Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru has unveiled James Kinyua Mutugi as her running mate in the August 9 elections.
Mr Mutugi, who has been the County Executive Committee member for Education was unveiled in a ceremony in Kiandegwa, Mwea Constituency.
The former Kirinyaga County Assembly deputy speaker holds a bachelor’s degree in education from the Laikipia University.
While announcing her running mate for the first time in public, Ms Waiguru described Mr Mutugi as a hard working person who had served her administration and county assembly with a lot of dedication.
"The appointment will help strike gender and regional balance in the leadership positions. Last time, I had my deputy come from Mwea East. This time I have chosen (my deputy) from Mwea West," she said.
She said Mr Mutugi, a former MCA for Wamumu Ward, would help her continue with the transformation journey she has started in Kirinyaga.
"I believe Mutugi is the right candidate for this job. He is a hard working person and I know he will help me deliver to the people of Kirinyaga," she said.
Ms Waiguru said she will not be intimidated by anyone to back off from supporting Deputy President William Ruto’s bid for the presidency.
She said Kirinyaga is solidly behind Dr Ruto and that those trying to force Azimio’s Raila Odinga to the people will be disappointed after the August 9 polls.
She asked voters to "reject state sponsored candidates and their masters" whom she claimed are threatening to arrest UDA supporters under the guise of being hooligans.
Independent governor candidates
Ms Waiguru further cautioned residents against being hoodwinked to support independent governor candidates, saying functional governments are formed by political parties and not individuals.
The governor said an independent governor would have it rough running a government without the support of a political party.
The county boss said Mt Kenya will not betray Dr Ruto despite all attempts by the state and its machinery to coerce people into supporting Mr Odinga.
On his part, Mr Mutugi said he was humbled by the appointment and pledged to help Ms Waiguru win back the governor's seat.
"I want to say that I feel honoured and thankful for choosing me among so many candidates. I promise you that I will be loyal to help you deliver to the people of Kirinyaga," he said.
Support rice farming
He promised Kirinyaga residents that he will work with Ms Waiguru to support rice farming by agitating for a reasonable fee for irrigation water and subsidised fertiliser prices.
Other leaders who spoke during the event said the August 9 elections will be a contest between Mr Odinga and Dr Ruto and not between Ms Martha Karua and Mr Rigathi Gachagua.
The naming of Ms Waiguru's running mate was received with jubilation, with residents of Kiandegwa, Ngang'a, Thome and Ciagiini praising the governor for the appointment.
Wamumu MCA Baptista Kanga described Mr Mutugi as a visionary and self-driven leader, saying apart from development, residents had another reason to vote back Ms Waiguru into office.
The leaders further told off Interior Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho over his recent attacks on Governor Waiguru and other UDA leaders whom he accused of sponsoring goons to heckle Azimio leaders during their recent tour of Kirinyaga.
They accused Dr Kibicho of trying to blackmail them so that they can join Azimio.
"We want to tell Kibicho that we will not be intimidated, threatened or blackmailed. We are in UDA and will not be forced to join Jubilee or support Raila," said Baragwi MCA David Mathenge.