The decision by the Senate Majority Leader Kithure Kindiki to endorse Chuka/Igambang’ombe MP Muthomi Njuki to unseat Thaka Nithi Governor Samuel Ragwa has marked the genesis of his political woes.
The move by the senator angered Mr Ragwa, who immediately endorsed Mr Kiambi Matanka, philanthropist Nairobi businessman and Senator Kindiki’s 2013 campaign manager, who had already declared interest in the seat.
Following this political alliance, Mr Matanka has been able to win the hearts of nearly all the 68,729 registered voters in Mr Ragwa’s home constituency, Maara, and is likely to receive an overwhelming support in the August 8 polls.
On the other hand, Mr Njuki has rallied his 76,482 registered voters in Chuka/Igambang’ombe behind Prof Kindiki to return the favour.
This has left the two contenders to battle it out for 67,935 votes in Tharaka Constituency, where the two come from and have almost equal command.
Speaking during a recent campaign rally at Kiereni market in Chuka/Igambang’ombe, Prof Kindiki said he is aware of the political consequences of endorsing Mr Njuki but is set to bear them.
“If endorsing my friend MP Njuki for governorship would cost me re-election, let it be,” he said, adding that as a senior person in government, he was compelled to support all Jubilee Party candidates for August 8, polls.
Prof Kindiki has also been endorsed by Woman Representative Beatrice Nkatha, Tharaka MP Mburi Muiru and his Maara counterpart Kareke Mbiuki.
Mr Matanka is enjoying support from 14 out of 15 sitting members of Tharaka-Nithi County Assembly, the Speaker and woman representative hopeful Tabitha Mbungu, among others.
The controversy surrounding the development of Kathwana market in Igambang’ombe ward as the county’s seat of power is another setback to Prof Kindiki’s re-election bid, for he is being accused of presiding over a plot to relocate it to Chuka town though he has always denied the allegations.
Igambang’ombe ward residents argue that as the Senate Majority Leader, Prof Kindiki has made sure that all the development projects from national government and which should be at the county headquarters, including the Huduma centre, the High Court and sports stadium among others are established in Chuka town.
This controversy was likely to deny the senator a big chunk of 15,108 votes, which is a plus to his rival, who is also the contractor working on the Sh366 million county headquarters building and has used the opportunity to build big rapport with the residents.
In his campaign, Mr Matanka accuses the Senator of failing to honour development pledges they made during campaign trails and that was why he opted to vie against him.
But Prof Kindiki has dismissed these as political gimmicks.
“I already have a legacy of being the first politician to promise a road project during campaigns and fulfil it in the first term.”