The Kiambu gubernatorial race is shaping up to be a fierce political battle among four sitting legislators as they seek to wrestle the governor’s seat from the incumbent, James Nyoro.
The contest, which has attracted six candidates, has narrowed down to a Kenya Kwanza Alliance versus Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition Party duel.
Senator Kimani Wamatangi of the United Democratic Alliance (UDA), Governor Nyoro of Jubilee Party, Tujibebe Wakenya Party leader and former Governor William Kabogo, Chama Cha Kazi party leader and Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria, and Thika Town MP Patrick Wainaina, alias Wa Jungle, are involved in do-or-die battle ahead of the August 9 elections.
The other candidates in the race are Dr Juliet Kimemia, who is vying on a Kanu ticket, and Mwende Gatabaki, the wife of economist David Ndii, contesting as an independent candidate.
The cosmopolitan county has 12 sub-counties - Ruiru, Thika Town, Juja, Githunguri, Kiambaa, Kikuyu, Limuru, Kabete, Lari, Kiambu, Gatundu North and South - with 1,180,920 voters.
A recent Mizani poll has put Senator Wamatangi ahead of the pack with a popularity rating of 34.2 with Mr Kabogo coming second with 22.3 percent.
Governor Nyoro is third with 21.5 percent rating, Wa Jungle comes fourth with 14.4 percent while Mr Kuria and others have below 10 percent rating. Ruiru, Thika Town, and Juja boast the highest number of voters at 159,337, 147,761, and 114,761 respectively.
Githunguri has 99,384, Kiambaa (95,413), Kikuyu (91,157), Limuru (87, 258), Kabete (85,446), Kiambu (80,730), Lari (76,655), Gatundu South (75,858) and Gatundu North (67,598).
Senator Wamatangi, who beat three aspirants, including Wa Jungle and former Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu, to clinch the UDA ticket in April, picked Njeri Kirika, an entrepreneur from Gatundu South, as his running mate.
He is banking on his track record as a senator for two terms to win. He has also cited his one man, one vote, one shilling crusade as another credit that has endeared him to voters.
Governor Nyoro settled on June Njambi Waweru as his deputy as he is looking for a second term as county boss "to complete his projects".
Mr Kuria last week named real estate entrepreneur Faith Mwaura as his running mate vowing to put the real estate at the centre of his leadership, attracting investors and searching for market for local products.
Wa Jungle picked former Kiambu Woman Representative Annah Nyokabi, a cousin to President Uhuru Kenyatta, to deputise him.
Elected as an independent candidate in 2017, the MP has his eyes set on improving the education, health, and other economic activities in the county while also redeeming the county from the yokes of corruption, mistrust, and laxity in implementing development projects. “We will empower our people economically at all levels,” he said.