Kabogo’s candidature heightens temperatures in Kiambu gubernatorial race
Tujibebe Wakenya Party leader William Kabogo has finally thrown his hat in the Kiambu gubernatorial race raising political temperatures in President Uhuru Kenyatta’s home county.
His decision heightens the fight for the seat currently held by Governor James Nyoro in what is expected to be a titanic battle involving at least six political heavyweights.
Kabogo who is Kiambu’s first governor has previously been sending mixed signals, indicating that he may be going for the presidency, but on Sunday while addressing a political rally in Thika, he said he has bowed to pressure from the electorate to contest the gubernatorial position.
“I have been listening to the people of Kiambu who want me to go for the governor’s seat. I will obey your wishes despite the fact that I was interested in the presidency,” Kabogo said during the event also attended by One Kenya Alliance principals Kalonzo Musyoka, Musalia Mudavadi, Gideon Moi and Moses Wetangula among others.
Other political giants eyeing the Kiambu seat include the incumbent Nyoro, former Governor Ferdinand Waititu, Senator Kimani Wamatangi, Kiambu County Assembly Speaker Stephen Ndicho and Thika Town MP Patrick Wainaina.
Waititu and Wainaina are expected to fight for the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) ticket in what promises to be a bruising duel while Nyoro, Ndicho and Wamatangi are yet to declare their election vehicles.
Nyoro who was elected along with Waititu on a Jubilee ticket has been associating with the Azimio la Umoja fraternity led by Orange Democratic Movement party leader Raila Odinga while Ndicho and Wamatangi have kept people guessing about their political allegiance.
However, the governor recently joined his other colleagues from the Mt Kenya region to declare they will be seeking to form another political party other than Jubilee ahead of the next general elections.
Since then, Nakuru Governor Lee Kinyanjui who had teamed up with Nyoro and other governors in their declaration to quit Jubilee has since launched the Ubuntu People’s Forum (UPF).
Nyoro is likely to join UPF or any other party allied to the ODM leader. "We are supporting Baba at the moment to go for the top seat. When the right time comes for me to declare my party ticket I will do so," he said recently while appearing in a local vernacular TV show.
But the UDA primaries are expected to be a bruising battle between Waititu and Wainaina, both of whom enjoy sizable following in the county.
Interestingly, Wainaina who defected to UDA about two months ago seems to have had a change of heart and is no longer seen to be very enthusiastic over Deputy President William Ruto's party, having recently repainted his campaign truck and removed the "Hustler" logo and colours.
Addressing residents of Ngoliba last Friday when inspecting the construction of a Ksh25 million bridge across the Thika river, Wainaina told voters to rate leaders by their individual capabilities and not party affiliation.
Waititu on his part has branded his campaign vehicles with UDA colours and declared himself as “The Peoples Governor” and “The Hustlers Governor.”
Ndicho's declaration that he would be seeking the governor's seat has sparked off a cold war between him and supporters of Nyoro in the county assembly.
Recently, a group of MCAs physically ejected him and other officers out of the assembly while chairing a board meeting, a move that resulted in the Jubilee Party suspending the rowdy leaders.
Wamatangi who is the Jubilee Senate Majority Whip has remained non-aligned in the political formations and is yet to state which party ticket he will be seeking to contest on.