By Wainaina Ndung’u and Boniface Gikandi
The race to succeed the late John Njoroge Michuki entered its last stretch this week, with the six candidates invoking the name of the late Cabinet minister to win votes in the by-election on Monday.
Michuki was known in his Kangema constituency for his impeccable record in public service delivery.
As the campaigns reach homestretch, aspirants have been meeting opinion leaders from the region, including civic leaders and elite to win their support.
Presidential hopefuls, Uhuru Kenyatta, Peter Kenneth, Musalia Mudavadi, and Raila Odinga have shown interest in Kangema and Kajiado parliamentary seats.
TNA leader Uhuru Kenyatta has toured the area to campaign for Tiras Ngahu. ODM’s Raila Odinga and Musalia Mudavadi for UDF are also expected to hold fierce campaign battles ahead of the by-elections. ODM is supporting the Mkenya Solidarity Movement candidate, John Gathogo. Majority of the candidates hail from the upper region of the constituency, leaving Simon Mwangi of UDF as the only one from the lower Iyego Location. However, the Party of National Unity (PNU) strategist, Peter Kagwanja, says fielding of candidates by the TNA to replace PNU MPs in Kangema and Kajiado North constituencies was ill advised.
“One of the greatest damage that TNA has done to the PNU is fielding candidate in these constituencies to replace PNU MPs,” he says.
Nevertheless, the five Murang’a County MPs have avoided the campaigns. One MP argues that they felt ignored, especially after they got invitations through text messages to join Uhuru in Kangema.
The candidates include, Tiras Nyingi Ngahu (TNA), Simon Mwangi (UDF), Muturi Kigano (Saba Saba Asili), Njuguna Mwangi (Mzalendo Saba Saba), John Gathogo (Mkenya Solidarity Movement), and Paul Kimani Mugo (PNU).
Prof Kagwanja says Kangema had always elected an astute, well-educated politicians to Parliament who later rise to national prominence, a factor, he adds, could put TNA’s Ngahu behind Mugo. Mugo holds a Master’s degree in Business Administration and is said to have strong political support from the locals after he emerged second after the late Michuki in the 2007 elections.
Ngahu is a former high school teacher and is in the insurance industry. UDF’s Mwangi holds a degree in commerce and has been a long serving accountant at the Murang’a County Council. Kigano of Saba Saba Asili is a Nairobi-based lawyer who served in the defunct Electoral Commission of Kenya.