Kiraitu bags state job just days after painful defeat in governor's race

Outgoing Meru Governor Kiraitu Murungi.

Outgoing Meru Governor Kiraitu Murungi. 

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

Outgoing Meru Governor Kiraitu Murungi has been sworn in to the Kenya Law Reform Commission (KLRC) as a member, days after he lost the gubernatorial race to Woman Rep Kawira Mwangaza.

Confirming the development on Monday, Mr Murungi said he was sworn in this morning by Chief Justice Martha Koome.

“It is true I have been appointed a commissioner at the KLRC and will take up the role immediately,” Mr Murungi told the Nation by phone.

Ms Mwangaza garnered 209,148 votes against her closest challenger Senator Mithika Linturi’s 183,859, with Mr Murungi coming in last with 110,814.

Mr Murungi lost partly due to his association with Azimio la Umoja presidential candidate Raila Odinga, with the strong wave of Deputy President William Ruto’s United Democratic Alliance (UDA) shoving him to the side.

While Mr Murungi contested under the Devolution Empowerment Party (DEP), Ms Mwangaza ran as an independent.

After Mr Murungi’s exit from the political scene, the focus has now turned to who the new Meru county political kingpin will be.

The other senior politician – Igembe North MP Maoka Maore (Jubilee) – was defeated by Julius Taitumu (UDA). Outgoing Imenti South MP Kathuri Murungi was elected senator in the August 9 polls.

Mr Murungi and Mr Maore campaigned for Mr Odinga and have been the top politicians in the region, besides Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya and Tigania East MP-elect Mpuru Aburi, a close ally of Mr Munya.

The focus will now shift to Ms Mwangaza and Mr Kathuri, with pundits saying they are the new Meru political kingpins.

The two will call the shots in regional political circles, said Prof Gitile Naituli, a governance expert.

“As governor, [Ms Mwangaza] is one of the topmost politicians and despite the fact that Meru is a largely patriarchal society, residents will have to get used to being led by a woman,” Prof Naituli said.

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