Two in race for Murang'a governor risk lock-out in poll chaos

Farmers’ Party candidate Irungu Nyakera

Farmers’ Party candidate Irungu Nyakera who, together with Democratic Party’s Joseph Wairagu, risks being barred from contesting the August 9 polls after investigations linked them to political violence.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

Two gubernatorial aspirants risk being barred from contesting the August 9 polls after investigations linked them to political violence.

Farmers’ Party candidate Irungu Nyakera and Democratic Party’s Joseph Wairagu were ordered to present themselves at the Murang’a East Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) offices by the end of day Wednesday.

This follows an incident in which their supporters clashed in Gaturi Ward, with witnesses saying they saw guns, machetes, clubs and whips being used in the running battles that ensued.

The injured were rushed to Murang’a Level Five Hospital.

Murang’a East police boss Mary Wakuu told the Nation the two leaders were summoned after investigations established that they were both present during the melee.

“It’s a clear-cut case of political violence," Ms Wakuu said. Both Mr Nyakera and Mr Wairagu’s parties are in the Kenya Kwanza Alliance after signing a deal with the United Democratic Alliance that has Deputy President William Ruto as both party leader and presidential candidate.

However, the Political Parties Dispute Resolution Tribunal has ruled that the pact between the DP and UDA is illegal.

Traded accusations

The two clashed ahead of the DP’s visit to the area on Monday where he campaigned in Mathioya and Kigumo constituencies, with the rivals trading accusations as to who started the conflict.

“We were on our normal campaign circuit in Kiharu constituency when our convoys met. Without any form of provocation, the Wairagu team descended on us with machetes and guns,” Mr Nyakera said.

He added that his team was not prepared and some would have been killed in the ambush were it not for police officers called to the scene quickly intervening.

“All along, Mr Wairagu was at the scene coordinating the attack and we will definitely be calling for his disqualification from contesting since his team’s action amounts to a grievous electoral offence,” Mr Nyakera said.

However, Mr Wairagu blames Mr Nyakera's group for the chaos.

“We’re the victims and the weapons confiscated from the scene belong to our competitor. He’s not fit to run for public office,” he said.

Served in Jubilee administration

The two served in the Jubilee administration, Mr Wairagu as Water Principal Secretary and Mr Nyakera in the Transport ministry in the same capacity.

Both come from Murang’a North—Mr Wairagu hailing from Kiharu and Mr Nyakera from Mathioya.

County Commissioner Karuku Ngumo issued a stern warning to all politicians, saying, “all forms of hooliganism will be treated as crimes.”

He said investigations will be conducted objectively “since we are not taking sides in these contests and all [found] culpable will be dealt with without favour.”

He added that “politicians have ignored the provision that they must notify the police on intended gatherings so that security can be provided.”

He said most political gatherings are coming as an ambush to the police “and that is another area we will cross swords since we will not entertain such blatant cases of lawlessness.”

On Thursday, Interior PS Karanja Kibicho warned security bosses whose areas will be rocked by political violence that they will be sacked.

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