Governor Joseph Ndathi addresses a hastily convened press conference outside his Kutus town office on Tuesday. [Photo:Munene Kamau, Standard]
Kirinyaga Governor Joseph Ndathi yesterday refused to concede defeat in the Jubilee Party primaries with nearly 75 per cent of results showing he was trailing two front-runners.
By yesterday afternoon, Mr Ndathi was trailing former Devolution Cabinet Secretary Anne Waiguru and Kirinyaga Central MP Joseph Gitari who were neck and neck.
Results from three of the four constituencies in the county indicated that Waiguru was slightly ahead of Gitari by 1,000 votes as delay in the recount of votes in populous Mwea dragged into the night.
Voting in Mwea, the largest constituency in the county, was delayed till late in the night on Monday due to late arrival of voting materials. Some areas started voting at 7pm.
In the initial results, Ms Waiguru was leading with 52,185 followed closely by Gitari who had 47,233 while Ndathi had posted 10,216.
The winner in the Jubilee nominations will face former Justice Minister Martha Karua in the August elections.
In the afternoon, an angry Waiguru stormed the Gichugu constituency tallying centre in Kianyaga accusing the officials of “trying to cook figures”.
“Gichugu finished voting on time and all the votes were counted, how come that they are yet to submit results 12 hours later? Let them not try any fishy business because will not accept.”
The former Cabinet Secretary took an early lead in Ndia, Mwea and her Gichugu backyard. Gitari led the race for most of the morning as results from polling centres trickled in slowly.
In a press conference outside his office, Ndathi said: “I have not conceded defeat. I will not accept the announcements of any winners because Jubilee is playing with our intelligence.
“You can have your day but the minority will not lose, we must have our say.”
The County Woman Representative Winnie Karimi also dismissed the nominations as a sham.
They declined to concede defeat citing the failure by Jubilee to address the issues they raised through a letter to the party prior to the repeat polls. The elections were to place on Friday but were cancelled and rescheduled over missing ballot papers.
“We either have a repeat to be overseen by an independent body or else think otherwise since we cannot accept bungled nominations,” they declared.
The two claimed the nominations on Monday were neither free nor fair since members of a wealthy family were calling the shots although they had raised concerns with the Jubilee headquarters on Saturday.
Ndathi maintained he has tangible evidence to support his claims against the said family, and dared it to take any legal action should it feel aggrieved.
“We made sure we sent a hand delivered letter to the Jubilee headquarters and also sent the same through the various social media outlets including email but to our surprise no response has been forthcoming,” Ndathi said.
In a hastily convened press conference outside his Kutus town offices, Ndathi accused the party of failing to listen to their cries.
The two said they were consulting widely with their political advisers and supporters with a view to taking a common ground before the May 1 deadline for the nominations.
“How can you send in party nomination ballot papers without serial numbers and also ballot papers which are just photocopies?” he asked.