the battle is mainly between incumbent Alice N’gan’ga and businessmen Patrick Wainaina. The third aspirant is Morris Mburu.

Ruiru, represented by Ms Esther Gathogo, will also be hotly contested, with campaigns already getting violent. 

The same scenario could easily be replayed in the other constituencies – Kiambu Town, Gatundu South, Gatundu North, Lari, Limuru, Juja, Kikuyu, Kiamba and Githunguri.

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