Mt Kenya bigwigs who paid the price for sticking with Uhuru

From left: MPs Amos Kimunya (Kipipiri), Kanini Kiega (Kieni) and Jeremiah Kioni (Ndaragwa).

From left: MPs Amos Kimunya (Kipipiri), Kanini Kiega (Kieni) and Jeremiah Kioni (Ndaragwa).

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • A new political dispensation is taking shape in Mt Kenya after experienced political hands were swept away by newcomers.
  • Most of the political bigwigs who were kicked out had sided with the President in his political battle with his deputy William Ruto.
  • Leaders affiliated to the Kieleweke wing have been thrashed by leaders allied to the DP, now flying the UDA ticket.

A new political dispensation is taking shape in Mt Kenya after experienced political hands were swept away by newcomers in the Tuesday General Election.

Former Agriculture Cabinet Secretary and The Service Party (TSP) leader Mwangi Kiunjuri is the only bigwig who survived the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) onslaught.

Meru Governor Kiraitu Murungi was staring at defeat by independent candidate Kawira Mwangaza.

Jubilee Party Secretary-General Jeremiah Kioni, Kipipiri MP Amos Kimunya, Kieni’s Kanini Kega, Gatundu South’s Moses Kuria, former Kiambu governor William Kabogo, Laikipia Governor Ndiritu Muriithi and Nyeri Senator Ephraim Maina were among the first to fall by the wayside.

Mr Kiunjuri recaptured the Laikipia East parliamentary seat in a hotly contested race against incumbent Amin Deddy, boosting his quest to be the Mt Kenya political kingpin following President Uhuru Kenyatta’s exit.

Mr Kiunjuri’s TSP also bagged the Tharaka-Nithi Woman Rep seat as all the other Mt Kenya giants were beaten by little-known politicians.

'Yellow fever'

No experienced politician was spared in what was described as ‘yellow fever’ wave by politician Priscilla Nyokabi who, together with former MP Kabando wa Kabando, lost in the Kirinyaga Senate race.

Most of the political bigwigs who were kicked out had sided with the President in his political battle with his deputy William Ruto.

A number of leaders from the region were disgruntled and began to revolt against the current administration in 2018 after the ‘handshake’ between President Uhuru Kenyatta and Azimio presidential candidate Raila Odinga

Nyeri Town MP Ngunjiri Wambugu, who is one of the casualties, coined the Kieleweke and Tangatanga tags to refer to leaders who support the President and Dr William Ruto respectively. 

It also marked the start of differences among leaders elected on a Jubilee ticket countrywide. 

Leaders affiliated to the Kieleweke wing have been thrashed by leaders allied to the DP, now flying the UDA ticket.

Mr Ngunjiri was trounced by Mr Duncan Mathenge during his fifth shot at the parliamentary seat. 

On several occasions, whenever the Tangatanga team pitched tent in Nyeri Town, Mr Ngunjiri would rally his supporters in what he said was “protecting Uhuru’s bedroom”.

In December 2019, Dr Ruto was due to attend a church fundraiser in Giakanja but violence erupted when youth belonging to the two factions clashed. 

Mr Ngunjiri’s supporters wore T-shirts inscribed ‘Uhuru's bedroom’ at the back and ‘no politics before 2022’ on the front. 

Stand-offs

When the DP’s chopper landed, all local leaders went to welcome him except the Nyeri town MP, who remained seated. 

When the time for speeches came, Nyeri Woman Representative Rahab Mukami invited the MP after all other visiting legislators had spoken but he declined and did not leave his seat.

The stand-offs were experienced not only in Nyeri Town but also Kieni, where the DP’s car was stoned in Naromoru while on a campaign tour and his meetings disrupted. 

Mr Kega was voted out by his constituents, who elected UDA’s Njoroge Wainana.

Mr Wainaina was vying for the seat for the second time while Mr Kega was seeking a third term. 

The Kieni MP took to his social media to post his concession statement. 

“Opening a new chapter, when one door closes another one is opened. Heading to Bomas,” he wrote. 

In a series of other posts, Mr Kega noted that voters in the Mt Kenya region will soon regret their choices and realise that the President meant well for them. 

“My Boss and my friend. HE Uhuru Kenyatta Commander-in-Chief. It is just a matter of time that Mt Kenya will realise you meant well for them,” said Mr Kega. 

Political pundits opine that were it not for his choice of party, Mr Kega was set for a resounding win in the constituency. 

“I would do it again for Baba... I have no problem losing Kieni parliamentary seat but Baba the fifth is winning,” he wrote. 

In Othaya, Mr Gichuki Mugambi, who was seeking re-election on a Jubilee ticket, lost to UDA’s Wambugu Wainana after garnering 9, 019 votes against Mr Mugambi’s 26, 976.

He thanked his constituents for allowing him to serve for five years. 

“I take this opportunity to thank the great people of Othaya for giving me the chance to serve them as their MP for the last five years. I have no doubt we have left Othaya better than we found it. I thank all those who have walked this journey with me. May I also take this opportunity to congratulate all those who have been elected and request that we support them to continue making our constituency shine? God bless you all,” he wrote.

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