I’m eyeing Nyandarua governor’s seat — Francis Kimemia

Former Secretary to the Cabinet and Head of the Civil Service, Francis Kimemia.

The race to unseat Nyandarua governor Daniel Waithaka Mwangi is heating up with the entry of former Secretary to the Cabinet and Head of the Civil Service, Francis Kimemia.

Governor Waithaka, who was in November last year accused of cohabiting with one Bishop Rahab Muthoni

— accusations he vehemently denied

— is also facing challenge from his own deputy, Mwangi Kirika.

The governor has had differences with Kirika who accuses Waithaka of not delegating duties.

“I am going for nothing less than the top seat. The county has lagged behind in terms of development because we do not work as a team. The governor has been leading single-handedly,” Kirika told The Nairobian.

Besides Kimemia and his deputy, governor Waithaka also has to contend with political first-timer, Dr Simon Kanyingi, whose Twitter account claims that he’s “a veterinarian, entrepreneur, born and bred in Nyandarua, no nonsense and anti-corruption crusader.”

Dr Kanyingi will be gunning for the governor’s seat alongside five MPs come 2017. They include  Waweru Ndiritu (Ndaragwa), JM Waiganjo (Ol Jororok), Samuel Gichigi (Kipipiri), David Kiaraho (Ol Kalou) and Mburu Kinyanjui (Kinangop).

Hon Waweru has accused governor Waithaka of neglecting his constituency and instead ‘taking development to Kinangop.’

 Waithaka, a career accountant who owns Nyahururu Elite Schools, will face his biggest possible challenge in Kimemia.

Though publicly mute on his candidacy, the loaded and well-connected Kimemia (who left the government after an April 2015 reshuffle of the Cabinet by President Uhuru Kenyatta) has been traversing the region attending church fund-raisers and other public functions.

 “We are going for the governor’s seat,” Kimemia said two weeks ago at the Ol Kalou Catholic Church, adding that, “What we are now doing is laying the groundwork.” 

But undaunted by his opponents, Governor Waithaka is confident of retaining his seat considering that “my development record speaks for its self, such as infrastructure like roads and the Sh1.2 billion pumped into healthcare since 2013.”

The governor dared his opponents: “Let them come, but I am sure Nyandarua people are the ones to decide. I can for sure predict a victory in the elections.”

He explained that, “Farmers are now able to deliver their produce to the market on time since the roads are now in very good condition. This is unlike in the past before I took over power.” 

The Bachelor of Commerce alumnus of the University of Nairobi told The Nairobian that, “Now, we have better hospitals with good equipment and enough staff. I want my opponents to challenge me on this.” 

Nyandarua residents would no doubt vote for a candidate who promises to improve education and agriculture, including the revival of pyrethrum, potato packaging and dairy sectors.

While Governor Waithaka’s administration offered subsidised seedlings, marketing of pyrethrum still poses a challenge. “We want leaders who have connections where the market of this product is,” says Rose Wanjugu, a farmer from Kiboya in Ndaragwa.

Nyandarua political analyst, Martin Waichungo, posits that Kinangop with over 80,000 registered voters, will be a political harvest constituency for any candidate and that the entry of former Finance Minister Amos Kimunya and former Ndaragwa MP Jeremiah Kioni could be game changers. The two have however not announced their candidacies.