Veterans eye Senate seat as Karue vows to oust governor


All the hopefuls want to gun for the seat on a Jubilee ticket. [email protected]

Three months after Nyandarua Senator Muriuki Karue announced he would not be defending his seat, the race to succeed him has begun.

In December, Mr Karue declared that he would seek to oust Governor Waithaka Mwangi, insisting that “I am the remedy for runaway corruption and other social and political ills bedevilling our county”.

Following the announcement, four former MPs now want to step into Mr Karue’s shoes. The latest entrant is former Kipipiri lawmaker Mwangi Githiomi.

Mr Githiomi, who once served as planning minister, had initially shown interest in the governor position.

He became popular in 1995 when he vied for the Kipipiri seat on a DP ticket during a by-election necessitated by the death of area MP Laban Muchemi.

Mr Githiomi beat Mr Joe Maina of the ruling Kanu party.

After the defeat, despite investing heavily on the by-election, the government stopped an electrification project in Kipipiri.

Mr Githiomi defended his seat in 1997 but would later lose to Mr Amos Kimunya of the National Rainbow Coalition in the December 2002 General Election.

He unsuccessfully contested the seat in 2013 together with Mr Kimunya. They lost to Mr Samuel Gichigi of Alliance Party of Kenya.

Also in the Senate seat race is former Ndaragwa MP Muchiri Gachara.

Others are former Kinangop lawmaker David Ngugi and Mr Kamau Thirikwa who served as Ndaragwa MP during the Kanu days.

Mr Ngugi and Mr Thirikwa unsuccessfully contested the governor and Ndaragwa Central Ward representative seats respectively in 2013.

Youthful Macharia Mukua who unsuccessfully vied for the Ndaragwa parliamentary seat in 2013 is also in the race for the Senate position.

Also in the race are Women and Youth Leadership Alliance chairperson and Nyandarua Federation of Jua Kali Traders boss Jedidah Wanyeki, Mr Francis Kamau and Ms Beatrice Kamau a political activist.

Mr Ngugi is from the populous Kinangop Constituency, Mr Githiomi from Kipipiri while Mr Mukua, Mr Thirikwa and Mr Gachara are from semi-arid Ndaragwa Constituency.

Ms Kamau is from Ol Kalou Constituency while Ms Wanyeki is a resident of Oljororok.

Analysts say Mr Githiomi, Mr Gachara and Mr Ngugi are the people to watch in the race.

“The rest have few chances, considering that the former lawmakers have the political experience and financial muscle,” Mr Joseph Mwangi, a businessman, said.

Ms Kamau and Ms Wanyeki have dismissed the notion, saying only voters would decide.

Ms Wanyeki who has been fighting for equal representation in leadership spearheaded a drive to encourage women and youth enlist as voters.

“I believe in women and youth leadership and that is why we need to change the traditional way of doing things. Women contribute a lot to development,” she told the Nation by phone.

Mr Mukua argues that it is time Nyandarua elects young people “since the old guard has failed the county”.

“Residents should realise that politicians describing themselves as veterans have nothing to offer us. They did nothing during their stint as lawmakers,” he said.

“We should say ‘No’ to recycling politicians.”

According to Ms Susan Mukami, a political observer, the seat would likely go to Kinangop or Kipipiri as the two constituencies have many voters.

All the hopefuls want to gun for the seat on a Jubilee ticket.

With parties’ primaries being only a month away, the aspirants are doing all they can to attract votes.
They have turned to church services, funerals, weddings and social media.

“We are moving from house to house unlike in the past where we used to hold public meetings. This is the only way we can endear ourselves to the people,” Mr Gachara said while promising his opponents a tough battle ahead of the Jubilee nominations.

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