Governor Lee Kinyanjui’s meeting with rival Kinuthia Mbugua sparks heated debate


State House comptroller Kinuthia Mbugua (left) with Nakuru Governor Lee Kinyanjui when he payed a visit to Kinyanjui at his office. [Courtesy]

State House Comptroller Kinuthia Mbugua on Wednesday morning paid a courtesy call on Nakuru Governor Lee Kinyanjui before they proceeded to the funeral of former Nakuru Mayor Joseck Thuo. 

This was the first time the duo held a meeting at the county headquarters since 2017 when Mbugua lost the governor’s seat to Kinyanjui in Jubilee Party primaries.

Frontrunners for the 2022 Nakuru governorship race are the incumbent Kinyanjui who will defend his seat on an Ubuntu People’s Forum (UPF) ticket and Senator Susan Kihika of United Democratic Alliance. 

Last month, Mbugua dismissed posters circulating on social media indicating that he was seeking to recapture his seat in the coming polls under a recently formed political party.

He has, however, neither confirmed nor denied whether he will be on the ballot in the August polls.

Kinyanjui’s message about their Wednesday meeting has left residents guessing what the duo are up to with the General Election only seven months away. 

“This morning I hosted State House Comptroller Kinuthia Mbugua who paid me a courtesy call. Going forward, we shall work together to safeguard the future of Nakuru,” said Kinyanjui. 

He stated that their working together was aimed at placing Nakuru on the negotiating table where the national cake is being shared after a new government is formed. 

After being on opposing sides, national politics have placed them on the same side, backing former Prime Minister Raila Odinga under his Azimio la Umoja roadmap. 

During the funeral service, Mbugua and Kinyanjui were selling Raila’s presidential candidature as political campaigns intensify.

Nakuru Town West MP Samuel Arama said that the gesture by the two was the beginning of solidifying Nakuru’s over one million votes in one basket in favour of Raila ahead of the polls. “Kinyanjui is rallying voters behind Raila. Working together with Mbugua is a win for him and the Azimio brigade which is gaining popularity across the county,” he said. 

The MP noted that this will have ripple effect on the influence that Senator Kihika and UDA party have on the voters.

“A tussle between Kinyanjui and Mbugua would have left the Azimio supporters divided and hand Kihika and UDA an easy win. I believe we shall work as a team to deliver the votes to our candidate of choice,” he said. 

Nakuru Town East MP David Gikaria said that Mbugua’s move will not significantly impact the governor race maintaining that Kihika would still emerge the victor. 

“Mbugua has some influence but their combination will have little effect. It will not significantly tilt the balance away from Kihika who is currently popular than Kinyanjui,” said Gikaria.