Kiambu governor James Nyoro has started making preparations to defend the seat he occupies courtesy of impeachment of former governor Ferdinand Waititu Babayao.
Waititu was impeached by the county assembly and the verdict upheld by the senate in a special sitting in January this year.
Nyoro, who first contested the gubernatorial seat in 2013 elections but lost to William Kabogo, has now aligned himself to Uhuru Kenyatta’s camp with an eye to securing the Jubilee party ticket to defend the seat in the county that is home to the president. Kabogo’s name is featuring prominently ahead of 2022 but has kept his supporters guessing. However, his political body language shows he will go for elective seat 2022. Kabogo has been busy commenting on national issues and even attended BBI Mt Kenya rally.
On the other side, Waititu has quit active politics deciding to concentrate on his vast business empire.
Uhuru, who is serving his final term, is reinventing himself to play a key role in his succession, where one of his desires is to have his ally continue occupying his home county top seat.
The president’s desire is informed by the fact that his family is planning to put up a multi-billion shillings housing project in Ruiru, Kiambu, the Northern City, whose construction will hopefully be going on even after he leaves State House, among other political and financial interests.
Nyoro, who after losing the 2013 Kiambu gubernatorial race was appointed an adviser to the government on matters of agriculture and policy and seconded to deputy president William Ruto’s office has now become one of the fiercest critics of the DP, something many say is meant to endear himself to the president who has fallen out with the second in command.
In the 2017 polls, Nyoro dropped his bid in support of Waititu after an agreement under the United for Kiambu Alliance.
They later fell out after Waititu dishonored a post-poll pact he had hammered with the United for Kiambu Alliance team that comprised Waititu, Nyoro as his running mate, John Mugwe, businessman and preacher Kariuki Ngare alias Bishop Gakuyo and Aquiline Njoki, on sharing of the spoils.
And Nyoro is now setting the stage to be the frontrunner in the race that is expected to attract political bigwigs from the county, with many of them being allies of either the president or is out of favour with DP.
The names that are being rumoured to be interested in the seat include Energy Principal Secretary Joseph Njoroge, former governor Kabogo, Thika Town MP Patrick Wainaina alias Wajungle and Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria.
Waititu, is also said to be pinning his hopes on being cleared by courts on the corruption charges to make another bid for the seat, but pundits are of the view his ambition is a tall order.
Insiders revealed that Nyoro is now burning the midnight oil scheming how to finish his opponents, particularly those who like him, will be eyeing the Jubilee party ticket.
Since Njoroge has not made up his mind on whether to enter the ring, Nyoro is focusing his eyes in the fight for the Jubilee ticket on the Thika Town MP, who has clandestinely launched campaigns for the seat.
The little known Wajungle pulled a surprise in the 2017 elections when he withstood the Jubilee Party wave in Central Kenya to be elected Thika Town MP as an independent candidate.
He trounced the Jubilee candidate and then Thika MP, Alice Ng’ang’a.
In the election, Ng’ang’a enjoyed the support of both Uhuru and Ruto but this was not enough to earn her victory in the race.
Thika Town constituency was created ahead of 2013 general election when the then larger Juja constituency was split into three to form Thika Town, Juja and Ruiru constituencies.
Of interest to Nyoro is that besides Wainaina eyeing the Jubilee party ticket, his election as Thika MP was just one of the many insurmountable odds he has had to overcome over years to be the self-made billionaire, entrepreneur, politician and mentor he is today, and thus can pull a surprise in the gubernatorial race.
The MP is the proprietor of Jungle Nuts Company.
As part of his scheme to dethrone Nyoro, Wainaina has been taking the governor headon on matters affecting the residents, accusing his administration of corruption and ineptitude.
This has not gone down well with the governor, whose hand is seen in the sabotage of the MP’s projects as he tries to dim his star.
Recently, Wainaina complained that people believed to be employees of the county government had demolished more than 10 boda boda sheds he had put up in various parts of Kiambu through his Jungle Foundation in a bid to frustrate his 2022 bid for the gubernatorial seat.
The demolitions took place in Githurai and Mwihoko, in Ruiru constituency and Gatukuyu market in Gatundu North.
Speaking to journalists, the operators accused Nyoro of being behind the demolitions so as to cut the popularity of the Thika MP but the county chief through the county director of communications Franklin Wambugu dismissed the allegations as false.
But Wainaina went ballistic saying he had been approached by boda boda operators in various parts of the county to help them build sheds, vowing he will not succumb to intimidation to drop his bid for a higher office.
The MP has since March this year when the first Covid-19 case was announced been going across Kiambu distributing materials to help combat the virus, a move that has raised questions on whether he is interested in a bigger political seat.
He has been using his Jungle Foundation to distribute masks and sanitisers across Kaimbu.
Apart from Wa Jungle, Nyoro has also trained his eyes on two rivals he suspects will attempt to dethrone him through DP’s political vehicle or as independent candidates – that is Kabogo and Kuria.
To this end, Nyoro has dispatched his political adviser, Gakuyo, who also has an axe to grind with the duo to kickstart a campaign to finish them ahead of the 2022 polls by painting them as being anti-development and enemies of the president.
Gakuyo, who was at the centre of the multibillion housing scam that led to investors losing over Sh1.5 billion through his dubious investment vehicles – Gakuyo Real Estate and Ekeza Sacco – made a surprise comeback in the political arena when Nyoro appointed him his political adviser despite the heavy baggage he carries.
While defending his appointment, Nyoro was quoted saying he saw no problem with appointing Gakuyo as his political advisor, pointing out that the man bankrolled their campaigns as United4Kiambu team to dethrone Kabogo during the last elections and he needed to be rewarded.
But many Kiambu residents, however, cautioned Nyoro that his move was political suicide because most people who lost their life-time earnings and investments through Gakuyo’s fraudulent deals are from Kiambu and will be the same people he be begging to vote for him in 2022.
But the governor brushed off the claims, saying only a handful of people were unhappy with his appointment of Gakuyo as his political adviser, indirectly