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WaJungle, Kabogo and Nyoro the front-runners in Kiambu governor’s race

By Correspondent

The battle for Kiambu County gubernatorial seat in this year’s General Election is turning fierce after former governor William Kabogo decided to run for the seat he lost to disgraced Ferdinand Waititu in the 2017 polls.

Reliable sources revealed that President Uhuru Kenyatta has persuaded Kabogo to go for the seat instead of eyeing a national seat.

Kabogo had announced he would go for the presidency but later sent signals he was eyeing a presidential running mate slot.

But the former governor is now preparing to unveil his governorship campaign secretariat in readiness to dethroning Nyoro.

He is expected to vie on his new party, Tujibebe Wakenya which is likely to support ODM leader Raila Odinga for presidency.

Nyoro will also be seeking Azimio la Umoja ticket.

The President, who comes from the county, reportedly urged Kabogo to go for the seat after being disappointed by Nyoro for failing to end corruption.

It was the president who pushed for Nyoro’s rise to the helm after mobilising MCAs to impeach Waititu over gross misconduct and financial impropriety.

The President together with his handshake partner, Raila also mobilised pro-handshake senators to uphold Waititu’s impeachment at the Senate.

But after being sworn-in, Nyoro failed to tame corruption and was even named in auditor-general’s reports as a beneficiary of the scams.

This irked the President who had hoped Nyoro would turn around the fortunes of the county.

Besides Nyoro who has vowed to defend his seat, Kabogo will battle it out with other gubernatorial hopefuls who have been traversing the region and holding low-key meetings with their strategists and residents while trying to sell their agendas and rally locals’ support.

Those who have expressed interest in the coveted seat include Thika Town MP Patrick Wainaina alias WaJunglewho has been Nyoro’s fiercest political nemesis and Senator Kimani Wamatangi.

WaJungle, who was elected as an independent, has been making forays in the county, criticising Nyoro for abetting corruption and skewed development.

His forays have irked Nyoro, who has even used the county askaris to demolish stalls the MP has put up for boda boda operators.

Wainaina, a political greenhorn who won his seat on an independent ticket in a Jubilee stronghold in 2017, has become a force to reckon with in the governor’s race.

In the 2017 polls, Wainaina defeated Jubilee’s Alice Ng’ang’a with 56,476 votes against her 50,910 votes. The soft-spoken MP has been doing charity work in Kiambu for close to two decades through his Jungle Foundation.

He is banking on his work both as an MP in Thika Town and a charity ambassador in his quest for the gubernatorial seat.

The hopefuls will fight it out for the 1.2 million Kiambu votes with each gunning for the highest percentage of votes in populous constituencies.

The county has 12 sub-counties with Ruiru having the highest number of registered voters at 159,337.

It is followed by Thika (147,761), Juja (114,761), Githunguri (99,384), Kiambaa (95,413), Kikuyu (91,157) and Limuru (87, 258).

Others are Kabete (85,446), Kiambu (80,730), Lari (76,655), Gatundu South (75,858) and Gatundu North (67,598).

Sources revealed the moneyed Kabogo is putting together machinery as well as laying down strategies that will see him reclaim the seat.

Kabogo has now dropped his bid to be the Mt Kenya kingpin position to replace Uhuru, opting to go for the governor’s seat.

The former governor was floored by Jubilee's Ferdinand Waititu in 2017 where Waititu garnered 716,336 votes against Kabogo's 192,045 votes. He had run as an independent.

Kabogo has now coined a new slogan ‘Kaba Kabogo’ (translated Kabogo a better choice) to win the voters disappointed by Waititu and Nyoro for abetting corruption.

He will be banking on support from Kiambu residents who voted in Waititu to punish him but have now realised they made a big mistake.

For Nyoro, who was recently questioned by the Senate County Public Accounts and Investment Committee over rampant graft in the county, has now lost favour with the President.

This was after the Auditor General’s Report revealed Nyoro was a beneficiary of weak internal financial controls which have led to loss of millions of shillings and his continued working with corrupt officials.

Under Nyoro, the Auditor-General’s Report revealed Sh235 million was lost through imprests issued only to five officers of the county government.

The officers’ names, titles, and amounts received are well known and in the public domain.

The report revealed that one of the officers took within a day a whopping Sh60 million in three batches of Sh20 million each.

In another instance, the Auditor-General reveals that Sh40 million was also lost through imprest.

But the governor told senators that Sh35 million was paid back to the county but on further interrogation by Wamatangi who is a member of the committee  about the evidence of payback, he provided a ‘typed list’ of beneficiaries of the money without a single supporting document as proof of payment.

According to Wamatangi, Nyoro has been using Finance Executive Wilson Kang’ethe to siphon funds from the county government.

Sources revealed that Uhuru has even blocked Nyoro from reaching him on his mobile phones after he got reports of how the governor was misappropriating county funds.

The President, sources added, was disappointed by Nyoro’s conduct, having backed him to replace Waititu.

The sources claimed Nyoro has been using junior officers to sign for imprests and then hand the cash to him.

The money they collect as imprest is mainly the daily collections from the markets, matatus and parking charges.

But Nyoro denies all the allegations, accusing Wamatangi of scheming his downfall since the senator wants to become the governor in the 2022 General Election.

The Kiambu County executive comprise Martin Njogi as County Secretary, Dr Margaret Ruingi (CEC Administration and Public Service), Kang’ethe (Finance and Economic Services),   David Kuria (Water, Environment and Natural Resources), Kigo Njenga (Trade, Tourism, Cooperative and Enterprise Development), Mary Kamau (Health), James Mitam (Land, Housing, Physical Planning and Urban Development and James Kamau (Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation)

The Sports and Youth docket remains vacant after Karungo was Thangwa was sacked but he moved to the Labour and Employment Court to challenge the decision.

Residents at the county accused Nyoro of concentrating development in his Ndeiya backyard and ignoring other regions.

They noted that the Kiambu-Githunguri road is in a bad condition while during the era of William Kabogo the road was in good condition.

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