Meru Woman Representative Kawira Mwangaza floored political titans’ governor Kiraitu Murungi and senator Mithika Linturi to win the gubernatorial seat in one of the biggest shock electoral upsets in the country.
Initially, majority of the people thought Mwangaza would come a distant third in the contest but surprisingly, she edged out the two veteran politicians with overwhelming support.
Mwangaza who contested as an independent garnered a total of 209,148 votes, against her closest competitor Mithika Linturi of UDA who polled 183, 859 votes and Kiraitu Murungi of the Mbus party who trailed with 110, 814 votes.
During the campaigns, Mwangaza’s competitors especially Governor Kiraitu perceived her as a non-starter who had no agenda and ability to lead the county.
She however led in six out of nine sub counties defeating Kiraitu Murungi in his own home turf where she garnered 31,921 votes against Murungi’s 22,359 votes.
Meru School tallying centre hall was yesterday packed to capacity by Mwangaza’s supporters celebrating her victory even before the official results were declared by IEBC.
The hall broke into chants and ululations after the county returning officer Mr William Ndung’u declared Mwangaza as the Governor-elect with a section of the crowd reciting songs.
Speaking after receiving her certificate Mwangaza promised to lead the county to prosperity by ensuring there was sustainable development as well as uniting all the elected leaders in the spirit of working together to make Meru the best county in the country.
She was accompanied by her running mate Reverend Isaac M’Ethinkia and her husband Murega Baicu.
Present during the announcement was Tigania MP-elect Mpuru Aburi of NOPEO who is a close ally of Peter Munya and who supported Mwangaza and was a critic of Kiraitu’s leadership.
Mwangaza made her first stab at politics in 2012 when she vied as Buuri MP but lost to Boniface Gatobu.
She vied for the Woman representative seat in 2017 as an independent trouncing Ms Florence Kajuju.
The last time a woman was elected in leadership before introduction of Women representative seats was in 1975 when Ms Annrita Karimi won the South Imenti parliamentary seat.
She lost her parliamentary seat in 1978 after she was charged in court for misuse of school funds in her previous job as principal and jailed for 18 months in what residents believe was a plot orchestrated by Kabeere M’Bijiwe, a development that scared away Meru women from elective politics.
In the senate race, outgoing Imenti South MP Kathuri Murungi (UDA) was crowned the senator-elect with a resounding victory when he garnered 340,442 votes against his closest competitor Mithika James (Jubilee) who 39,716 votes.
Ms Elzabeth Kailemia (UDA) polled 259,445 votes to become the new Woman representative with her closest competitor Felicity Nkirote Biriri (DEP) garnering 164,238 votes.
The three leaders promised to work together for the sake of the county’s progress.
By Dickson Mwiti