Nyeri governor Mutahi Kahiga has retained his gubernatorial position after getting 213,373 votes in the 2022 general elections.
Kahiga who was vying on a UDA ticket beat his closest rival Dr Thuo Mathenge (NDP) by over 100,000 votes to secure his second term in office. Mathenge, a businessman who is fondly referred to as ‘Wanguku’, garnered 81,467 votes.
The immediate former Nyeri Senator and long serving Mathira Member of parliament Eng Ephraim Maina who was also eyeing the post came a distant third with 36,372 votes. The post had attracted four candidates with the fourth candidate Peter Munyiri of Chama Cha Kazi getting 4,497 votes.
Kahiga, a career teacher and the one-time Mount Kenya Branch executive secretary of the Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT), will be serving his second term in office, this time as the duly elected fifth governor. He was sworn in as Nyeri’s fourth governor in November 2017 after the death of Governor Wahome Gakuru who died through a road accident after serving for barely nine months in office. Kahiga was Gakuru’s deputy.
Speaking after being declared winner by Nyeri County Returning Officer, Annastacia Mutua, the governor-elect thanked the people of Nyeri for voting for him and promised to continue with his development record.
“I honour and respect the people of Nyeri because they have not let us down. Five years of grueling work, dedication and commitment to this county has rendered results and we are proud that the people of Nyeri have chosen work over everything else. As your servant I promise you another five years dedication, commitment, hard work, availability to you,” said Kahiga.
At the same time, the former chairman of the Mathira National Government Constituency Fund, Wahome Mwangi alias Wamatinga is the Nyeri senator elect. Wamatinga, a software engineer, floored Nyeri’s first Woman Representative Priscilla Nyokabi and the former two-time Mukurwe-ini legislator, Kabando wa Kabando to clinch victory.
Wamatinga who was vying on a UDA ticket got 221,600 votes while his closest rival, Priscilla Nyokabi who was vying on a Jubilee Party ticket got 70,818 votes. Kabando wa Kabando who was vying on a Narc Kenya party managed 23,147 votes.
Wamatinga, a first timer in elective politics promised to work closely with all the other elected leaders in the county to ensure that the people of Nyeri are well represented and get quality services from the elected leaders.
“I would like to make my personal commitment to the people of Nyeri that I will make a difference. I will start dialogue with other leaders so that we can work for the betterment of Nyeri. People want development and representation and we can only do that if we have a leadership style that is more participatory,” said Wamatinga in his victory speech at the Nyeri National Polytechnic County Tallying centre.
Rahab Mukami, who replaced Priscilla Nyokabi in 2017 as Nyeri’s Woman Representative beat eight other aspirants to retain her seat.
Mukami, a UDA candidate garnered, 200,165 votes leaving her closest competitors with over 150,000 votes.Ann Wanjuhi, an independent candidate came in second after she got 18,373 votes while businesswoman, Priscilla Wambaire came in third with 15,518 votes.
The position had attracted the interest of the former Nyeri first lady and the wife of the late governor Nderitu Gachagua, Margaret Karungaru, who opted out of the UDA party and ran as an independent candidate. Karungaru managed 6,491 votes putting her in sixth position. The Jubilee Party candidate, Njeri Njoori was ninth with 4,475 votes.
In her acceptance speech, Mukami thanked the people of Nyeri for giving her another chance to serve them for the second time.She also thanked the electorate for supporting the UDA party aspirants despite coming under criticism for failing to side with the Jubilee Party.
The County Returning Officer, Annastacia Mutua while expressing her appreciation for the cooperation between the electoral body, the aspirants and the security team, asked the elected leaders to embrace those who had lost in the elections. She challenged the politicians to work together for the unity of the country.
By Wangari Mwangi and Samuel Maina