Ruto's show of might as UDA wave sweeps across Mt Kenya region

Deputy President William Ruto addresses wananchi at Karatina town, Nyeri county.

Deputy President William Ruto addresses wananchi at Karatina town, Nyeri county during a Kenya Kwanza campaign rally on May 21, 2022.


Photo credit: Joseph Kanyi | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • In a show of might and fruits of Deputy President William Ruto’s frequent campaigns in the region, UDA was on Wednesday night in a commanding lead.
  • Jubilee’s Priscillah Nyokabi and Narc Kenya’s Kabando wa Kabando, who were eyeing the Nyeri senatorial seat, have since conceded defeat. 
  • In Murang’a, Gatanga MP Nduati Ngugi, who was vying for a second term on the Jubilee ticket, conceded defeat.


From the slopes of Mount Kenya in Nyeri County to the Laikipia plateau, the United Democratic Movement wave sept through Central as its candidates were Wednesday night on the verge of claiming a majority of the seats.

In a show of might and fruits of Deputy President William Ruto’s frequent campaigns in the region, UDA was on Wednesday night in a commanding lead.

In Nyeri County, home of Dr Ruto’s running mate Rigathi Gachagua, residents remained true to their history of failing to re-elect MPs.

If the numbers streaming to different polling stations are anything to go by, Nyeri residents seem to have rejected four legislators who were seeking re-election on different parties. 

In 2017, only Kieni MP Kanini Kega was re-elected on the Jubilee ticket while all other MPs that were elected in 2013 were sent home. 

Mr Kega was not lucky this time as votes counted showed a lead for his opponent Njoroge Wainana of UDA.

“Opening a new chapter, when one door closes another one is opened. Heading to Bomas,” he posted on Facebook, appearing to have conceded defeat. 

Kieni MP Kanini Kega addresses a press conference in Nyeri town.

Kieni MP Kanini Kega addresses a press conference in Nyeri town on July 9, 2022. 

Photo credit: Joseph Kanyi | Nation Media Group

Never re-elected MP

Tetu Constituency has never re-elected an MP since it was established in 1998.

Former MPs Wangari Mathai, FT Nyamo, Ndungu Gethenji and James Gichuhi were all one-term lawmakers. 

The constituency tallying results indicated UDA’s Geoffrey Wandeto had a healthy lead.

In Nyeri Town, UDA’s Duncan Maina was ahead of the incumbent, Ngunjiri Wambugu of Jubilee.

In Othaya, Gichuki Mugambi was trailing UDA’s Wambugu Wainana. In Mukurwe-ini, Nyeri Speaker John Kaguchia of UDA was headed for victory against the incumbent, Anthony Kiai. 

Jubilee’s Priscillah Nyokabi and Narc Kenya’s Kabando wa Kabando, who were eyeing the Nyeri senatorial seat, have since conceded defeat. 

Mr Kabando is a two-time Mukurwe-ini MP who served from 2007 to 2017 but was rejected by voters while seeking re-election in 2017.

Ms Nyokabi served as the Woman Rep from 2013 to 2017. 

Nyeri senatorial candidates Kabando wa Kabando (Narc Kenya) and Priscilla Nyokabi (Jubilee).

Nyeri senatorial candidates Kabando wa Kabando (Narc Kenya) and Priscilla Nyokabi (Jubilee) chat during an Azimio la Umoja campaign rally at Kabiruini show grounds in Nyeri town on June 11, 2022.

Photo credit: Joseph Kanyi | Nation Media Group

“Our Nyeri First campaign is on pro-people policy issues: basic needs=basic needs. Voters have spoken. It is my time to concede, which I do. Congrats to all winners. As always I remain actively involved in matters of public interest,” Mr Kabando posted on Facebook. 

Ms Nyokabi posted: “Today is my birthday, in all essence, we give thanks to God. Yellow fever has consumed us here in Nyeri but yote tisa twashukuru. Moving on.” 

Kahiga dominance

In the gubernatorial race, Peter Maina Munyiri conceded to the incumbent, Mutahi Kahiga of UDA.

“In acceptance of the people’s will, I’d like to congratulate Governor Mutahi Kahiga. I wish him the very best as he steers our county in the next five years. I concede defeat and make a commitment to being there as we all grow the county together as patriots,” he posted on his Facebook page.

In Tharaka Nithi, three parliamentary aspirants conceded to Tharaka MP Gitonga Murugara of UDA.  

