'Impressive' governors who were swept away by William Ruto's yellow wave

According to observers, Kinyanjui's biggest undoing was his failure to read the mood among the electorates on national politics which had a bearing on local politics.

"Kinyanjui aligned himself with Azimio's Raila Odinga whom Nakuru had historically voted against hoping the tide had changed when it wasn't the case," said Kinyanjui's ally who sought anonymity.

Andrew Nyabuto, a political analyst explained that the UDA brigade managed to convince residents to vote for a six-piece suit as the Azimio team drummed support for a mix and match. According to him, the governor was not voted out for non-performance but due to the 'yellow fever' that swept Rift Valley and Mt Kenya regions.

Party politics

"Areas you would have expected Kinyanjui to get more votes voted for a set of UDA candidates. Unfortunately, Kinyanjui was not tried on his decorated development record," said Nyabuto.

Health, roads and agriculture are some of the areas which Nyabuto points out as having earned the governor more points but failed to contribute to his success at the ballot.

"Areas like Kuresoi where roads were pathetic in 2017 have been improved but this is where Kinyanjui was beaten with a margin of over 30,000 votes," said Nyabuto.

He added that the governor's move to shift from Jubilee to Ubuntu People's Forum (UPF) and back to Jubilee could have also hurt his chances.

"The strength of a political party is measured based on personalities. UPF was never launched and lacked strong candidates. Jubilee Party which he vied on faced mass exodus by Nakuru MPs who have since been reelected, weakening it," said Nyabuto.

Nyabuto noted that the governor failed to run intense campaigns as compared to Kihika who held multiple rallies while hosting Deputy President William Ruto.

"This made Kihika appear as a more serious candidate as she was more in touch with the people. The governor should have held more campaigns to counter the UDA wave but instead gave Kihika a head start," said Nyabuto.

Laikipia Governor Ndiritu Muriithi. [Boniface Okendo, Standard]

Mr Waichungo also argues that Muriithi could have also lost the chance by dedicating most of his time to campaign for Raila rather than himself.

"The governor had aligned himself to Raila almost immediately the ODM luminary indicated that he would making a fifth stab at the presidency. He could have spent most of his time on the campaigns forgetting his own self" he noted.

Muriithi has been on record saying that the Mt Kenya does not owe any political debt to Deputy President William Ruto.

"If indeed there's such a debt it would be logical to start by paying the older one of 1962 which we owe the family of Oginga Odinga when he declined to form a government until Kenyatta was released from prison," he stated.

Muriithi is said to have rejected a move by Raila to return to Nairobi by suggesting that he moves by road greeting central Kenya residents.

"At first some leaders at the table were a bit hesitant to accompany Baba because they did not know how people would react. But Muriithi was quite courageous saying he would accompany him even without the others. They reluctantly agreed," recall Ndiritu's aide who declined to be named.

The stopovers at Nanyuki town, Narumoru, Chaka, Karatina, Sagana, Kenol and Githurai became symbolic of Raila's ascent to the mountain. Laikipia Jubilee Party chairman Thomas Gachara is more worried by the projects that Muriithi has left hanging including those to be funded through the landmark infrastructure bond issue.

"Muriithi has set the bar quite high and it's upon Irungu to match the performance," he said.