Maina Njenga. (Photo: George Njunge/Standard)
The Jubilee Party has rejected nomination papers from former Mungiki leader Maina Njenga.
While supporters expressed dismay at the move by the party headquarters, critics said the action was an indication that JP believed in integrity.
Others claimed that Njenga was a seen as an Opposition sympathiser and could not therefore be cleared to vie for the Laikipia Senate seat on a Jubilee party ticket.
“JP will not clear Njenga to use its party ticket to vie in Laikipia. That’s good news, he better try ODM where (Raila) Odinga is his frontman after all,” Mithamo Michiri noted in a Facebook post.
Another resident who sought anonymity termed the rejection as ‘Mahoya ma aciari” (parents’ prayers) noting that Njenga was a leader of a proscribed gang that was blamed of killing so many youth.
“The prayers are being answered. He led a killer gang that enlisted youths, hence making them easy targets to police bullets,” said the source.
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However, Max Mwangi wrote on Laikipia County Facebook page: “There is a plan to eliminate Njenga from Laikipia county Senatorial seat by some, not all, called haters’ within jubilee, but it is better for them to understand that this time round, do not attempt to, because we are armed with our vote”.
The rejection of Njenga’s nomination papers for Laikipia Senatorial seat has however come as a game changer for campaigners for the position which is occupied by Kenya’s oldest Senator G.G Kariuki.
Apart from Maina, others who intended to take the mantle and may now re-plan their political duel is Simon Mithamo, a Nairobi businessman who also operates mega businesses in Laikipia, Kariuki, Laikipia County Assembly Assistant clerk Samuel Kabuchua and real estate mogul Douglas Kiguru among others.
By Friday, the Laikipia ground appeared to be torn between Kariuki, Mithamo and Njenga, and the decision by JP headquarters is likely to change campaign strategies.
But with the Friday’s declaration by Jubilee Party to reject Njenga’s nomination papers, the competition has now shifted to between the incumbent, Kariuki and Mithamo.
Residents said that although Kariuki has declared he will run for the position, his advanced age may not give him the vigour to run county affairs.
“He is insisting that he is strong, but Laikipia is expansive and it requires a young blood. Right now we are having the problem of invasions which have caused us great losses and if we had able leaders I am sure the illegal grazers would have been evicted,” said Isaack Lemelu from Rumuruti.