Tharaka Nithi Governor Muthomi Njuki has unveiled Njue Njagi Kaithungu as his running mate ahead of the August 9 General Election.
Mr Kaithungu from Maara constituency, who is the County Executive Committee member for Agriculture, was unveiled on May 28 in a ceremony at Kairubi Stadium in Chogoria town attended by county leaders including Maara Member of Parliament Kareke Mbiuki and his Chuka/Igambang’ombe counterpart Patrick Munene.
Before he became an executive member, Mr Kaithungu, a professional teacher worked under MP Mbiuki as the National Government Constituency Development Fund (NG-CDF) manager 2013 from 2013 to 2017.
Mr Njuki‘s current deputy, Mr Nyamu Kagwima from Tharaka constituency is angling to unseat him on a Wiper party ticket and has also picked a running mate from Maara constituency, Mr Jonnes Munene.
Mr Kagwima started differing with his boss in 2018 on claims that the county chief was not transparent in the use of public money.
Speaking during the unveiling ceremony, Mr Njuki, who is from Chuka/Igambang’ombe constituency said that he decided to pick Mr Kaithungu because he has performed very well as an agriculture executive and that he is very loyal.
He noted that he also considered Mr Kaithungu because the county’s UDA senatorial and women representative candidates are from Tharaka and Chuka/Igambang’ombe constituencies respectively.
However, speaking at Presbyterian Church of East Africa Mbogori church in Maara constituency last Sunday, Governor Njuki regretted losing Mr Kagwima noting that he had planned to seek a second term with him only that he decided to turn against him.
“I was ready to seek a second term with my deputy but he decided to run against me,” he said.
Mr Kaithungu lauded Mr Njuki who is running on the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) ticket for the consideration and promised to help him win the August 9 elections.
He added that he will endeavour to help Mr Njuki unite the county that is currently divided due to political interests.
“I thank my boss, Njuki for considering me as his running mate and I urge you people to give him a second term,” said Mr Kaithungu.
MPs Mbiuki and Munene also lauded the governor for picking Mr Kaithungu and in turn revolving the deputy governor position from Tharaka to Maara as they promised him total support in the campaigns.
“Having picked Mr Kaithungu, my former NG-CDF chairman, expect total support from Maara people,” said Mr Mbiuki.
Despite being members of the UDA party Tharaka Nithi Senator Prof Kithure Kindiki and Tharaka MP Gitonga Murugara were missing from the ceremony.
Already residents of Tharaka constituency have expressed dissatisfaction with Njuki’s decision to pick a running mate from Maara constituency arguing that he should have replaced Mr Kagwima with a person from his Tharaka backyard.
Njuki’s main rival, Prof Erastus Njoka of Jubilee Party, from his backyard in Chuka/Igambang’ombe constituency has picked Dr Mucee Rukunja from Tharaka constituency.
Former National Museums of Kenya Director-General, Dr Mzalendo Kibunjia from Tharaka constituency is also seeking governorship on the Narc Kenya party ticket with Mr Micheni Ruriani from Maara constituency as his running mate.
Mr Gitari Mbiuki from Chuka/Igambang’ombe constituency is also running for the county chief position on Chama cha Kazi ticket with Mr Samuel Gaicura from Tharaka constituency as his running mate.
Mr Ashford Kaugi from Maara constituency is also seeking the county boss seat as an independent candidate with Mr Nathan Murori from Tharaka constituency as his running mate.