By Ndungu Gachane
Gaturi by elections was closely monitored by political pundits in Mt Kenya region especially the Tanga Tanga and Kieleweke factions of Jubilee government due to the obvious reasons.
For supporters of Deputy President William Ruto, this was an important seat as it would have sent signals that the perceived support of the region for his quest for Presidency was hot air while to those who support Dr Ruto, the win would not only warn President Kenyatta that the ground was changing but also cement Dr Ruto’s influence in the region.
The win by Ms Esther Mwihaki a candidate for Gatundu South lawmaker Moses Kuria’s little known PEP party was a big blow to Uhuru Kenyatta led government and his lieutenants and a major win for MP Kuria and those allied to Dr Ruto in the region.
But what went wrong? While Mr Kuria was crisscrossing the Ward and taking full charge of the campaigns, using MP Ndindi Nyoro’s staff to do the needful and to quietly ‘take cover’ during the election day, President Kenyatta allied leaders sent their subordinates to act as chief agents and sat in the periphery probably waiting to hear a positive report from the ground.
Muranga Women Representative Wanjiru Chege’s PA Liz Mbugua and Athi Water Services Board Betty Maina were the ‘bosses’ and the representatives of the ‘government’. At one time, they were overheard telling tales on how they could deliver the Gaturi seat.
Little did the two know that their desires and missions were short-lived, after meeting face to face with Mp Nyoro at Gaitheri Primary School, they were tricked by the eloquent, determined and cunning MP who requested them to join him at his home promising them ripe mangoes and hot porridge.
They were first taken round at Gaitheri Priamary School to inspect how Mheshimiwa Ndindi Nyoro populary known for his slogan Kunyorokia Kiharu had given the school a serious facelift with tiles before they embarked on a mango eating and hot porridge drinking spree.
They could not turn down the request, they were too excited to have MP invite them at his home, and in fact they left their black fuel guzzler at Gaitheri polling center and joined the MP on foot as his home which is a stone throw away, could you turn down such a request? Then you should not blame them for the loss of Jubilee party.
Whether the promises were fulfilled or not, we can’t authoritatively tell, but as they probably sipped hot porridge accompanied by grafted mangoes, Mr Kuria and Mr Nyoro’s team were on a charm offensive mission to capture the seat which they proudly did as was later announced by the electoral agency officials at Gaturi Girls High School which acted as the tallying center.
Other reasons attributed to a sounding defeat of Jubilee were disunity and lack of coordination between the different players who went to campaign for their candidate Rose Mary Wakuthii. For example Governor Mwangi Wa Iria and Senator Irungu Kangata staged a lone campaign in one day to drum up support for Ms Wakuthii.
PS Irungu Wairagu who visited the Ward in the guise of inspecting water projects too lacked the face of elected leaders in Muranga who would have convinced locals to vote for the ruling party’s candidate.
Financial angle is also one of the contributing factors as it is touted that those who were given the campaign money decided to ‘eat’ it while Tanga Tanga were faithful and committed to get the seat and could not help but being loyal.
And after failing to deliver, the Jubilee honchos are now engaging in blame game where they are accusing each other of the loss.