Show of might in Mt Kenya as UDA dominates ward contests

Kenya Kwanza's Rigathi Gachagua and Mithika Linturi when they toured several towns in Meu during election campaigns. [Phares Mutembei, Standard]

The United Democratic Alliance of Deputy President William Ruto will control the majority of county assemblies in Mount Kenya, despite interesting comebacks and debuts across the region.

In the Meru County Assembly, the UDA and outgoing Meru Governor Kiraitu Murungi’s Devolution Empowerment Party (DEP) shared the spoils.

UDA and DEP, or ‘Bus’, performed well in the ward contest among the 45 elected MCAs from nine sub-counties. Kiraitu’s party won 20 of the seats, four of which came from his own South Imenti constituency.

Abogeta West MCA Dennis ‘DMK’ Kiogora, who successfully defended his seat, was among the winners from his home Sub-County. Mutembei Mbiuki of Igoji West was among the others.

UDA received 11 seats, with Meru County Coordinator Dr Kaberia Kubai confirming yesterday that they were likely to form the Minority in the assembly and thus win the position of Leader of the Minority.

Other DEP ward reps included Kithinji Ethaiba (Nkomo), Duncan Kangwana (Maua) and Felix Mwirigi of the Ruiri-Rwarera ward.

The UDA campaign brigade was led by Senator Mithika Linturi, who was the UDA candidate for the governor seat.

The battle between UDA and DEP was more visible in Tigania West’s Athwana Ward, where Majority Leader Victor Kariithi, a close ally of Kiraitu, fought hard to keep the seat.

“Our goal was to win all MCA positions, but the Meru people had other ideas. But we must acknowledge the public’s support for Kenya Kwanza. We also received five MPs from the nine constituencies,” Dr Kubai said.

With Kiraitu in the Raila Odinga’a Azimio La Umoja Coalition, his party and the Party of National Unity, which is affiliated with Agriculture CS Peter Munya, could form a majority.

PNU received five seats, Jubilee received six, and others won on independent tickets. There are at least 27 Azimio-affiliated MCAs.

Seven members of the 35-member Murang’a County Assembly reclaimed their seats after a bruising political battle. Alex Ndunda (PNU) of Ithanga ward in Gatanga, was previously nominated by the Jubilee Party to represent minority groups. Kibe wa Sarry (UDA) was re-elected to lead Kandara constituency’s Ithiru ward, while Peter Murigi Mukara (UDA) was re-elected to lead Muruka ward. 

On an independent ticket, Wambugu Mwangi reclaimed the Kamacharia seat in the Mathioya ward, while James Kabera was re-elected in the Maragua constituency’s Kamahuha ward.

Meru Governor Kiraitu Murungi. [George Kaimenyi, Standard]

Caroline Wairimu Njoroge (ANC) was elected to the Kigumo constituency’s Kigumo ward. She was previously nominated after failing in 2017 to reclaim the position she had won in 2013.

Elizabeth Mwangi, a former nominated MCA, was elected in Maragua’s Kimorori Wempa ward. The UDA controlled 25 of the 30 MCAs in Rigathi Gachagua’s home county of Nyeri.

Four independent MCAs were elected, as well as one on the Amani National Congress ticket (ANC).

There were 18 re-elections, with four women, three more than the previous term. MCA Kiruga Thuku of Chinga said the outcome was a clear indication of where voters’ hearts were.

Caroline Wanjiku Muriithi, the Karumandi ward representative, is Kirinyaga’s only woman elected to the County Assembly.

Ms Muriithi was declared the winner of the Karumandi ward after receiving 4,834 votes against her opponent Harrison Muchira’s 3,774 votes.

Ms Muriithi’s political career began when Azimio’s Martha Karua helped nominate her to the county council. She had previously served as the Councillor for Karumandi on the defunct county council for five years.

Her husband, she says, has always encouraged her despite her difficult circumstances as a politician.

Kinyua Wangui (Mutira) and David Mathenge (Baragwi) are two other ward representatives who have retained their seats under UDA.

New entrants who ran on a UDA ticket are; Jinaro Njamumo(Mutithi), Jeremiah Makimi (Kariti), former Kirinyaga county council chairman Geoffrey Murimi (Kiine), and Peter Karinga (Tebere).

Others are veterinarian James Wambu (Kangai), Kenneth Mwendia (Nyangati), Fredrick Maina (Inoi), Eric Muchina (Kerugoya ward), and John Ngahu (Gathigiriri).

The list also included Joseph Kiragu (TSP), Moses Maina (Kanyekiini), Isaiah Mureithi (Kabare), Timothy Kariuki (Njukiini), Daniel Muriithi (Ngariama), Charles Nyamu (TSP), Thomas Mwangi (Mukure) and Jubilee’s Peter Gitonga of Wamumu ward.

[Report by Boniface Gikandi, Jane Mugambi and Phares Mutembei]