SECTIONS

Battle looms in Nakuru as 11 go for seats of MP

 

Former Njoro MP Joseph Kiuna (left), Bahati MP Kimani Ngunjiri and Naivasha MP Jayne Kihara. [Courtesy].

Legislators in Nakuru County are facing stiff competition from seasoned and new entrant seeking to unseat them in the coming General Election.

A majority of the 11 MPs are gravitating towards Deputy President William Ruto and are set to seek re-election on United Democratic Alliance (UDA) tickets. Jayne Kihara (Naivasha), Kimani Ngunjiri (Bahati), Samuel Gachobe (Subukia), Joseph Tonui (Kuresoi South), Moses Cheboi (Kuresoi North), Charity Kathambi (Njoro) and David Gikaria (Nakuru Town East) were all elected on Jubilee Party and have since decamped to UDA.

Kuria Kimani (Molo) and Martha Wangari (Gilgil) were also elected on Jubilee ticket and have been non-committal on the parties through which they will vie for their respective seats. Nakuru Town West MP Samuel Arama (Jubilee) and his Rongai counterpart Raymond Moi (Kanu) have remained loyal to their respective parties and are set to use them in the August polls.

The parliamentary battles in the county have been heated up with the formation of political coalitions-Azimio La Umoja and Kenya Kwanza both of which have intensified their campaigns. The race for Bahati parliamentary seat currently held by Kimani Ngunjiri will be one of the tightly contested posts following the entry of philanthropist and career civil servant Irene Njoki. Njoki who is set to resign as Personal Assistant to Transport CS James Macharia before the February 9 deadline has already hit the ground running.

“I have decided to join politics to bring the needed change in leadership. Top of my agenda is education, youth and women empowerment, water access, talents, roads and security,” said Njoki.

The upcoming politician who is yet to declare her political party has adopted Ngunjiri’s strategy of empowerment programmes for youth and women she has sponsored through technical courses. She has also indicated readiness to give Ngunjiri a run for his money after she acquired a fleet of jeeps which she has been using in her campaigns and visibility in the constituency.

It will, however, not be a walk in the park for her as Ngunjiri who is now eyeing UDA ticket was the MP elected to Parliament in 2017 with the highest number of votes-59,150 in the county. Other contenders in the race include Nakuru businessman John Mbugua, Paul Mwaura, Steve Kihara who are yet to officially declare their political parties.

Strong political families and sibling rivalry is spicing up the Rongai parliamentary battle. Interestingly, sons of former area MP the late William Komen are currently on opposing sides. Raymond Komen is set to resign as Trade Executive in Nakuru and has already put up billboards indicating that he will vie for the seat on a UDA ticket.

His younger brother Kibet Komen will also be vying for the seat. In 2017, Kibet ran for the seat on a Jubilee Party ticket and emerged second with 25,219 votes.

“Am aware my brother is also vying for the same seat. I will be on the ballot again in August on a Jubilee Party ticket. Our late father gave me the blessings to carry on the political mantle in the family,” said Kibet in a phone interview.

The seat is currently held by Raymond Kipruto Moi, a son of former President Daniel Moi who is set to defend it on a Kanu ticket and has served for two terms. In 2017 he retained the seat with 32,101 votes. The return of former powerful Interior Principal Secretary Zakayo Cheruiyot is heating up politics in UDA-dominated Kuresoi South Constituency currently led by first time MP Joseph Tanui. Cheruiyot’s determination to recapture the seat after losing it in 2017 has been evident since his move to ditch Chama Cha Mashinani where he was the deputy party leader for UDA.

Nakuru Finance and Economic Planning Executive Peter Ketyenya is also set to quit and give a second attempt for the seat.

“I will soon announce my exit at the county government to specifically serve people from my home area. I am in the race and confident. Infrastructural upgrade is among the pressing needs for the people of Kuresoi South,” said Ketyenya.

Also seeking the seat on a UDA ticket is MP Gideon Keter who was nominated to parliament in 2017 by the ruling Jubilee Party.

“Kuresoi South has great potential especially in agriculture and sports talents but has lacked the right leadership to support its people. These are some of the gaps I want to address if elected,” said Keter.

In Nakuru Town East, Mr David Gikaria will be defending his seat against Nakuru Assembly Speaker Joel Kairu who will be vying on a Jubilee Party ticket.

“I am ready for this race. Nakuru Town East has lagged behind in terms of development and I believe am the person to bring change,” said Kairu