Mr Sabastian Mwangangi (The Service Party (TSP), Diego Ngugi (Chama cha Kazi) and Muchomba Marigu (independent) congratulated Mr Murugara who had opened an unassailable lead.

Mr Mwangangi said the people had played their democratic right to vote for their preferred candidate.

“I thank all my supporters for the support and urge Murugara to serve the constituents equally,” he said.

Mr Muchomba insisted on the need to maintain peace, saying political competition should not divide the people.

He pledged to continue supporting the community, such as keeping 100 secondary school students from poor families in school.

“I will clear fees for all the students that I support to ensure they complete their studies,” he offered.

Mr Ngugi urged other contenders to concede defeat and move on. 

UDA candidates in Maara and Chuka Igambang’ombe constituencies were also headed for victory Wednesday night.

Concession

In Murang’a, Gatanga MP Nduati Ngugi, who was vying for a second term on the Jubilee ticket, conceded defeat.

He thanked his constituents “for the wonderful five years that they granted him as MP”. He was trailing UDA’s Edward Muriu by press time.

“We remain friends and we will continue to be good neighbours even as we usher in a successor to the job we have been doing together with the great people of Gatanga,” he posted on Facebook.

In Laikipia North Constituency, gubernatorial candidate Joshua Irungu of UDA was leading with 4,627 votes, followed by Governor Ndiritu Muriithi with 2,843 in results from 43 polling stations.

Kenya Kwanza presidential running mate Rigathi Gachagua and Laikipia UDA gubernatorial candidate Joshua Irungu.

Kenya Kwanza presidential running mate Rigathi Gachagua, Laikipia UDA gubernatorial candidate Joshua Irungu and Laikipia North UDA parliamentary hopeful Maina Munene arrive at Ngawa village in Laikipia county for Kenya Kwanza campaigns on August 4, 2022. 

Photo credit: Joseph Kanyi | Nation Media Group

Narc Kenya’s Gitonga Kabugi, who had withdrawn from the race in favour of Mr Muriithi, got 61 votes while independent candidates John Wakaba and Mburu Kamau managed 107 and 17 votes, respectively.

Laikipia North MP Sarah Korere of Jubilee had about 63 per cent of the votes cast from 43 polling stations, according to results released by Returning Officer John Kahuro.

Former MP Mathew Lempurkel (ODM) was way behind, while UDA’s Maina Munene was a distant third. 

The constituency has 47,752 registered voters spread across four wards. It has 131 polling stations. 

Weathering UDA wave

Should Ms Korere emerge the winner at the final tally, she will be among the few candidates who will have weathered the UDA wave in Mt Kenya to deliver an elective seat under the Azimio la Umoja-One Kenya Coalition.

Azimio presidential candidate Raila Odinga was also leading in the votes counted in the 43 polling centres, having bagged 3,586 votes followed by Kenya Kwanza’s William Ruto at 2,239.

Roots Party candidate George Wajackoyah and his Agano’s Mwaure Waihiga had 14 and 6 votes, respectively.

Dr Ruto was, however, leading in Laikipia East Constituency. According to provisional results at Thingithu Secondary School tallying centre, the DP had 4,180 votes against Mr Odinga’s 1,032.

Prof George Wajackoyah got 27 votes while Mr Mwaure had 13. The results were from 21 out of the 192 polling stations. The county has 565 polling stations.

Mwea UDA candidate Mary Maingi was also leading in 24 out of 236 polling stations with 5,121 votes.

The incumbent, Kabinga Wathayu of Jubilee, had 3,034. “I’m confident that all will be well,” said Ms Maingi.

In Kirinyaga, Jubilee gubernatorial candidate Charles Kibiru conceded defeat early, saying he was satisfied with the process.

“I take this early opportunity to accept and respect the choice of Kirinyaga voters in relation to the just-concluded gubernatorial elections, where I was a candidate,” he said in a statement.

He thanked his supporters, electoral team, friends and his running mate Peter Ndambiri for their support. “May God bless our great County of Kirinyaga and its people,” he stated.

The other candidates were Governor Anne Waiguru (UDA), Wangui Ngirici (Independent) and former Governor Joseph Ndathi (TSP).

Additional Reporting by James Murimi, George Munene, Alex Njeru, Mwangi Muiruri, Mwangi Ndirangu and David Muchui.

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