Nakuru Deputy Governor Eric Korir on Thursday ditched the Azimio la Umoja One Kenya coalition and joined Deputy President William Ruto's Kenya Kwanza alliance.
The move comes two days after his boss, Nakuru Governor Lee Kinyanjui, dropped him and named Ms Fransisca Kamuren as his running mate ahead of the August 9 General Election.
Dr Korir is among local leaders attending the Kenya Kwanza economic forum, currently taking place in Nakuru City.
In a surprise move, Dr Korir turned up at the event with a host of local leaders, among them Senator Susan Kihika, who is seeking to unseat Mr Kinyanjui.
His defection was interpreted as a reaction to his boss' move to dump him.
Several local leaders, including Woman Representative Liza Chelule, MPs David Gikaria (Nakuru East), Martha Wangari (Gilgil), Charity Kathambi (Njoro), Joseph Tonui (Kuresoi South), Samuel Gachobe (Subukia) and Kimani Ngunjiri (Bahati), are attending the forum.
DP Ruto is leading the forum alongside his running mate Rigathi Gachagua, Moses Wetang’ula (Ford Kenya), Musalia Mudavadi (ANC), Alfred Mutua (Maendeleo Chap Chap) and others.
Dr Korir, who has been Mr Kinyanjui’s deputy since 2017, is a resident of Kuresoi South.
He is a holder of a PhD in chemistry from the University of KwaZulu Natal in South Africa.
Before becoming deputy governor, he was a lecturer at the Kenya Science Teachers College and at the University of Nairobi.
Governor Kinyanjui appointed Ms Kamuren on Monday, hours after his archrival Ms Kihika picked Kuresoi South-born teacher David Kones as her running mate.
“After long consultations with diverse stakeholders, I have decided to appoint Ms Fransisca Jelagat Kamuren as my running mate in the August 9 polls,” said Mr Kinyanjui in a statement.
Ms Kamuren, 47, is an educationist who holds a master’s degree in linguistics from Egerton University.
Ms Kamuren has been a lecturer at Kabarak, St Paul's, Masinde Muliro and Egerton universities.
Ms Kamuren recently participated in the Nakuru West constituency United Democratic Alliance (UDA) primaries and lost to Mr Kamau Githengi, finishing second.
In the hotly contested primaries, Ms Kamuren polled 2,600 votes against Mr Kamau’s about 3,100.
Ms Kamuren, who had been supporting DP Ruto's bid for the presidency, will now join Mr Kinyanjui (Jubilee) in his campaigns.
Political pundits say Mr Kinyanjui’s choice of a female running mate could be an added advantage in the Nakuru governor’s race.
Both Mr Kinyanjui and Ms Kihika picked a Kalenjin running mate.
Nakuru, a cosmopolitan county, has huge pockets of Kalenjin, Kikuyu, Luo, Luhya, Kisii, Kamba and Maasai voters.
Despite that fact, the Kalenjin (mainly the Kipsigis) and the Kikuyu determine who becomes governor and senator in the region.