Governor Njuki retains seat against great challenges

Muthomi Njuki

Tharaka Nithi Governor Muthomi Njuki (second right) receives a provisional certificate from the county's Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission returning officer Mohammed Raka at Chiakariga Girls' High School on August 12, 2022. Njuki who ran on UDA party ticket garnered 97151 votes beating his main rival former Chuka University Vice-Chancellor Prof Erastus Njoka who scored 58152.

Photo credit: ALEX NJERU I Nation Media Group

Tharaka Nithi Governor Muthomi Njuki has garnered 97,151 votes to retain his seat after shrugging off a strong challenge from former Chuka University vice-chancellor Prof Erastus Njoka, who scored 58,152.

Votes apparently were not convinced that Prof Njoka’s highly hyped management credentials at the university were sufficient enough for him to run the county. 

Mr Njuki contested under the United Democratic Alliance (UDA), while Prof Njoka, who comes from his Chuka/Igambang’ombe constituency, ran on a Jubilee ticket.  

Before UDA nominations, Mr Njuki was aligned to the Azimio la Umoja side but he switched Deputy President William Ruto’s party, whose wave has swept across the Mt Kenya region.

Other contenders for the coveted county chief position were Dr Mzalendo Kibunjia (Narc Kenya) who managed 1,954, Gitari Mbiuki (Chama Cha Kazi), who pocketed 1,461, and Kaugi Mboya, who garnered 622.

Mr Njuki’s deputy governor Francis Kagwima also sought to unseat his boss under the Wiper party but managed only 1,562 votes.

The UDA team, led by Mr Njuki, launched a serious campaign and bagged the senator position, which went to Mr Mwenda Gataya, and 10 out of 15 MCA seats.

MPs for the three constituencies – Gitonga Murugara (Tharaka), Kareke Mbiuki (Maara) and Patrick Munene (Chuka/Igambang’ombe) – also retained their seats under UDA.

Besides sailing the UDA wave, Mr Njuki also touted his performance record, especially on health, agriculture, roads and trade.

But Ms Susan Ngugi Mwindu of The Service Party won the woman representative seat after garnering 72,749 votes, ahead of her main contender Beatrice Kathomi (UDA), who received 68,396.

Less than a week before polling day, four of Mr Njuki’s rivals announced coming together and building synergy to send him home.

Mr Mbiuki, Dr Mzalendo and Mr Kagwima’s running mate, Jones Munene, withdrew from the race and urged residents to vote for Prof Njoka, though their names were already on ballot papers.

Mr Njuki also suffered a big blow after his earlier identified running mate, Njue Njagi, was disqualified by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) on the grounds that he had not resigned from the county executive member position by the close of the resignation window.

Mr Njuki had to pick another person and settled on Muthambi ward MCA Wilson Nyaga, who was seeking a third term as an independent candidate after losing in UDA nominations.

The county boss also faced significant political and administrative challenges following a ruling by a court barring him from stepping into his office in Kathwana until a graft case facing him was heard and determined.

His opponents capitalised on the corruption case in their campaigns by insisting that he would not be cleared by the IEBC and if he was allowed to run he would not be sworn in unless he was declared innocent.

Speaking after receiving his provisional certificate, Governor Njuki lauded voters for giving him a second term and promised to serve them diligently.

He appealed to his competitors to put aside their political differences and cooperate in improving the lives of the residents.

“I am going to work with all the leaders who have been elected and also the ones who have lost because our main focus is on bettering the lives of our people,” said Mr Njuki.

He also expressed confidence that DP Ruto would win the hotly contested presidential election and urged Kenyans to remain calm and maintain peace.

Mr Gataya, Ms Ngugi and MP Munene also promised to work in unity in order to develop the region.

Ms Ngugi said that though DP Ruto only supported UDA candidates, the people voted for individuals based on their ability to deliver and not parties.
 

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