Jubilee Party suffered a blow in Embu after one of the major contenders for the gubernatorial seat decamped to the Party of National Unity (PNU).
Former Transport Permanent Secretary Cyrus Njiru said he changed his mind about vying for governorshipnon a Jubilee ticket following endless leadership rows that have rocked the county.
Mr Njiru claimed election of JP interim leaders was marred by infighting and hooliganism, a situation worsened by leaders from the county who have split into two parallel interim committees creating further confusion.
"While I support the Jubilee government for the things they are doing for the country, I decided to steer clear of the fighting at the Embu JP office. I am a peace-loving man thus I opted to quit," he said.
Speaking at Kangaru market while mobilising youths to register as voters, Njiru described PNU as a political vehicle known for unity, which under President Mwai Kibaki achieved great milestones for Kenya.
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Njiru said whereas he supported President Kenyatta for re-election in August 8 polls, voters should consider an individual contestant's personal attributes and leadership skills.
He cautioned against voting in people on basis of their parties, observing that even in 2013 some candidates contested outside the Jubilee Alliance and won before going ahead to support the government of the day.
"Every county needs a capable governor who is well trained and competent in management of resources be they natural, human or economic," he said.
Njiru's defection comes as confusion deepened in the county over Jubilee leadership.
On Monday, one faction opened an office in Embu town after unveiling its line up of party officials.
The faction led by branch interim chair John Ndong'ong'i maintained that it is the only committee recognised by party headquarters.
Senator Lenny Kivuti, Deputy Governor Dorothy Nditi and Mbeere North MP Muriuki Njagagua attended the opening of the office.
However, a parallel committee led by Elias Kathiga, and backed by Governor Martin Wambora, Runyenjes MP Cecily Mbarire and her Manyatta counterpart John Muchiri, has dismissed the existence of any other committee.
The faction opened an office in December last year.
The offices stand about 300m apart in Embu town.
The existence of the two offices has caused confusion among party supporters, who are now calling on the party headquarters to intervene.
During yesterday's ceremony, the Ndong'ong'i led committee committed itself to mobilise over 170,000 eligible voters in the ongoing national registration.
The new faction downplayed fears of party divisions in the region.
"We will endeavour to unite the people and ensure the county remains peaceful and cohesive now and even after the party nominations. We are set to oversee a democratic, transparent, free and fair nomination exercise devoid of malpractices and favouritism," said Ndong'ong'i.
Senator Kivuti, who is eyeing the governors seat in the forthcoming polls, said he was determined to see the county emerge top in the country in the ongoing voter recruitment.
President Uhuru Kenyatta has promised to award counties that register the highest number of voters.
His deputy and Mbeere North MP said Embu people will chart their destiny in a transparent exercise and cautioned against attempts by outsiders to influence the party's nomination.
Several aspirants among them current sitting MCAs who are jostling to defend their seats on a JP ticket attended the event.