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Former MPs get political lifeline after primaries

From left: Embu Senator Lenny Kivuti, former Minister Njeru Ndwiga and Governor Martin Wambora, among other leaders and aspirants at an Embu hotel on Thursday (PHOTO: JOSEPH MUCHIRI/STANDARD)

The party nominations have given a lifeline to politicians who have been out in the cold.

Former MPs Amos Kimunya, Jayne Kihara, Fred Kapondi, Maoka Maore, Njeru Ndwiga, Margaret Kamar and Joshua Kuttuny secured Jubilee Party tickets to contest parliamentary seats.

And former Galole MP Dhadho Godana, who lost in 2013, has clinched the ODM ticket to contest the Tana River governorship.

Mr Kimunya, a once-powerful Finance minister in President Mwai Kibaki’s government, secured the ruling party’s nomination to vie for the Kipipiri parliamentary seat.

He beat five other contenders among them Kipipiri MP Samuel Gichigi, his one-time personal assistant who defeated him in 2013.

Kimunya polled 16,479 votes against his closest rival Gichigi’s 5,998 votes.

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Thankless voters

In 2013, when it was announced at the tallying centre that Kimunya had lost, he wrote a letter to residents describing them as thankless for voting him out after two terms.

Yesterday, a joyful Kimunya thanked the people of Kipipiri for voting him back.

“This was just a midterm break I was on. I am now back at the helm and my leadership will see Kipipiri constituency develop. We should forget the past now,” he said in Miharati township after being announced the winner.

Elsewhere, Anglo Leasing whistle blower Maoka Maore toppled Igembe North MP Joseph M’Eruaki for the JP ticket to vie for the constituency seat.

Mr Maore polled 13,115 votes against the first term MP’s 8,658 votes.

Ms Kihara also bounced back and is now in the race for the Naivasha parliamentary seat. She dethroned MP John Kihagi to secure the ticket.

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Hours before the tallying exercise ended, Kihagi, who performed dismally, conceded defeat and thanked local voters for giving him a chance to serve them.

Kihara was declared the winner with 21,111 votes ahead of Ndegwa Nguthiru who had 15,312 votes. Kihagi got 8,225 votes.

Kihara served in Parliament between 2007 and 2013, and was at one point Environment assistant minister. She would later ditch Martha Karua’s Narc Kenya for Jubilee Party.

Mr Ndwiga, a former Co-operatives Development and Marketing minister, is also on course to become possibly the next Embu senator.

Ndwiga carried the day with 56,305 votes against Geoffrey Kiringa’s 30,183 and Alexander Munyi’s 6,630.

He served as MP for Manyatta between 2002 and 2007.

In Cherangany, former President Jomo Kenyatta’s adviser Joshua Kuttuny polled 14,396 votes against MP Wesley Korir’s 8,058 votes.

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Kuttuny lost the parliamentary seat in 2013 to Korir who ran as an independent candidate.

Kuttuny had been elected in 2007 on an Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) ticket but he later defected to join William Ruto’s United Republican Party (URP) after he fell out with ODM leader Raila Odinga.

Mr Kapondi will face Kanu’s Mt Elgon MP John Serut, who dislodged him in 2013. During his tenure in Parliament, Kapondi had run-ins with the Government over conflict in the region.

Margaret Kamar, the former Eldoret East MP and Higher Education minister, was among those who did not secure an elective position after she expressed interest in the Uasin Gishu governorship under ODM in 2013.

She was trounced by Jackson Mandago, a newcomer at the time who sailed through on the URP wave in the region. Prof Kamar emerged second.

She has however made a comeback after clinching a Jubilee Party ticket for the county’s senatorial seat on Tuesday.

ODM wave

Kamar served for one term when she was elected in 2007, also following a wave of ODM support that swept across the Rift Valley region.

Prior to that, she had been nominated to the East African Legislative Assembly between 2001 and 2006.

But the old-timers are not assured of victory yet as they still have to battle it out with competitors from other parties.

Their advantage lies in the fact that they have won the tickets of parties perceived as popular in their respective regions and are therefore considered to already have one foot in the august House.

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