Intriguing gubernatorial battles, many of which will pit Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader Raila Odinga’s and Deputy President William Ruto, are on the cards in the upcoming August 2022 general elections.
Raila’s Azimio la Umoja Movement and Ruto’s United Democratic Alliance (UDA) Party look poised to go head to head in the battle for control of counties resources, numbers and influence.
Among those seeking the top seats are returning politicians, who are seeking redemption after losing out in the 2017 elections, government officials and holders of the various seats.
Here is a look at some of the most notable contests:
Billionaire Richard Ngatia (right) celebrates after being appointed as KNCCI President.
Incumbent Senator Johnstone Sakaja is set to battle it out with Businessman Richard Ngatia, Westlands MP Tim Wanyonyi and former Starehe MP Bishop Margaret Wanjiru.
Jubilee Party’s Sakaja, who pledged to back Musalia Mudavadi for the presidency, looks poised to contest on an Amani National Congress (ANC) ticket.
Ngatia and Wanyonyi, on the other hand, are in line to battle for the Azimio la Umoja ticket, should the movement opt to field only one candidate.
Wanjiru, on the other end, aligned herself with William Ruto’s United Democratic Alliance (UDA) and hopes to represent the party.
The four will be contesting the top seat for the first time. While Wanyonyi and Sakaja are actively serving in Parliament and Senate respectively, this will be Ngatia’s first stab at elective politics.
Wanjiru unsuccessfully contested the Jubilee ticket in the party’s 2017 primaries, losing out to former Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko who was later impeached in December 2020.
Former Governor Ferdinand Waititu announced that he will wrestle for the seat that he lost to his former deputy and incumbent Governor, James Nyoro. Waititu was impeached in January 2020 after he was accused of graft and abuse of office.
His deputy, Nyoro, took over and is seeking to retain the seat in August 2022. Nyoro is affiliated with Raila Odinga’s Azimio la Umoja Movement, while Waititu is set to contest on a UDA ticket.
Interestingly, the county’s first boss, William Kabogo, has played cagey on whether he will battle for the seat or go for a top elective position.
Kabogo, who lost to Waititu in 2017 formed his own party, Tujibebe Wakenya.
Former Justice Minister Martha Karua who lost to current Governor Anne Waiguru in 2017 announced that she would battle for the seat against the latter who decamped to UDA.
The election will be open and hard to predict, especially after the county’s Woman Representative, Purity Ngirici, tossed herself in the race. Pundits also opined that Interior Principal Secretary, Karanja Kibicho, could also resign to contest against the three women leaders.
Waiguru and Ngirici renewed their rivalry after the Governor joined UDA, forcing the Woman Representative to quit the party.
Ngirici hinted at joining the Azimio la Umoja bandwagon and accused DP Ruto’s UDA of bias and favouritism
Karua is expected to vie via her Narc-Kenya party ticket. However, several politicians endorsed her for the deputy president role, arguing that she is better suited to succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta as Mt Kenya’s spokesperson.
Incumbent Hillary Barchok will contest against former Governor Isaac Rutto and Petroleum and Mining Chief Administrative Secretary, John Mosonik.
Barchok took over in 2019 after former governor Joyce Laboso passed on after a long battle with cancer. He has since aligned himself with DP Ruto’s UDA Party.
Former governor Isaac Rutto, who leads the Chama Cha Mashinani Party, is, however, the favourite to win the race.
Yet another top tier battle is on the cards in Nakuru with UDA’s Susan Kihika and incumbent, Governor Lee Kinyanjui.
The two have not only been embroiled in a public war of words but also countered each other’s policies on the management of Nakuru City.
Kinyanjui has since aligned himself with Raila’s Azimio la Umoja coalition and hopes to win a second term in office.
Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya expressed intent in ousting current governor Kiraitu Murungi. Murungi beat Munya, who was the county’s first boss, in the 2017 General Election.
Murungi is expected to run on the Bus Party ticket. Munya, however, has not yet announced whether he will quit the government to contest for the seat.
The CS, nonetheless, aligned himself with Raila’s Azimio la Umoja movement.
Incumbent Governor Alfred Mutua second term in office will come to end in August 2022.
Inline to succeed him are, Transport CAS Wavinya Ndeti and former Machakos Senator and UDA Chairman Johnstone Muthama.
The former Machakos Senator who was in office between 2013 and 2017, opted not to contest in the 2017 General Election.
Party nominations, set to be concluded in April, shall guide the fate of most of these epic battles, which will possibly also have an impact on the ultimate presidential race.
DP Ruto with Mr. Muthama at a past event