Nyeri granny: After Gachagua exit, Mathira MP seat is mine to lose

Mathira Parliamentary candidate on Jubilee ticket Wambura Maranga acknowledges greetings from wananchi during Azimio la Umoja coalition campaigns in Karatina on May 20, 2022. 

Photo credit: Joseph Kanyi I Nation Media Group

A granny in Nyeri has exuded confidence that she will win the Mathira parliamentary seat after the exit of MP Rigathi Gachagua, who was named Deputy President William Ruto’s running mate.

Ms Phyllis Wambura Maranga, 74, who is fondly referred to by her supporters as “Shosh” (granny) took the political scene by storm in 2017, defiantly proving that age is nothing but a number.

She also made history for being the first woman to ever make it to the ballot box since independence to contest for the Mathira parliamentary seat. She has been given a direct Jubilee party ticket and she says this time round the seat is hers to lose.

With Mr Gachagua’s exit, the soft-spoken granny dismissed the other contestants as “greenhorns”, saying she was confident of representing Mathira constituents in the 13th Parliament.

“In 2017 I came second to Gachagua and now that he is out of the way this seat is mine. I will demonstrate that even Shosh can win a parliamentary seat and I will represent the people of Mathira very well,” Ms Maranga said.

DP Ruto endorsed a member of Nyeri county assembly to fly the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) party flag on Saturday amid murmurs of disapproval from the party supporters.

He unveiled Konyu ward MCA Eric Mwangi Wamumbi as his preferred candidate on Saturday during a rally in Karatina Town.

Mathira Parliamentary candidate on Jubilee ticket Wambura Maranga acknowledges greetings from wananchi during Azimio la Umoja coalition campaigns in Karatina on May 20, 2022. 

Photo credit: Joseph Kanyi I Nation Media Group

The exit of Mr Gachagua from local politics paved way for new blood into the race for residents to choose who will replace him in this populous constituency.

A notice issued by UDA the director of elections Mr Anthony Mwaura last week called for those who wish to run for the parliamentary seat to apply but it is not yet clear whether any interviews were conducted.

On Saturday Dr Ruto said the MCA was able to take over from Mr Gachagua terming him a brave person who was among the few who opposed the BBI when it was taken to Nyeri County for MCAs to endorse.

“Now that I’m going with Gachagua to Nairobi, we have a young man here who can take up his role. He is brave because he was among the few MCAs who refused to be bribed and said they will not accept BBI,” DP Ruto said.

Mr Gachagua on his part said the MCA fits the bill saying he would continue to take care of the development projects he had initiated.  

However, the public endorsement of the MCA by both Dr Ruto and Mr Gachagua didn’t cause any excitement among the huge crowds that gathered in Karatina with loud murmurs of disapproval being heard among UDA supporters.

Those who talked to “Nation” said the mere fact that he opposed the BBI should not be the only criteria used to evaluate him for such a big position. Mr Wamumbi will now face four other aspirants who have so far been on the ground.

Other contestants are Mr Stanley Waruru Gikandi who is running on the Martha Karua led Narc- K party. Mr Daniel Kiige, a former street boy, is running on the Justice and freedom party while Mr Karweru Kiragu is running on a Mwangi Wa Iria’s Usawa party  ticket .

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