CS Macharia to seek Azimio ticket in Murang’a governor’s race

By Justus Karanja

Transport, Infrastructure, Housing and Urban Development Cabinet Secretary James Macharia (pictured) is set to declare his ambitions for Murang’a governor’s seat in the August 9 General Election next month, reliable sources have confided to

Macharia’s entry brings the total number of aspirants for the seat to 10.

They are seeking to succeed Governor Mwangi Wa Iria who is serving his second and final term.

The declarations by the aspirants have raised the possibility of heated campaigns for the governorship in the polls.

The aspirants include seasoned politicians, former and current top government officials and business tycoons.

Last year Murang’a Woman Representative Sabina Chege declared her interest in the seat.

Sabina made the announcement moments after she joined National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi for a resources mobilisation drive towards development of ACK Kenya Njeru Church Kangema.

Sabina, who is currently allied to President Uhuru’s Kenyatta’s Kieleweke faction of the Jubilee Party, is expected to seek the ticket of a party friendly to the president and most likely Azimio.

At the function moderated by Rt Rev Dr Timothy Gichere, Bishop ACK Diocese of Mt Kenya Central, Sabina was accompanied by MPs Muturi Kigano (Kangema), Kanini Kega (Kieni), Principal Secretary Joseph Wairagu (Water and Sanitation), Dr. Monica Juma (Cabinet Secretary, Defense), Prof. Peter Kagwanja, and Esther Gathogo, Director, NACADA, among others.

In 2020,  Sabina hinted she would go for the seat during the Team Embrace Kenya tour to Mwingi, Kitui County.

“God willing, I will vie for the Murang’ a Governor’s seat,” Sabina said adding that she has gained a lot of experience since she was first elected to Parliament in 2013.

Sabina has set her sights on the county’s top seat after serving two terms as Woman Rep.

The former radio presenter and mother of three was first elected in 2013 on the TNA ticket.

She served as the National Assembly’s Education Committee chair and is now chairs the Health committee.

Others who have declared interest in the seat includes Murang’a Senator Irungu Kang’ata, who is in the Hustlers Movement associated with Deputy President William Ruto.

Others are former Senator Kembi Gitura, former Kigumo MP Jamleck Kamau, Water Principal Secretary Irungu Wairagu, former Transport Permanent Secretary Irungu Nyakera, Equatorial Nut CEO Moses Mwangi and Eng. Henry Gaate.

Currently, Murang’a politics is controlled by two blocs: Murang’a North, where Wa Iria, Sabina and Kang'ata come from and Murang'a South from where Mwangi and Kamau hail.

The battle for the seat will revolve around Kieleweke faction associated with Uhuru and Tangatanga faction allied to Ruto.

The incumbent, Wa Iria, who has declared interest in the presidency through the Usawa Kwa Wote party, is on record saying he does not have a

favourite aspirant and that all are free to campaign without antagonising his relationship with MCAs.

For Macharia, a dependable Cabinet Secretary in Uhuru's Cabinet, heading one of the biggest and influential ministries, this will be the first time he will be seeking an elective seat.

The CS has gained popularity on the ground due to the mega infrastructural projects in the county.

For Kang’ata, who lost the Senate Majority Chief Whip after writing a scathing letter to the president dismissing the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) as unpopular in Mount Kenya region, he will be hoping to ride on the Hustlers Movement to capture the seat.

For Nyakera, who chairs the Kenya Tea Sector Lobby Group, through which he has advocated the interest of tea farmers, making him a darling of farmers, this will be the first time he be seeking elective seat.

Nyakera, a Starehe School old boy and Financial Analysis and Decision Engineering graduate from Stanford University, served as a director at Equity Bank before joining the government as Principal Secretary.

For Kamau, the former Kigumo MP and now Tana and Athi Development Authority chairman, he stood for the position in 2017 but lost to Wa iria in the Jubilee Party primaries.

The former Nairobi Metropolitan Development minister is one of the seasoned politicians in the county.

For Wairagu, the Water Principal Secretary, this will be the first time he will be seeking elective post.

Wairagu will be riding on his achievement of increasing the water coverage in the county through domestic and irrigation water projects, and boreholes.

Wairagu, who hails from Kiharu, has in the past engaged in war-of-words with the Wa Iria who accused him of sinking boreholes instead of connecting locals to Ndakaini Dam Water.

For Mwangi, the pharmacist who has worked in the health sector for over 25 years in research, development, manufacture and commercialisation of vaccines unsuccessfully vied for the position in 2013 and 2017 elections.

In 2013, he emerged second with over 40,000 votes and got 160,000 votes in 2017.

For Gitura, the former Senate Deputy Speaker, will be seeking the seat a year after he was bolted out of the scandal-ridden Kemsa.

Gitura is a seasoned politician and served as Kiharu MP between 2003 and 2007.

Gaate, the former adviser to retired President Mwai Kibaki will be seeking elective post for the first time.

Gaate has opened an office at Kenol Town and is working with tertiary institutions to link students with international sponsors on business and ICT courses.

There are reports Philanthropist Stanley Kamau will be seeking the seat on the strength of his economic activities in the region.

Kamau, who is known for his tireless fight against jiggers, will ride on various initiatives he has taken to uplift lives of less fortunate in the county.

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