Devolution Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri has sent the strongest indication yet that he could be seeking an elective position in Laikipia County in the General Election.
The minister confirmed having presented the list of campaign fund managers to the electoral commission before the December 8, deadline in line with Election Campaigns Financing Act.
“Yes. I returned the forms,” he told Nation on Tuesday outside Laikipia county commissioner’s office after attending a leaders’ meeting.
Close associates in Nanyuki said Mr Kiunjuri presented the papers to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) office in Nyahururu days before the deadline and was likely to go for the county governor’s seat.
Political parties and aspirants hoping to contest in the 2017 election were expected to submit lists of the fund managers and bank accounts to the commission by December 8.
On numerous occasions, Mr Kiunjuri has denied publicly that he is interested in any political seat.
He has also said that he will not support any of the aspirants who have so far declared interest in the governor’s seat since all of them are his friends.
The possibility of the CS running for the governor’s seat has caused jitters among the six aspirants eying the position. They include former Foreign Affairs Permanent Secretary Thuita Mwangi, former assistant Minister Ndiritu Muriithi and incumbent Joshua Irungu.
BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD
Others are former county secretary John Mwaniki, deputy governor Gitonga Kabugi and James Mathenge.
“With the coming of Kiunjuri into the race we must go back to the drawing board,” a confidant of Governor Irungu said.
Mr Muriithi said while it is Mr Kiunjuri’s constitutional right to seek any office, he should concentrate on campaigning for President Uhuru Kenyatta’s re-election instead of focusing on local politics.
“Those in government are expected to stand for the government and focus on Uhuru’s re-election instead of having one leg in government and another in local politics,” he said.
However, Mr Mwaniki welcomed Mr Kiunjuri saying his presence in the contest will not affect his votes.
In 2013, Mr Kiunjuri lost to the incumbent by more than 40,000 despite having served as Laikipia East MP for 15 years.
But the political tide has since changed and his clout in the region’s politics restored. During President Kenyatta’s recent tour of Nanyuki, the CS was greeted with wild cheering.
“A lot of things have gone wrong and that’s why we want Kiunjuri back. We regret our failure not to have elected him,” Nanyuki businessman Thomas Gachara said.
That the return of Mr Kiunjuri to active politics in Laikipia would be a game changer in the region’s politics is a reality that the contenders are coming to terms with.