Shock as running mate backs rival citing weak ticket

Shock as Tharaka-Nithi running mate abandons candidate to back rival at last minute

Tharaka Nithi County Narc-Kenya gubernatorial candidate Dr Mzalendo Kibunjia’s running mate Micheni Ruriani has made a U-turn and endorsed Jubilee contender Erastus Njoka.

Addressing the media at Chogoria town in Maara constituency on Wednesday, Mr Ruriani said he had noticed that their ticket would not win next week’s election.

He has instead endorsed Prof Njoka who is going after the incumbent, Mr Muthomi Njuki, who is seeking reelection on a United Democratic Alliance (UDA) ticket.

Mr Ruriani said Dr Kibunjia had not done enough campaigns and that stood zero chances of winning the hotly contested August 9 polls.

“We have no possibility of winning the governorship because we have not done enough campaigns and I have decided to support Prof Njoka because he is the only person who can send Mr Njuki home,” said Mr Ruriani.

He said he explained this to Dr Kibunjia but he turned down his opinion of shelving their ambitions in support of Prof Njoka.

He noted that he talked to their supporters especially those from his Maara constituency backyard and they were of a similar opinion.

Mr Ruriani said that even though the Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition presidential candidate Raila Odinga and his running mate Martha Karua had stated that they wanted a single gubernatorial candidate in each county and indicated that Prof Njoka was the most appropriate, Dr Kibunjia had remained adamant that they must remain on the ballot.

Bad leadership

Prof Njoka welcomed the move by Mr Ruriani and urged Dr Kibunjia to follow suit noting that he intends to save Tharaka Nithi residents from the bad leadership of Mr Njuki.

“I welcome your decision and urge other candidates to support me so that we can save this county from the bad leadership of Mr Njuki,” said Prof Njoka.

During a recent tour of Tharaka Nithi County, Mr Odinga and Ms Karua asked Dr Kibunjia, Prof Njoka and Tharaka Nithi Deputy Governor Nyamu Kagwima who is seeking governorship on Wiper Party to agree on who will fly the Azimio flag but they declined.

Commenting on the decision by Mr Ruriani, Dr Kibunjia dismissed the move and maintained that he was still on course to win the governorship.

“These are efforts to sabotage me so that I can drop out of the governor’s race but I want to assure my political enemies that I am firm and that only the voters will decide,” said Dr Kibunjia.

"I know my running mate has been paid Sh25 million to sabotage me despite doing a lot for him including buying him a vehicle," he added.

However, Mr Ruriani declined claims that he had been paid to sabotage his boss.