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Three deputy governors challenge bosses in polls

David Kariuki (left), Francis Kagwima (top) and Peter Ndambiri. [File, Standard]

Three deputy governors in Mt Kenya are vying against their bosses in the August 9 elections.

The three are the deputy governors of Kirinyaga, Embu and Tharaka Nithi.

In Embu, after two terms at the helm, Governor Martin Wambora has opted to vie for the Embu senatorial seat in a crowded field of political heavyweights.

Those he will compete against include David Kariuki, an accountant, who has been his deputy for the last five years.

After Kariuki resigned from his CEO position at Winas Sacco to be Wambora’s running mate in 2017, the honeymoon didn’t last long.

Insiders in the Embu County Government said Kariuki was not offered any docket until over three years into the term when he was named Health executive. He resigned from the docket in January over differences with his boss.

Kariuki cited lack of support, saying he tried all he could to resuscitate the Health docket but his hands were tied.

“We have tried where we can since I was asked to hold the docket in April 2021,” Kariuki said.

Kariuki said he had asked the governor to assign someone else the docket so that he may be absolved from any blame.

Edged out

Wambora then appointed Public Service Chief Officer John Mukundi to preside over the docket.

Kariuki will be running for the Embu senatorial seat on a United Democratic Alliance (UDA) ticket. He edged out big names in the primaries, including incumbent Njeru Ndwiga and former Kamukunji MP and National Assembly Chief Whip Norman Nyagah.

Ndwiga and Nyagah will vie as independents while Wambora will be running on the ticket of the little-known Umoja Maendeleo Party.

Former PS Lilian Mbogo is flying the Jubilee Party flag while perennial contestant Alexander Mundigi is running on a DP ticket.

In Tharaka Nithi, Deputy Governor Francis Kagwima on a Wiper ticket will be seeking to unseat his boss Muthomi Njuki (UDA).

The two leaders had different characters and temperament.

Kagwima joined politics in the 1980s. Njuki who has the gift of the gab, on the other hand, joined politics in 2013 when he was elected Chuka Igambangómbe MP.

“I have been working with Kagwima who has left me to compete for the same position. This delayed my naming of a running mate as I considered my other options,” Njuki said last week defending his failure to name his number two.

Insiders in the Tharaka Nithi county government said Njuki’s forceful personality contrasted sharply with Kagwima’s cool demeanour, leading to the latter’s frustrations.

Kagwima, who was first named Trade executive in Njuki’s first government, lost his portfolio in the first reshuffle, after the docket was merged with Finance.

Kirinyaga Deputy Governor Peter Ndambiri will be running against his current boss Anne Waiguru.

Ndambiri is the running mate of Jubilee Party candidate Charles Kibiru after the party initiated mediation to have the two run on a joint ticket.

Ndambiri and Waiguru have had a strained relationship ever since the latter suspected the former supported her impeachment by the county assembly on June 2, 2020.

Waiguru was later saved by the Senate which rejected the impeachment motion.

Ndambiri said yesterday that he was happy that he went on record early about his fallout with the boss.

“I am on record speaking about the frustrations and everyone in Kirinyaga knows I cannot be linked to the failures of Ms Waiguru’s government,” Ndambiri said yesterday.

“I saw it coming and now all I have from this memory is good fodder for my campaigns on how things went wrong.”

Ndambiri said he and Kibiru had signed a 50-50 power sharing agreement, in which he would hold the Finance docket.