Nyeri gubernatorial race – An analysis

1st Edition, 8th April, 2022

Nyeri ~ Tetû wa Gaaki. A county of firsts. The original home of Mau Mau liberation hero Dedan Kimathi Wachiuri. The county which undid the myth that Ûthamaki will never cross River Chania when Mwai Kibaki was sworn in as Kenya’s third president in December 2002. Also, the only county in Kenya that will be swearing in a 5th governor as the rest of the counties do their 2nd, 3rd or 4th boss in August this year.

Here, an interesting race is shaping up; narrowing down to three candidates and this is how it looks like at the moment:

1. Mwalimu Mutahi Kahiga ~ The incumbent and the most controversial of them all. One day, he is in a classroom battling chalk dust, the next minute he is being sworn in as a governor. He is the UDA candidate. Every time I try to understand his story, I end up concluding that this man is total mystery. For a chalk and syllabus wielding son of a peasant to have risen from rags to become the governor of Nyeri, Edward Mutahi Kahiga is either a genius or a direct beneficiary of the most intricate political conspiracy ever hatched in Nyîrî. Kahiga arrived unannounced following the death of his boss Dr. Wahome Gakuru. Many people underestimated him. But today, he is comfortably defending his seat, having cut his own niche. His candidature is doing quite well at the moment. The way his modus operandi resonates with locals is magical. He is also enjoying the UDA wave currently sweeping the mountain. However, Kahiga suffers from the vagaries of not being a decisive man. He is never sure of anything. He has also been a subject of direct attacks from his Senator. His management of the Nyeri for the past 4 years has not been very impressive. There is also a silently told story that he is a mere puppet of the influential Gachagua family. And then, there are the ghosts of his former boss Dr. Wahome Gakuru which keep on haunting him. Just this week, Kahiga was a man under siege for his unfulfilled promises to the Gakuru family. The Gakuru story is actually threatening to swallow Kahiga for good. How he maneuvers this, only time will tell. In short, Kahiga is a man with it all yet without it all.

2. Senator Ephraim Maina ~ The famous engineer of Kirinyaga Constructions Ltd whose money everyone acknowledges can boil a tank of githeri as firewood. A man whose English teacher appears to have disappointed big time. No Nyerian suffers a heavier accent and linguistic derailment that Engineer Ephraim. But that small handicap should not confuse you on who Ephraim Maina really is. A serious grassroots mobilizer, Ephraim enjoys a serious financial war chest and unmatched experience. And a few days ago, Ephraim appears to have decided to deal with critics who describe him as too old to govern Nyeri by going for youthful and brilliant AGM Gakuru, the former Personal Assistant to Dr. Wahome Gakuru currently serving as a Director of the President’s Delivery Unit, as his running-mate. Even before Ephraim hits the campaign trail, his ratings look good and his teaming up with Gakuru has caused quite some stir. The ticket also seems to have solved the thorny regional balance question with Ephraim coming from Mathira while Gakuru is from Mukurweini constituency. Question is, will this card, which no one saw coming, work? Time. Time.

3. Dr. Thuo Mathenge ~ No doubt the underdog in this contest. Extremely wealthy, Thuo enjoys a wide network from the beneficiaries of his mega investments all domiciled in Nyeri. Yet, there is something about him that does not add up. His candidature lacks vigour, colour, and taste. It’s too flat. It evokes zero emotions. And then, to complicate things further, he seems to be courting another colourless & mojo~less political non-starter called Jimmy Kibaki; a guy whose mere demeanor scares several votes at first sight. If Thuo is to win this thing, then he needs to do a complete overhaul of his campaign strategy and approach.

And that folks is how the Nyîrî looks like; at least for now. If there is another aspirant outside this list still dreaming of being governor, then my advice remains simple. Instead of wasting your time, energy and resources, be like me. Simama kwako kwa bedroom, kwa kitanda, ukianguka uangukie mtu ama ulale.

Makasiriko itumwe P.O. Box 16925 ~ 00100, The Chronicles Main Shrine, Tari Nduîkushire, Kirinyaga County.

© Mr Chronicles Alvan Kinyua, C.G.P. 2022