Tharaka Nithi County Narc-Kenya gubernatorial candidate Dr Mzalendo Kibunjia has dismissed an effort to have him shelve his ambition in favour of his Jubilee Party counterpart Erastus Njoka.
Azimio la Umoja One Kenya coalition and Kenya Kwanza alliance leaders are trying to increase their chances of winning in the August 9 polls by avoiding fielding multiple candidates.
Dr Kibunjia, Prof Njoka and Tharaka Nithi Governor Muthomi Njuki’s deputy Nyamu Kagwima (Wiper) are under the Azimio coalition and are likely to share votes and lose to the incumbent, who is running under the United Democratic Alliance (UDA).
Speaking to a group of young professionals called THEWA in Chuka town yesterday, Dr Kibunjia said his chances of winning are higher than those of the former Chuka University vice-chancellor and that only voters will decide.
“I am not dropping my ambitions for the county chief position, because I am the one to better the lives of Tharaka Nithi County residents,” said Dr Kibunjia.
The former National Museums of Kenya director-general said some leaders in Azimio had attempted to get him out of the race.
He said some politicians in the county have also been spreading propaganda that he had been appointed ambassador and would quit the contest.
But he lauded his party leader and Azimio presidential running mate Martha Karua for her ‘great’ support.
Dr Kibunjia, from Tharaka constituency, had appointed Ms Jane Cirindi from Maara constituency as his running mate, but she was appointed Kenya’s ambassador to Russia, sending him back to the drawing board.
He, however, hailed President Uhuru Kenyatta for appointing Ms Cirindi, noting that the Head of State had also seen the leadership abilities that he had identified in the former secondary school principal.
He said he has plans to grow the economy of the region by establishing a ward fund and industries and providing water for irrigated agriculture.
Dr Kibunjia also believes that though residents should mainly consider a candidate’s leadership abilities when voting, it was the turn of Tharaka constituency to produce a governor because the pioneer county boss, Samuel Ragwa, was from Maara and the incumbent is from Chuka/Igambang’ombe.
Former Machakos County Assembly clerk Gitari Mbiuki is also angling for the coveted position on a Chama Cha Kazi ticket, which is under the Kenya Kwanza alliance.
Azimio is ‘seriously’ determined to weed out ‘weak' candidates using opinion polls in order to win a majority of seats, especially in Parliament.
On Wednesday, Azimio National Executive Council chairman Wycliffe Oparanya confirmed the plans and said they would use various pollsters.
He noted that by the end of this month, Azimio will have clearly identified through consensus the candidates that will be on the ballot.