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ELECTION 2022

Ndiritu Muriithi faces crowded field as he seeks re-election in Laikipia

RIFT VALLEY
By Boniface Gikandi | Jan 13th 2022 | 3 min read

Laikipia Governor Ndiritu Muriithi at Nyahururu Market [Courtesy]

More than eight contestants are seeking to dislodge Laikipia Governor Ndiritu Muriithi who is hoping to be reelected for a second term to complete projects he initiated in 2017.

In the race, so far, are the incumbent Mr Muriithi, businessmen John Wakaba, Joseph Mburu Kamau, Koinange Wahome and Miriam Wanjiru Mwangi, a human resource expert.

Others are former Governor Joshua Irungu, his former deputy Gitonga Kabugi, Laikipia West MP Patrick Mariru and Ndiritu’s former Health Executive Joseph Lanai.

Each camp has keyboard warriors working hard to prop their candidate’s interests and subtly attacking their rivals.

During his first term, Muriithi has been working on projects he feels are beneficial to the community, but which his rivals led by Wakaba have dismissed as self-centred.

Wakaba said he is determined to revive business activities by engaging locals and that he will do away with the road construction equipment leasing programme adopted by Muriithi’s administration.

“The county government has messed up with the health and agricultural sectors which we are seeking to fix. Insecurity and wildlife-human conflict will end since we’ll go for local solutions,” said Wakaba.

Muriithi was elected as an independent candidate yet most of the MCAs were mainly elected on Jubilee ticket. But surprisingly he has navigated the political scene with less trouble.

His recent appointment as chairman of the election campaign board of ODM leader Raila Odinga could give him a head start in the crowded race for governor, especially if the Azimio la Umoja movement becomes the county’s preferred coalition.

The governor’s administration prides itself in renovating market places, including Nanyuki Open Air market.

“I have taken Laikipia to a new standard and hope residents will give me a second term to continue with the effective service delivery,” said the governor, adding that there are more than 100 boreholes that have improved access to water.

He observed that Solio water project, initiated by the Nanyuki Water and Sewerage Company (Nawasco), is a game changer. It distributes water to more than 1,000 people for domestic and irrigation purposes.

Mburu said he would reduce business licence fees by half and allocation of 10 per cent to the annual education bursary fund.

“I am also interested in construction of a level five hospital, well equipped to end people’s suffering and a farmers training centre,” said Mburu in his 16 strategies to revamp the county.

Ms Mwangi, the only female contestant, said if elected she will streamline the human resource department and uplift the economy of the county. Allocation of resources will be prioritised to the most needed and crucial sectors, she said.

“I am concerned about the poor state of health sector and roads in rural areas where our people have suffered with little help following the misplaced priorities by the present administration,” said Mwangi, a senior manager at the Laikipia County Government.

Eric Njoroge, a community leader and a resident of Tigithi ward, said Laikipia is affected by many problems including insecurity which need quick intervention.

“Other challenges are unemployment, different business licences and poor infrastructur. Also of concern is the ballooning wage bill, poor health services, pending bills and lack of value addition opportunities,” said Njoroge.

Last year, Laikipia witnessed the worst conflict in the western region after raiders invaded Laikipia Nature Conservancy and killed tens of villagers.

Former Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri of The Service Party of Kenya is eyeing the Laikipia East parliamentary.

In the senatorial race, those who have declared interest are former Mungiki leader Maina Njenga, Laikipia Knut Executive Secretary Jack Thangei and the incumbent John Kinyua.

Others are former County Executive Jane Putunoi from Laikipia North, and former Ambassador Thuita Mwangi and Henry Kimani both from Laikipia West.

Purity Kendi and Jane Kagiri are eyeing the Laikipia County Woman Representative position to replace Catherine Waruguru who will vie for the Laikipia East race. Ms Waruguru will compete with Kiunjuri and the incumbent Amin Deddy Mohammed among others.

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