How MCA survived UDA wave in Tharaka Nithi to bag Woman Rep position

Tharaka Nithi Woman Rep-elect Susan Ngugi. [File, Standard]

A Member of the County Assembly survived the 'yellow wave' in the Mt Kenya region to clinch a position in the National Assembly.

Susan Ngugi flew The Service Party (TSP) to floor heavyweight parties including President-elect William Ruto's United Democratic Alliance (UDA) in her quest to represent the people of Tharaka Nithi and their Woman Representative.

In the UDA campaigns led by outgoing Senator Kindiki Kithure, the party swept 98 percent of all elective seats from the governor, MP and ward seats, cementing its position as the party of choice in the region.

UDA’s Muthomi Njuki retained his governor seat as did all the MPs; Gitonga Murugara (Tharaka), Patrick Munene (Chuka-Igambang’ombe) and Kareke Mbiuki (Maara).

Its Senate candidate Mwenda Gataya, also a former MCA, won the seat by a big margin. It also won 10 out of the 15 Ward seats. 

Tharaka Nithi Governor Muthomi Njuki. [Phares Mutembei, Standard]

But Ms Ngugi who served as the Marimanti MCA in the last assembly chose to run for Woman rep instead of defending her seat and braved the UDA juggernaut, emerged victorious with 72, 749 votes by beating the UDA’s Beatrice Kathomi, who garnered 68, 396.

Reminiscing the tough environment she operated in as she combed the 15 wards for votes against the UDA wave that had the financial muscle in its campaigns, she said it was not easy.

"My journey to winning the Woman rep seat was difficult. We had leaders who thought you must go through them to get leadership. I did not want to go that route. I stood with the electorate. But my friends and other family supported me," she said.

Ms Ngugi said with all the notable politicians aligning themselves with UDA, she had to fight hard to win the seat in TSP, formed by former CS Mwangi Kiunjuri.

"But though UDA and TSP are in Kenya Kwanza coalition, it was different in Tharaka Nithi because everybody was talking UDA, not Kenya Kwanza. There was no big politician campaigning for me. It was not easy so I had to work hard. Kiunjuri supported me," Ngugi said.

 Former CS Mwangi Kiunjuri. [Boniface Gikandi, Standard]


The fact that she had no financial muscle to fight against the UDA juggernaut was a challenge. 

 "I was not at a big party but I believed in myself. The electorate also believed in me. In TSP we say it is about service to the people. The result was a big win which many people did not expect."

What made her run for Woman rep instead of seeking re-election as MCA?

"We have myriad challenges affecting the people. We have widows  and orphans  and being a mere MCA I have not opened doors when I visited NGO and other government offices, I decided to seek a Woman rep seat, to have more empowerment to assist the entire county."