Four contenders are fighting to inherit Tharaka Nithi Senator Kithure Kindiki’s seat.
Prof Kindiki announced he was taking a break from active politics after United Democratic Alliance (UDA) leader William Ruto failed to name him his running mate.
Among those seeking to replace the two-term senator is the county’s first governor, Samuel Ragwa, who is running as an independent candidate after losing in the UDA primaries to Mukothima Ward Representative Mwenda Gataya.
Two new youthful entrants, Paul Mugambi (Jubilee) and Kirimi Muturi (Party for Peace and Development), have also thrown their hats into the ring, with Prof Kindiki’s performance in the Senate becoming the yardstick.
The battle revolves around who will fit in the ‘big’ shoes left by Prof Kindiki, who served as Senate majority leader in his first term and deputy Speaker for most of his second term.
The large number of bills that the professor of law sponsored in the Senate and his debate prowess on the floor have raised the bar higher for those eyeing the seat.
Prof Kindiki announced that he would quit politics temporarily after losing in the Kenya Kwanza presidential running mate contest to Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua.
The Senator had initially announced a bid to unseat Governor Muthomi Njuki before DP Ruto asked him to shelve his ambitions and join him in national politics.
Though Prof Kindiki had earlier endorsed Mr Ragwa to replace him, he has remained silent since quitting county politics, giving the contenders a level playing ground.
Mr Mugambi, a journalist and legal professional, comes from Prof Kindiki’s Tharaka constituency backyard and touts himself as the best person to replace him.
He argues that as a legal professional and having worked in the National Assembly’s communication department for years, he is conversant with the role of lawmakers.
“I am a media and legal professional and have worked closely with Prof Kindiki, and that is why I am his best replacement in the August 9 polls,” Mr Mugambi said recently in Chuka.
Mr Muturi, who is from Chuka/Igambang’ombe constituency, is also a lawyer and believes that his professional background will help him deliver as a senator.
Urging residents to consider him, Mr Muturi also argues that a senator should be a person with some legal knowledge and that is why Prof Kindiki and other legal professionals in the House performed well.
Mr Ragwa, from Maara constituency, says having worked as a governor for five years, he understands the financial challenges facing devolved governments and that he will fight to ensure that enough money is devolved.
The former county boss has a degree in economics and holds a master’s in project management.
Mr Gataya, from the Tharaka constituency, is a two-term county assembly member and served in the National Police Service before joining politics.
He believes that his 10-year experience in the assembly will help him deliver as a senator.