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Nakuru headed for interesting political times, as Kinyajui, Kihika take up new roles

By Stephen Mkawale | Published Tue, August 15th 2017 at 00:00, Updated August 14th 2017 at 22:51 GMT +3
Jubilee candidates who won in the recent polls - from left - Susan Kihika, senator, Liza Chelule, women rep and Lee Kinyanjui display their certificates at Nakuru High School on August 11, 2017. Photo/Suleiman Mbatiah/Standard

In summary

  • There are claims Kihika plans to run against Governor-elect Kinyanjui in 2022 elections
  • Sources say senator-elect tried to influence appointment of county government ministers.

Differences between Lee Kinyanjui and Susan Kihika, who have been elected governor and senator respectively, are expected to deepen as the two take up their new roles.

Although the two were elected on Jubilee tickets and are expected to work together, their political differences are likely to intensify over claims of sabotage and blackmail.

The two don't see eye to eye. Trouble started during the preparation of Jubilee's list for possible nominees to Parliament and county assembly.

There were claims Kihika was undermining Kinyanjui by backing an independent candidate for the seat.

Kinyanjui's camp has also accused Kihika of trying to influence the appointment of members of the County Executive Committee (CECs).

A source within the new governor's camp yesterday said Kihika had demanded to be given the treasury, roads and health department positions before campaigning for Kinyanjui.

"The bad blood between Kinyanjui and Kihika started when the governor-elect rejected a proposal by the Kihika group on appointment of CECs. Someone wanted to pick people for  certain key positions in the new government," a source said.

Kihika has dismissed the claims, saying she is not interested in any county executive position and is satisfied with her new role as senator.

"I have just been elected senator. The role of a senator is clear in the Constitution. A senator has no role in the appointment of the county executive committee members," said Kihika.

Last Friday, at Nakuru High School where winners had gathered to receive their certificates from IEBC, the two failed to acknowledge each other in their acceptance speeches and did not even exchange greetings.

They separately toured Nakuru Town East and Nakuru Town West constituencies to thank supporters.

Close allies say their rivalry started during preparation of Jubilee's list of nominees. Kihika is said to have presented a list that had names of her relatives and it was rejected. The list that was fronted by Kinyanjui, Bahati MP Kimani Ngunjiri and Jubilee chairman David Manyara carried the day.

But Kinyanjui has downplayed the supremacy battle, dismissing it as sideshows that would not benefit residents.

"I have just been elected the governor. I have no time for sideshows. I need to focus on the task at hand," he said.

Kihika has also dismissed claims she is eyeing governorship in 2022 and that she is not undermining the governor-elect in any way.

"2022 is still very far for me to talk about governorship. But I promise to discharge my duties as the senator," she said.