Thu. Jan 23rd, 2020

The Rift News

Clear and Accurate

A glimpse of Early Political Realignment in Nakuru

5 min read

Nakuru Senior Leaders

With barely three years ahead of the 2022 General elections, gradual strategies and political realignments have begun in Nakuru County, an epicenter of the country with the prominent names featuring including Lee Kinyanjui, Susan Kihika, Kinuthia Mbugua, GeoffreyMwangi, John Mututho, Liza Chelule, Gideon Keter, Moses Cheboi, Zakayo Cheruiyot, Kimani Ngunjiri, Peter Ketyenya, David Gikaria and Kuresoi South MP Joseph Tanui.

The sitting Governor Lee Kinyanjui hopes for re-election, while Senator Susan Kihika has laid strategies for the top seat while Mwangi, the former National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) CEO is also set to jump into the murky waters of politics.

Kinyanjui, a soft-spoken leader with ever diplomatic approach has so far sensed a threat to his throat from the first-rising and sharpshooting Kihika, a lawyer who enjoys overwhelming good-will from multi-ethnic communities, on top of her great working relationship with the Deputy President William Ruto.

Whereas nobody knows the family roots of Lee, family name, expansive network and Kihika’s firmness outweighs her development record propelling her to control the Nakuru politics. She is a daughter to former MP Kimani Kihika who settled thousands of Kikuyu community members in Rongai, Molo, Bahati, Naivasha, and Njoro during President Kenyatta and Moi’s era.

Besides his cool head, the insiders at DP Rut’s camp perceive Lee as their secret opponent who is secretly working with forces opposed to his 2022 presidential bid. Since he came to office, he has been conspicuously absent in events presided by Ruto in his county and consequently fired one of his Chief Officers, Dr. Benjamin Koske for attending the event against his wish.

Lee, who is considered a miser counts on his own achievements since he lacks the national government clout to back him for reelection. He has earlier been seen as a Kalenjin community oppressor in his bid to impress the dominant Kikuyus and confirm to them that he is not allied to Moi’s family as believed by many.

While Kihika and Kinyajui are key rivals who will face off for the county’s top seat, Mwangi a resident of Kamara in Kuresoi North Constituency has allegedly started secret meetings in Nairobi involving key people who have been at the county’s leadership before.

Since the exit of Kinuthia Mbugua, Susan has remained at the helm of County politics, enjoying support leaders like Woman Rep Liza Chelule, Kuresoi South MP Joseph Tonui, Nakuru East MP David Gikaria and his old rival Kimani Ngunjiri who are all anti-Lee.

DP Ruto like his political teacher Daniel Moi esteems and rewards loyalty not only with fiancés but by also by guaranteeing victory during an election period.

The decision of the former Governor Kinuthia Mbugua who is currently serving as the Statehouse comptroller is not yet decided whether he would come back to the race. His handlers say that he is still contemplating but should he decide to sit back, he would endorse and finance Kihika who served as County Assembly speaker while he was the governor. He has a frosty relationship with his successor Kinyanjui.

“ We recently held a meeting with him and he told us that he is yet to make up his mind giving an option of backing a friend should he decide otherwise” his friend that served as a senior officer in his government hinted.

Mwangi stepped aside from NHIF headship after he was involved in sh. 1.5 billion scandals and he is now doing business in Nairobi.

Upon the exit of Kihika, the Senatorial race would be one of the positions with easy competition. So far, there is no serious and moneyed politician with straight courage to claim its victory.

However, grapevine sources have it that the National Assembly speaker Joel Kairu who is one of the Tanga tanga lieutenants is bracing up for the sit and might face off with either Kimani Ngunjiri of Bahati or David Gikaria of Nakuru East.

If Ngunjiri’s crossover is true, he will have an early victory since he has endeavoured to consolidate the support of Kikuyus from Rift Valley that he informally represents as their spokesperson. If OKN will not be on the race, Kairu might go with it.

Kairu is apparently using the network of Members of County Assembly to reach out to the County’s fifty-five (55) wards through fundraisers.

The National Assembly nominated MP Gideon Keter is also hinted that he might negotiate for the seat since the exit of Chelule would leave his second-largest community with no elective seat. Keter has been instrumental in championing for pro-youth policies in parliament and across the country.

The Kikuyu Community comprises almost eighty (80) percent of the total county’s population and they are reportedly planning to claim the woman rep seat that they had out of mercy given to Kalenjin community’s Liza Chelule who is said to have disappointed them by her egoistic style of leadership.

“We voted Chelule with the expectation that she would serve all of us equally but we have never benefitted from her leadership, we must show her the door come 2022,” Judy Njeri from Nakuru town said

According to Kalenjin community sources, Chelule who is said to have given all tenders and privileges to her close family members is contemplating of vying for Kuresoi South MP seat that is currently held by Joseph Tonui.

While Lee is allegedly planning to replace his Deputy Dr. Erick Korir with his CEC in charge of Finance Dr. Peter Ketyenya in bid to rebrand himself, Ketyenya who emerged second in Kuresoi South parliamentary seat in 2017 party primaries will defend his seat.

Ketyenya, a former finance director at KeRRA is a trusty is Mr. Fix It in Nakuru County Government and a confidant of Governor Kinyanjui.

However, the tight race is expected at Kuresoi South Constituency, the only constituency with purely Kalenjin community members, as the former legislator Zakayo Cheruiyot is said to be planning to contest on CCM party.

“ It is now confirmed that ZK will be on the race come 2022 after Buzeki was appointed as the CCM party Secretary-General, the party bigwigs held a meeting and agreed that no other candidate is able to bear their flag in Kuresoi besides Cheruiyot,” CCM party member said

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