UDA clean sweep: Irungu Kang'ata, Joe Nyutu and Betty Maina win Murang'a top seats

 Irungu Kang'ata , Betty Maina , Joe Nyutu

Murang'a governor-elect Irungu Kang'ata (left) Woman Rep-elect Betty Maina and Senator-elect Joe Nyutu.

Photo credit: Mwangi Muiruri | Nation Media Group

For those who were keenly following 2022 political campaigns in Murang'a County, it was clear that Deputy President William Ruto’s United Democratic Alliance (UDA) was headed for victory.

The region, which had defied President Uhuru Kenyatta, had rallied behind Dr Ruto. 

When Dr Ruto campaigned in Murang'a County and endorsed Dr Irungu Kang'ata for the governor's seat, the people backed his bid.  

"It became clear that Dr Ruto was favouring Dr Kang'ata and all those allied to his UDA party. When campaigns kicked off after party primaries, it was very clear that UDA would become the most popular party in the Mt Kenya region," said Prof Ngugi Njoroge, a political analyst from the region.

In the final results that were released on Saturday, Dr Ruto garnered 342,696 votes in the county against Raila Odinga's 73,456 votes.

Dr Kang'ata won the governor's seat with 256,561 votes followed by Jubilee's Jamleck Kamau who polled 91,164 votes. 

Betty Maina

Murang'a woman rep-elect Betty Njeri Maina (centre) flanked by her parents Consollata and Samuel Maina after she being declared the winner by IEBC on August 13, 2022. 

Photo credit: Mwangi Muiruri | Nation Media Group

Others in the race were Democratic Party's Joseph Wairagu with 42,318 votes and Irungu Nyakera of the Farmers Party with 21,150. Dr Moses Mwangi of the Safina Party managed 4,370 votes.

 In the Senate race, Joe Nyútú got 314,203 votes against Jubilee's Kembi Gitura who garnered 72,278 votes.

Farmer's Party Hellen Kigia polled 13,402 votes, while Comfort Mwangi of Kanu garnered 7,689 votes. Mr Pius Kinuthia, 30, who Mr Odinga fondly refers to as "my boy", got 4,471 on an ODM ticket.

The Woman Representative slot went to Betty Maina who garnered 278,443 votes, beating Jubilee's Everyln Waithera who managed 111,163 votes. Beth Kibinda on Safina Party received 7,075 votes, while Frasiah Chege (Independent) garnered 7,733 votes. 

Prof Njoroge said that "by virtue of the county being home to UDA's political firebrands in the name of Kandara MP Alice Wahome and Kiharu's Ndindi Nyoro, it was very clear that this was Dr Ruto and his allies game to lose, and it gas come to pass".

Ms Wahome and Mr Nyoro retained their seats alongside Mary wa Maua in Maragua as Kigumo got a new MP Joseph Munyoro.

Other newcomers are Edwin Mugo (Mathioya), Edward Muriu (Gatanga) and Peter Kihungi in Kangema.

Irungu Kang'ata

Murang'a governor-elect Irungu Kang'ata flanked by his wife Mary Wambui and running mate Stephen Munania after he was declared the winner on August 13, 2022.

Photo credit: Mwangi Muiruri | Nation Media Group

The county is home to first lady Margaret Kenyatta (Kangema) and the Mt Kenya Foundation leaders like former Equity Bank Chairman Peter Munga and Royal Media Services Chairman Samuel Kamau (SK) Macharia.

 "That the president and the Foundation's billionaires were supporting Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Party presidential candidate Raila Odinga made politics in this county to be a great tussle," Prof Njoroge said.

 The Azimio case was not helped by the fact that the Jubilee party, which was being sold in the county as the resident vehicle of the contest, failed to hold credible nominations.

 "Jubilee's nominations were shambolic and certificates were awarded to cronies. That did not help the Jubilee aspirants connect with the people," says Mohammed Ali Mzee, a Maragua constituency aspirant who was denied the certificate to vie for Ichagaki Ward MCA seat on account that he was deemed unpopular.

The Jubilee tickets were awarded to former Kigumo MP Mr Kamau, Ms Waithera for Woman Rep and Mr Gitura for Senate.

At the end of the day, area voters started joking that "kula kwa Jubilee kura kwa UDA (eat in Jubilee but vote for UDA)", the logic being that Jubilee was allegedly being financed by stolen public funds.

Youth Alliance Coordinator Mixson Warui says Dr Kang'ata launched peaceful, cool, collaborative, inspiring, colourful and structured campaigns that helped Dr Ruto and the UDA formation dominate the contest.

 "Ms Betty Maina invoked the power of dotcom horizons, sexuality and entertainment through songs during campaigns," Mr Warui said.

Dr Kang'ata said: "We got our script right. Jubilee was forcing things, so we packaged ourselves as good listeners to the people...We presented ourselves as the solution and interested in the welfare of that person down there..."

Dr Kang'ata says the difference between President Kenyatta and Dr Ruto is that "the latter did not listen to the people while the former is the people themselves."