15 governors suffer voters’ wrath, 8 get second chance
It was a rough ride for governors who were defending their seats in the just concluded elections after the majority of them were kicked out by voters.
Fifteen, out of 26 governors who were defending their seats, suffered humiliating defeat in the poll which will see the Council of Governors welcome 36 new faces.
Some 21 county chiefs were not defending their seats because they were serving their second and final term.
Among those who lost is Meru Governor Kiraitu Murungi who had not been beaten in an election since he joined elective politics 30 years ago.
Kiraitu was floored by Woman Rep Kawira Mwangaza who contested as an independent candidate.
Kawira also beat outgoing senator Mithika Linturi who vied on Deputy President William Ruto’s United Democratic Alliance (UDA).
Kawira garnered 209,148 votes with Linturi coming second with 183,859 votes while Kiraitu was third with 110,814 votes.
Asked, during a live television debate for Meru governor candidates, if he would accept defeat, the former Cabinet Minister, responded: “That question does not arise because I will not be defeated. How can I be defeated?”
But the outcome of the poll humbled him and he became the first governor to concede defeat.
“I want to thank the people of Meru for giving me the opportunity to serve them in various elective positions. I shall always walk with my head held high for having had the unique experience of being the only elected leader in Meru who has served a continuous unbroken period of 30 years, as a Member of Parliament, a Cabinet Minister, a Senator and a Governor,” Kiraitu said.
In Kiambu, Governor James Nyoro put up a strong fight to defend the seat he inherited following the impeachment of Ferdinand Waititu in 2020. But he lost.
Nyoro, who was grappling with a hostile ground with a section of electorate accusing his of not living to the expectations of the people, came distant fourth in the contest won by UDA’s Kimani Wamatangi.
Wamatangi, the outgoing senator, garnered 348,371 votes to Nyoro’s 99,562.
In Nyandarua, Governor Francis Kimemia of Jubilee, lost to UDA’s Kiarie Badilisha. Kiarie got 158,263 votes against Kimemia’s 52,197. The governor has disputed the results.
His Laikipia counterpart Ndiritu Muriithi, who in 2017 braved the Jubilee wave in Mt Kenya region to win the seat as an independent candidate, was vanquished by former governor Joshua Irungu who was running on a UDA ticket.
Muriithi, who was Jubilee’s candidate, garnered 49,291 votes against Irungu’s 114,094. He has since conceded defeat and congratulated the winner
The same fate befell Nakuru’s Lee Kinyanjui of Jubilee, who despite putting up a strong case for his re-election, was handed defeat by area Senator Susan Kihika.
Kihika garnered 440,707 votes while Kinyanjui managed 225,623 votes. Kinyanjui has, however, rejected the outcome of the election.
“It is very sad to see how the greed of a few can compromise the integrity of the whole process,” he said.
Others incumbents who failed to defend their seats are Baringo’s Stanley Kiptis who lost to former governor Benjamin Cheboi and West Pokot’s John Lonyangapuo, who was also defeated by his predecessor Simon Kachapin.
Taita Taveta’s Granton Samboja lost to Mwatate MP Andrew Mwadime while Lamu’s Fahim Yasin Twaha of Jubilee Party was shown the door by former Governor Issa Timamy of Amani National Congress.
Wycliffe Wangamati of Bungoma ushered back Ken Lusaka who has been the Senate Speaker since he lost the governor’s seat in the 2017 election.
In Garissa, where incumbent Ali Korane of Jubilee is grappling with a graft case, former Governor Nathif Jama emerged victorious. Korane conceded defeat.
In Wajir, first Governor Ahmed Abdullahi who ran on an ODM ticket garnered 35,533 votes to win against his closest challenger Hassan Mohamed of Jubilee who got 27,224 votes. Incumbent Governor Mohamed Abdi Mohamud withdrew from the race a week to the election.
Nairobi’s Anne Kananu, Charity Ngilu (Kitui) and Isiolo’s Mohammed Kuti did not defended their seats.
Jme Simekha, a political analyst, attributed to loss by most governors to incompetence and corruption.
He said that were it not for the political dynamics created by the Azimio la Umoja and Kenya Kwanza alliances where people voted for candidates depending on their affiliation with presidential candidates, more governors would have lost.
“Some were lucky because they were in those coalitions. People are disaffected with the governors because of their poor performances and corruption,” Simekha told People Daily.