It’s Ruto's six against Uhuru’s one in Kiambu governor race

At least eight aspirants in the Kenya Kwanza Alliance have expressed interest in the governor seat.

In Summary

• At least eight aspirants in the Kenya Kwanza Alliance have expressed interest in the governor seat.

• Kiambu Governor James Nyoro is the only Azimio La Umoja candidate.

Deputy President William Ruto unites Kiambu county Kenya Kwanza Governor aspirant during a rally on Sunday March 13, 2022 at Thika Stadium.
Deputy President William Ruto unites Kiambu county Kenya Kwanza Governor aspirant during a rally on Sunday March 13, 2022 at Thika Stadium.
Image: DPPS

The stage for the Kiambu governor seat race is now set.

Political heavyweights from the county are poised for a major showdown to oust the incumbent governor James Nyoro who defendin the seat.

At least sixaspirants in the Kenya Kwanza Alliance have expressed interest in the seat with Nyoro, a Jubilee member, appearing to be the most formidable candidate on the Azimio La Umoja camp.

Leaders who have thrown their hats into the ring through party tickets affiliated with Kenya Kwanza Alliance include Moses Kuria (Chama Cha Kazi-CCK), William Kabogo (Tujibebe Party), Kimani Wamatangi (UDA), Wainaina Jungle (UDA), Mwende Gatabaki (UDA) and Ferdinand Waititu Baba Yao (UDA).

Former Kiambu Governor William Kabogo
Former Kiambu Governor William Kabogo
Image: Joseph Kaguora

Kabogo served as the first governor of Kiambu county and was ousted by Waititu in the 2017 elections.

Waititu could, however, not finish his term in office following his impeachment in December 2019 over graft related charges.

Hon. Mwende Gatabaki
Hon. Mwende Gatabaki
Image: JOSEPH KAGUORA

Others eyeing the seat include Juliet Kimemia, on a Kanu ticket.

Another aspirant Agnes Kimemia is also seeking the governor seat but she is yet to announce her political vehicle.

Deputy President William Ruto will have to deploy neutrality considering that many influential leaders eyeing the governor seat in Kiambu have agreed to back him for the presidency.

Kiambu governor James Nyoro
Kiambu governor James Nyoro
Image: Joseph Kaguora

This will enable him to bag the much needed presidential votes as the governor seats aspirants face each other in the contest.

Danger lurks for Kenya Kwanza, however, because if the leaders end up reaching the ballot, Nyoro, who is likely to be endorsed by the Azimio camp, might end up toppling them since they will share the votes.

As they say, all politics are local, regional balance will also play a key role in the race and also influence the selection of the deputy governor.

Kuria, Jungle, Kabogo and Kuria hail from Kiambu East while Nyoro and Wamatangi come from Kiambu West.

If Ruto's camp does not agree on who among them will fly the Kenya Kwanza flag, they risk watering their chances of clinching the seat.

Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria
Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria
Image: JOSEPH KAGUORA

In the event President Uhuru Kenyatta hits the ground to campaign for Nyoro, the incumbent will have his chances boosted.

Uhuru, who hails from Kiambu East, will bank on his mega infrastructural projects in Kiambu to try and influence the political direction of not only the presidency but also the governor seat.

Some of the mega projects Uhuru might use to lure residents include the construction of Mau Mau road and its bypasses, state of the art markets in Kikuyu, Ruiru and Githurai among others.

And as they assemble to kick out Nyoro, the incumbent Nyoro is no pushover.

Kiambu Governor Aspirant Mwende Gatabaki
Kiambu Governor Aspirant Mwende Gatabaki
Image: JOSEPH KAGUORA

The governor, who made his way to the office following the impeachment of Waititu, will be fronting his development projects in luring residents to retain him.

Also, Nyoro has had a stab at the governor seat before. He vied for the governor seat in 2013 but lost to Kabogo both in the TNA primaries and the main election.

He shelved his bid in 2017 and accepted to be Waititu's running mate, a marriage that did not last long.

This experience will come in handy in strategising his way to victory.

Kiambu being a cosmopolitan County may see Nyoro also enjoy the support of the minority groups.

Thika MP Patrick Wainaina (Wainaina wa Jungle)
Thika MP Patrick Wainaina (Wainaina wa Jungle)
Image: JOSEPH KAGUORA

A good number of Luos, Kambas and Luhyas work in tea plantations, industrial parks and other informal sectors in the county.

The three communities backing Azimio la Umoja means Nyoro might bag the votes.

Political analyst Macharia Wainaina says if either of the competitors chooses a running mate from the opposite region and preferably a woman then women's votes may count.

Former Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu at a past function in Kiambu.
Former Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu at a past function in Kiambu.
Image: John Kamau

“Already Nyoro has a woman as his deputy governor. But if any of Kenya Kwanza governor aspirants convince somebody like Mwende Gatabaki to step down, then the regional balance and the women vote may favour them,” said Wainaina.

Mwende, is the daughter of former Githunguri MP late Njeru Gatabaki and wife to Economist David Ndii who hails from Kijabe in Lari, Kiambu West region.

“WATCH: The latest videos from the Star”