Leaders in Murang’a are already plotting to succeed Governor Mwangi Wairia in 2022.
Wairia is one of only two governors from the larger Mt Kenya region who retained their seats on August 8. That means he will not seek reelection after completing his constitutional two terms in 2022.
Several political leaders and influential businessmen from Murang’a are already meeting to strategise ahead of the 2022 General Election.
Among names said to be eyeing the governor’s seat are former Kigumo MP Jamleck Kamau and former Senator Kembi Gitura. Kamau contested the governorship in 2017 but lost to Wairia in the Jubilee primaries in April.
Having served as MP for two terms, during which he also served as a Cabinet minister, Kamau is seen as one of the most experienced politicians who can succeed Wairia.
Gitura failed to defended his seat on August 8. He first lost in the Jubilee primaries, then ran as an independent and lost to Irungu Kang’ata in the General Election.
Devolution PS Irungu Nyakera is also eyeing the seat. His interest has already caused jitters among several leaders from the region.
Nyakera led President Uhuru Kenyatta’s reelection campaign in Murang’a. Critics accuse him of grabbing the opportunity to popularise himself ahead of 2022. Nyakera has denied the allegation.
Another possible successor to Wairia is woman representative Sabina Chege. But sources said she is undecided on whether to vie for governorship or seek another seat.
“Sabina has been very vocal on both county and national politics. That is making it hard for her to decide which seat to go for in 2022. We are discussing between governor or a higher office,” a close aide told the Star.
Kang’ata is also said to be keen on the governor’s seat when Wairia exits the stage. But the former Kiharu MP said his main focus at the moment is to serve the people of Murang’a as their senator and defend President Uhuru Kenyatta’s government.
Deputy Governor James Maina has also been mentioned among possible successors. But it is thought the former Kandara MP may opt to recapture the seat he lost to Alice Wahome in 2013.
Others said to be interested in the governorship are Moses Mwangi and son of veteran politician Kenneth Matiba, Raymond Matiba. Mwangi has vied twice while Matiba came fourth in the August 8 election.
Despite hurdles, including court cases involving his integrity, Wairia won reelection with a landslide.
With 452,841 registered voters across the county, Wairia garnered 346,121 votes.
MCAs voted to impeach him in 2015 but the Senate did not uphold the move. Wairia also had his home in Gatanga raided in 2016, in what residents saw as part of his political troubles.