Seven women from Mt Kenya declare interest in governor’s post

Kirinyaga County will be the epicentre of women’s push for ultimate devolution power after three female aspirants bid for the governor’s position — all being billed as frontrunners.

So far, seven women have confirmed intention to vie for gubernatorial positions in Kirinyaga (three) and one each in Nakuru, Embu, Murang’a and Meru counties.

Kirinyaga County Governor Anne Waiguru will be defending her seat next year./Jeff Angote | Nation Media Group

In Kirinyaga, the incumbent Anne Waiguru will be defending her seat. Others are Narc Kenya’s Martha Karua and Purity Ngirici, the current woman representative.

“We are proud of Kirinyaga since it not only gave us the first region’s governor in Waiguru, but also continues to be a classic case of agitation for gender parity in power,” says Central region Maendeleo ya Wanawake Organisation chair Lucy Nyambura.

She says Kirinyaga has served to show Kenya that “a woman can weather negative press to shine like “Waiguru has consistently done in the past five years.”

She adds that Ms Karua has also served to qualify the adage that what a man can do a woman can also do “she has been at the political battlefront countless times defending her position and those of the general populace, and managing to be conspicuous in the male-dominated tussles.”

Narc Kenya Party leader Martha Karua who has been at the political battlefront countless times, will give the governor’s post a second shot./Lucy Wanjiru | Nation Media Group

“She represents the new rising stars that will keep gender parity fire burning on behalf of the upcoming women leaders,” she says referring to Ms Ngirichi.

The three will battle it out with among others, first governor who Ms Waiguru trounced in the 2017 polls — Joseph Ndathi, Interior Ministry PS Karanja Kibicho and Deputy Governor Peter Ndambiri.

Murang’a Woman Representative Sabina Wanjiru Chege has confirmed her candidature for the gubernatorial post and will battle it out with a horde of male aspirants led by Senator Irungu Kang’ata, Water PS Irungu Wairagu, two times runner up Dr Moses Mwangi, former Kigumo MP Jamleck Kamau and tea and coffee activist Irungu Nyakera.

New Partnerships for African Development (Nepad) Chairman Elias Mbau, terms her as “intelligent and determined go getter whose networking acumen is unmatched.”

Popular political analyst in Mt Kenya region Prof Ngugi Njoroge says: “Ms Chege stands out as one who will give the other candidates a run for their money in a county that has clearly shown it is not biased against women leadership.”

Murang’a Women Representative Sabina Chege has confirmed her 2022 candidature for the gubernatorial post./Pool | Nation Media Group

Of the seven MPs in Murang’a County, three are women — Maragua’s Mary wa Maua, Kandara’s Alice Wahome and Kigumo’s Wangari Mwaniki.

In Meru County, Faith Kawira aka Mwangaza, seeks to dislodge veteran, seasoned and battle hardened Kiraitu Murungi.

She will also have to contend with a serious onslaught from Agriculture CS Peter Munya who was ousted by Mr Murungi in 2017.

An evangelist and a prominent investor Prof Njoroge terms her as “an interesting package of humility and commitment to serve the poor hence, her strength in the duel.”

In Nakuru County, firebrand politician Susan Kihika will be seeking to fight it out with incumbent Lee Kinyanjui and State House comptroller Kinuthia Mbugua among others.

Mr Mbugua was ousted by Mr Kinyanjui in the 2017 poll and the two now have to face Ms Kihika as they progress their cyclic competition in 2022.

Bahati MP Kimani Ngunjiri terms Ms Kihika as a “hotshot so tricky to deal with and whose ability to penetrate political fortes is unmatched.”

Ms Karua describes Ms Kihika as a “brilliant lawyer and a go getter who will spare no sane word and decent act to push her agenda through.”

In Embu County, there will be a duel between nominated MP Cecily Mbarire and former Senator Lenny Kivuti.

There are also murmurs that National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi will contest Embu gubernatorial post if his national math for the presidency or presidential running mate hits a dead wall.

Nominated MP Cecily Mbarire is billed as a woman with the brain and the mettle to run Embu County./Pool | Nation Media Group

Ms Mbarire has served as Runyenjes MP and is described by Prof Njoroge as “that fabulous, intelligent, bold and daredevil package of a politician.”

“Between 2008 and 2013, she was Assistant Minister for Tourism, between 2005 and 2007 she was Assistant Minister for Transport and her legislative mandate spans from 2002,” Prof Njoroge says.

Ms Mbarire, a political scientist, is billed as a woman with the brain and the mettle to run Embu County.

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