Jostling for Murang’a seat ropes in titans

Thursday, June 24th, 2021 00:00 |
Murang'a Senator Irungu Kang'ata. PHOTO/COURTESY

Wangari Njuguna

With the 2022 polls fast approaching, candidates for the Murang’a County governorship have started laying ground for what is shaping up as a battle of titans.

While some candidates have already hit the ground, others have deployed their foot soldiers with goodies to rally support from the electorate.

The seat has so far attracted seasoned politicians and top government officials.

They include Murang’a Woman Representative Sabina Wanjiru Chege, Roads Cabinet Secretary James Macharia, former Kigumo MP Jamleck Kamau, senator Irungu Kang’ata, Water PS James Wairagu, former Planning Ministry permanent secretary Irungu Nyakera, former Senate Deputy Speaker Kembi Gitura and a two-time gubernatorial aspirant Moses Mwangi.

Chege, the only female candidate who has declared her interest in the seat, said she is ready to face off with her male counterparts exuding confidence of becoming the first female governor for the county.

“It is high time people embraced women in leadership as they have shown their capacity to undertake various tasks given to them,” she said.

Local terrain

According to Chege, having served as the county women representative she was familiar with the Murang’a local terrain and was therefore better placed to replace governor Mwangi wa Iria who is serving his second term.  

“The only thing that is going to change is the title from women representative to a governor because I have been managing the county’s affairs though at a different level,” she said.

Chege last week advised Wairagu to remain the public service and leave the seat to politicians.

Wairagu has been riding on various water projects being implemented by the National government to endear himself to the people.

His Kwaura Kwaura slogan suggesting that he is helping women from fetching water from rivers is gaining traction. 

The strategy has however not gone well with some leaders who accuse him of taking the credit for the projects which should go to the president.

Wairagu believes he holds a solution to the people of Murang’a with his key focus being on agriculture saying various irrigation projects are being implemented in the county to help boost food production and spur economic growth.

The PS has indicated that he will start his election campaigns at the right time.

Jamleck who is currently the chairman Tana and Athi Rivers Development (Tarda) has started regaining visibility after four years after losing to Wa Iria in the 2017  Jubilee nominations.

Issues of farming, especially milk, tea and coffee as well the push to rotate the key seats are among the factors that are likely to shape the contest.

Kamau said he has been giving the governor time to complete his tenure in office but hinted of launching his campaigns soon noting that he still desires to serve the 550,000 populous county as governor.

Though he has not declared interest in the seat, Kang’ata is widely expected to be the candidate to beat. 

The youthful lawyer who a strong ally of Deputy President William Ruto, has risen steadily from the post of councillor, MP and senator indicating that he has a way with the electorate.

Initially one of President Uhuru Kenyatta loyalists which saw him appointed Senate Majority Whip, Kang’ata fell out with the Jubilee top brass when he wrote the controversial letter  to the Head of State criticising the BBI. 

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