Kinyanjui, Kimemia skip Kihika, Badilisha swearing-in ceremonies

 Lee Kinyajui and Francis Kimemia

Outgoing Nakuru County governor Lee Kinyajui (left) and his Nyandarua counterpart Francis Kimemia (right). Incoming Nakuru governor Susan Kihika (inset, left) and Nyandarua’s Kiarie Badilisha (inset, right).

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

Amid pomp and colour at Thursday’s swearing-in ceremonies for governors across the country, two outgoing county chiefs – Francis Kimemia (Nyandarua) and Lee Kinyanjui (Nakuru) – skipped the events.

As other outgoing governors displayed camaraderie with new county bosses, allowing a smooth transition of power, the duo were a no-show at events held in their respective counties to hand over power to Kiarie Badilisha (Nyandarua) and Susan Kihika (Nakuru).

But despite their absence, the simultaneous ceremonies were marked with pomp and colour as the new governors took their oath of office, swearing to uphold the Constitution and to diligently serve residents.

Their absence was conspicuous, on a day set aside to herald a new beginning and hold a smooth transition of power, a mark of true democracy.

“Governor Francis Kimemia could not attend the event because he had previously expressed displeasure at how the August 9 General Election was conducted. He chose not to attend, but the assumption of office committee was well briefed about his absence,” said a Kimemia aide, who sought anonymity.

In Nakuru, it was not clear why Mr Kinyanjui failed to attend the event that was held at the Nakuru ASK showground.

But it was not lost on observers that the two county bosses last week disputed the results that showed Ms Kihika and Mr Badilisha won their respective races, saying they would move to court to challenge them.

Nakuru County Governor Susan Kihika is sworn into office

Nakuru County Governor Susan Kihika is sworn into office by Justice Weldon Korir at Nakuru ASK Show Ground in Nakuru City on August 25, 2022.

Photo credit: Cheboite Kigen | Nation Media Group

At separate press briefings, the two called for a forensic audit of the voting and counting process, saying it was 'bungled'.

They said voting was marred by serious irregularities, bribery, violence and the locking out of their agents at some polling stations.

However, it seems they dropped the idea of filling petitions in court, paving the way for a smooth transition.

Mr Kimemia and Mr Kinyanjui were among several other candidates who rejected the outcome of the August 9 polls.

Others were governor hopefuls James Nyoro (Kiambu), Evans Kidero (Homa Bay) and Patrick Kimani, alias Jungle (Kiambu), and outgoing Busia MP John Bunyasi.

Among the issues raised by Mr Kinyanjui was the voting pattern at some polling stations where the number of votes was similar.

“As a team, we are currently talking with our legal and other technical teams, including ICT, with a view to taking necessary actions,” he said.

He said the number of votes for each seat did not tally with the final figures, wondering how some people could have voted for only one person.

“Wanjiku votes and our responsibility is only to count what she has voted; we have no business manipulating what she has voted. Our conclusion is that the integrity of the process cannot be guaranteed and the outcomes do not reflect what Wanjiku did,” he said.

Mr Kinyanjui pointed an accusing finger at the electoral agency for the anomaly that cost him and others the seats.

Governor Kimemia, for his part, said that an analysis showed that the announced gubernatorial results did not reflect the will of the people of Nyandarua.

He revealed that the recorded and released results indicated a predetermined outcome, glaring discrepancies in voting patterns and results, and that the whole process was a criminal enterprise operating in Nyandarua and the entire Mt Kenya region.

While the Kiems kits tally showed voter turnout was 54 percent in the county, he said, the results announced by the electoral body showed it was 66 percent after the final tallies.

“These discrepancies raise questions on the authenticity of the results,” he said.

“It’s also very abnormal that my votes were similar in most polling stations and that the margin between me and my competitor remained almost the same, a similar trend we have witnessed in all Central Kenya region counties.

“We want to know where the additional votes in manual tallies came from.”

Mr Kimemia and Mr Kinyanjui also claimed there was widespread voter bribery, intimidation of agents and chaos that kept voters from entering polling stations.