Race to replace MP Koinange in Kiambaa begins in earnest
The battle to succeed the late Kiambaa lawmaker Paul Koinange, who died two weeks ago, is taking shape, with divisions pitting President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto over 2022 campaigns as well as county politics emerging among key factors that will influence the by-election.
Twelve candidates have so far shown interest in the seat amid heightened political activities directed towards the by-election, the second in Uhuru’s home county, after the Juja mini-poll scheduled for May 18.
Those in the race include businessman-cum-politician Kariri Njama who will be making a second stab, United States-based Raymond Kuria on a third go, governance consultant Charles Munyui and Eric Mutura who are making second and third tiers respectively, Kiambu Liaison Director Damaris Wambui, relative of the late MP and 2017 Woman Rep aspirant Lydia Njeri.
The Koinange Family is yet to go public on the by election, but according to reliable sources is mulling endorsing their kin-Leah Koinange to contest.
Others are Evans Gichia who has contested thrice without success, former Muchatha Ward Rep Peter Kiarie and his former nominated counterpart Sarah Kamithi Richard Njoroge, Njuguna wa Wanjiku, Lucy Wanjiru and Josphat Kamanya.
The contest is already promising to be bruising, with candidates and their backers fighting each other over associations with Uhuru and Ruto who has been keen to make inroads to advance his 2022 chances, as well as links with Kiambu County Government as they seek to advance their chances.
Kariri who in 2017 garnered 15,505 votes after returning to the race as independent candidate, Kuria and Njuguna are already battling Ruto links, while Wambui is facing criticism over connection to a county administration grappling with accusations of not living to the expectations of the people after the ouster of Ferdinand Waititu last year.
Yesterday, Kariri and Kuria, who are among the frontrunners denied any links with Ruto, with the former saying even though he was hosted by the DP at his Karen residence last year in a move seen fight Koinange who as a tough backer of Uhuru, and also hosted his in Banana in February, we was in Jubilee and termed the criticisms as propaganda.
“My Jubilee membership number is JP19347. Claims that I am affiliated to Ruto are propaganda. It’s true; in February we had visitors (DP who were bringing goodies to us.
I welcomed them but I cautioned them against disrespecting Uhuru because he is a man we support,” said Kariri to over the weekend got the backing of some Kanu officials led by George Wainaina.
Kuria, a known philanthropist through his Raymond Kuria Foundation, will be taking a third stab having unsuccessfully vied in 2013 and 2017 when he lost to Koinange during primaries, and yesterday, he said and he was eying the Jubilee ticket, and sought to disassociate himself from the Hustler movement.
“We are in the race and our aim is to capture the Jubilee Party ticket. We are hopeful that the primaries will be free and fair.
Those trying to link us to other people (DP) are free to say whatever they want. There is what people say and there is always the truth,” Kuria said.
On the other hand, Mutura has been running Bunge Mashinani, a movement that organized community meetings operated like a parliamentary session where electorate voice development concerns and hold elected leaders to account, and is a key supporter of Uhuru and his building Bridges Initiative (BBI) will be making a third trial.
During the 2013 elections, Mutura who is also a frontrunner was second having contested on the defunct Grand National Unity (GNU) party that was associated with former minister Mwangi Kiunjuri while in 2017 he was third in the party primaries after Koinange who was a key supporter of BBI and Kariri.
“We are in the race and our party remains Jubilee. Of course we have a lot of dynamics playing out. We have the Uhuru and Ruto factors because we have candidates from both camps and also a county determined to have one of their own. We are ready to market ourselves,” Mutura said.
Munyui, a vocal supporter of Uhuru, and who at one point was a Personal Assistance to former larger Kiambaa MP Stanley Githunguri (2007-2012) will make a third attempt with the constituency where regional (Kiambaa and Kihara) and clan tags are factors.
“We have the potential and our consistency in support for the President’s agendas such BBI that has seen us stuck with Jubilee, revenue sharing and the Big Four Agenda has been unwavering. We want to take it to the next level,” Munyui told People Daily.