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Disquiet as friends of top UDA leaders secure nomination slots

Kenya Kwanza presidential candidate DP William Ruto. [Samson Wire, Standard]

The name of Murang'a United Democratic Alliance (UDA) gubernatorial running mate Stephen Munania Mburu is on the list of proposed nominated MCAs by the party in Mt Kenya.

The UDA list of proposed nominated MCAs submitted to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) comprises former sitting and nominated ward representatives as well as candidates’ cronies and allies. But most intriguing is that of UDA’s gubernatorial candidate Irungu Kangata’s running mate Mburu.

He is one of the top names on the list alongside Kangata’s personal aides Manoah Gachucha and Eliud Maina. Mburu was picked in a last-minute dash after it was found that Kangata’s first choice running mate Winfred Mwangi had not resigned before the deadline set by the IEBC.

Kangata has since promised Mwangi a County Executive position for Lands docket should he be elected governor, but all his billboards in Murang'a bear his image alongside that of Mwangi. Kangata explained that his deputy nominee had applied for the nomination way before he picked him.

"He had applied for nominations in May as per the advert, but we picked him in June under emergency circumstances," said Kangata.

UDA gubernatorial candidate Irungu Kangata. [Edward Kiplimo, Standard]

Mburu confirmed the same saying," Yes I had applied before my nomination as DG. As you all know Kang'ata picked me as an emergency. By that time, I had already applied but my name will be dropped by the party. I had applied for nomination on May 24 while Kang'ata' picked me on June 7."

“Mburu was vying for Kariara MCA during the UDA party primaries where he was floored by Gichobe Wa Mbatia. He then applied for the UDA nomination and that is how his name is on the list," said Gachuhi who is also the lead campaigner of Kang'ata.

Others on the list of nominations are Diana Muthoni who is currently a Nominated MCA and Muranga-based journalist Robert Gakure. In Kirinyaga, governor Ann Waiguru and UDA Senator aspirant James Murango's close allies featured prominently in the list of nominees. Pauline Wairimu Kamau and Njagi Gachigi are said to be a confidant of Waiguru and a communication officer at the governor’s office respectively while Joe Kingford Macharia is a UDA campaigner who defected from Jubilee party.

Daisy Grace Nyaguthii a Nominated MCA and a close ally of Murango has proposed for nomination again in the Assembly. In Nyeri, a former Nominated MCA in the late former governor Nderitu Gachagua’ administration who later resigned to serve as a County Executive Lucy Munyitu has been listed while a current Nominated MCA Patrick Mutahi and the outgoing MCA for Muruguru Ward Simon Muturi Muthee have been listed for nomination.

MCAs currently serving in some counties may serve as Nominated Ward representatives in neighbouring counties if the UDA sails through in the August polls. They include Ann Muthoni Thumbi who is currently serving as a Nominated MCA in Nairobi, but has been listed as a potential nominee for Nyeri County Assembly. Thumbi had declared interest in Tetu parliamentary seat and was floored by Stephen Wandeto in the primaries.

Flashia Nduta Chege who was nominated by the Jubilee party as a gender top-up rep in Murang'a has been listed as a nominee for Kirinyaga County Assembly while Esther Mwihaki Kamau the outgoing Gaturi MCA has been nominated to serve in Nakuru County Assembly. Mwihaki was elected following the death of Gaturi MCA Kiiru Mbembe on the People Empowerment Party (PEP) ticket in 2020, but was floored by her main competitor Rosemary Wakuthii during the UDA primaries for next month's ballot.

 Esther Mwihaki Kamau. [Boniface Gikandi, Standard]

Kiharu MP Ndindi Nyoro’s campaigner Esther Irungu has been listed as a nominee for Kiambu County. Another campaigner of the first term MP Agnes Wanjiru Macharia is on the 21 number on the list for Nyeri county. The move has elicited mixed reactions from residents and political players who feel it is the locals who should be nominated in their respective counties.

Stephen Thuita a resident in Nyeri said the political parties have for a very long time abused the nomination process claiming it is morally and ethically wrong to award opportunities to nonresidents.

“Locals should be the one to be nominated and also there should be the inclusion of marginalized communities but within the specific area, nominating a non-local is taking the residents for a ride,” said Thuita.

In Meru, six serving MCAs are in the list for nomination again. They are Grace Gakii Nyamu, Janerose Nguta Mati, Sarah Gakii Kaberia, Asenath Kaimuri Nyamu, Mbiti Fridah Mwendwa and Jane Kanana Kaburu. Also on the list is nutritionist Dorsen Kagwiria, a former MCA who is a close ally of UDA governor candidate and current Senator Mithika Linturi.

In Tharaka Nithi, the list contains nominated MCA Karen Karimi Gitonga who currently is a Jubilee Party representative of the youth a key campaigner of governor Muthomi Njuki. Other Njuki allies on the list are Kiania Albano Mugambi who was the Igambangombe Ward MCA between 2013-2017 and former Chuka town mayor Fatuma Rael Murungi.

Elsewhere, Embu's first on the list Maureen Kagendo Nyaga is a former ally of outgoing Manyatta MP John Muchiri who lost in the UDA Embu governor race to Nominated MP Cecily Mbarire.

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