By FRANCIS NGIGE and MOSES NJAGIH
When Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta embarked on a campaign trail in central Kenya, he had one message to the electorate: A vote for TNA was a vote for him.
Just to make sure that his point was home, Uhuru made three visits to Kangema constituency and also campaigned vigorously for TNA candidates in civic seats in Mutira and Ikinu Wards in Kirinyaga and Kiambu.
With numerous parties competing against each other in the populous region, Uhuru saw the by-election as a way of introducing TNA as the party of choice in the area.
Apart from facing competition from other national leaders, Uhuru faces the dilemma of trying to handle the influence of Narc-Kenya leader Martha Karua and Gatanga MP Peter Kenneth.
Monday’s win for TNA candidate Tirus Ngahu who garnered 13,752 votes against United Democratic Forum (UDF) Simon Mwangi’s 2,981 was a boost to Uhuru’s party.
The outcome of the election may be viewed as spite on former Mungiki leader Maina Njenga and to a larger extent Prime Minister Raila Odinga.
Njenga’s Mkenya Solidarity Movement candidate John Gathogo faired dismally, managing 400 only votes despite Raila gracing his campaigns.
Njenga’s influence among the rural unemployed youth was expected to play a role but this did not materialise.
However, a reason for Uhuru to worry is the rising popularity of his colleague Musalia Mudavadi’s UDF, which came second in the by-election.
In Kirinyaga, Mwangi Kiunjuri’s Grand National Union nearly clinched the Mutira Civic ward despite Uhuru campaigning for the aspiring councillor Ezekiel Githinji of TNA.