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February 21, 2019

2022 politics in play as Nanok is tipped to retain CoG chair

Turkana Governor Josphat Nanok addresses the governor's induction meeting in Kwale on Thursday, December 14, 2017. /PSCU
Turkana Governor Josphat Nanok addresses the governor's induction meeting in Kwale on Thursday, December 14, 2017. /PSCU

Turkana Governor Josphat Nanok was last evening poised to retain the Council of Governors chairmanship in an intricate turn of events.

Some Jubilee governors apparently switched camp to his side in what seemed to be an interplay of regional interests and 2022 politics.

Nanok (ODM-NASA) was facing his Kwale counterpart Salim Mvurya who was sponsored by Jubilee for the strategic position.

Sources privy to the unfolding events told the Star some Jubilee governors perceived to be close to Deputy President William Ruto were uncomfortable with Mvurya as the CoG chairman.

Insiders explained that Mvurya was perceived as soft and would easily be overshadowed by his would-be deputy — Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru.

"The feeling was that dominance by Governor Waiguru may not augur well with Ruto’s 2012 plans, hence the need to keep Nanok who is perceived as tough," a source said.

Read: North Rift governors pledge to back Nanok for second term as CoG chair

Also read: Mvurya tipped to replace Nanok as Council of Governors chair

Waiguru exercised immense power in government when she served as the Devolution Cabinet Secretary.

She stepped aside after intense criticism over the NYS scandal. Waiguru won the Kirinyaga governorship during the August 8 election, beating former Gichugu MP Martha Karua.

Ruto is expected to run for the presidency in 2022 under Jubilee after the expiry of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s second and final term. A CoG chairman serves for a one-year term that can be renewed once.

Because Uhuru had endorsed Mvurya, he was expected to easily edge out Nanok. But the Turkana chief lobbied or showed much enthusiasm in retaining the seat. Some governors considered Mvurya’s down-to-earth personality a weakness.

The Star also learnt that some Jubilee governors were unhappy with Mvurya after the Kwale county assembly approved the NASA-backed People’s Assembly bill. They questioned why he did not use his influence to defeat the motion.

"This is something he could have worked on and stopped by all means," one Jubilee governor said.

Mvurya’s other fault is that he also failed to get a assembly speaker of his choice, as ODM carried the day.

"This means he has no control of anything. That’s why Jubilee governors will not elect him, despite being fronted by the President," he added.

Murang’a Governor Mwangi Wairia, however, said Mvurya was the right choice and Jubilee governors would heed Uhuru’s call.

"We will dialogue and decide. Whoever will be elected to the positions will work together and progress with the role of serving the people," he said.

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