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Nakuru Jubilee aspirants in tight race as tallying nears close

Nakuru governor aspirant and former MP Lee Kinyanjui has maintained a lead in the race for the Jubilee Party ticket polling 223,583 votes against Governor Kinuthia Mbugua’s 139,734 as at 3:30pm on Thursday.

The results were received at the Nakuru ASK Showground tallying centre from ten constituencies out of the 11 in Nakuru County.

Mr Kinyanjui, the former chairman of the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) and a former assistant minister in the Mwai Kibaki government had taken an early lead by Thursday morning, even in some polling stations in Mr Mbugua’s strongholds.

Unless Mr Mbugua manages more than 50,000 from Molo and Njoro whose results are yet to be announced, he will join the list of governors who will be sent home in the crucial Jubilee nominations.

The race has proved to be a titanic one, shaping into a two-horse race for the two, with the third contestant for the Jubilee Party ticket – former Nacada boss who is also former Naivasha MP, Mr John Mututho, trailing.

The county has 900 polling stations and early results from various polling centres indicated that Mr Kinuthia was headed for a defeat after failing to garner votes in his critical stronghold areas.

KINYANJUI AHEAD

Mr Kinyanjui was leading in most of Mr Mbugua’s strongholds in Naivasha, Molo, Kuresoi, Rongai, Gilgil and Bahati while in Nakuru Town where he draws his largest support, he had also taken an early command.

In the race for the Senate ticket, Nakuru’s iron lady, County Assembly Speaker Susan Kihika, led by a wide margin against her closest competitions – peace activist Andew Yatich and lawyer Karanja Kabage.

Ms Kihika put a strong campaign for the senate seat from 2016 and gave her rivals a strong contest.

Former Subukia MP Koigi Wa Wamwere, who folded his Chama Cha Mwananchi party in September 2016 to join Jubilee, is also in the race.

Others are Mr John Njenga Mungai, Mambo Josepha Wambui, Andrew Yatich Cherogony, Davynisius Matagaro Omae and Jackson Wachira Waihenya.

Described as the iron lady of Nakuru County, Ms Kihika has fulfilled predictions showing her as the front runner for the senate seat and it remains to be seen by what margin she will beat her male competitors.

KIHIKA KIMANI

If she clinches the Jubilee Party ticket, the daughter of veteran politician Kihika Kimani will join the growing list of women heavyweights who trounced their male opponents in the tightly contested Jubilee Party ticket race.

In the constituencies, several Nakuru MPs have taken a mighty fall.

In Naivasha, the incumbent Mr John Kihagi lost the nominations after his closest rival, former MP Jayne Kihara, beating him to secure the party’s ticket.

Ms Kihara garnered 21,111 votes against Mr Kihagi’s 8,225.

Mr Ndegwa Nguthiru polled 15,312 coming in second.

Mr Kihagi conceded defeat on Thursday morning after his opponent took the lead by a wide margin.

In Njoro, the MP Joseph Kiuna also lost the battle for the party’s ticket to Kenya Literature Bureau board member, Ms Charity Kathambi Chepkwony.

CELEBRATION

Nakuru Town West MP Samuel Arama and his Nakuru East counterpart David Gikaria broke into celebration at midday Thursday after the poll results indicated they had taken a lead against their competitions.

For the Kuresoi South parliamentary seat, Mr Joseph Kipkosgei led the race garnering 12,221 votes against his closest competition, Dr Peter Ketyenya who secured 10,654 votes.

Mr Tonui, a former Knut official will now battle it out with Chama Cha Mashinani (CCM) candidate, Mr Zakayo Cheruiyot.

Mr Cheruiyot, alongside Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto, fell out with Deputy President William Ruto and have been regular critics of the latter.

In Kuresoi North, the incumbent Moses Cheboi also secured the party ticket, polling 21,728 votes, trouncing his three rivals, Ms Evelyn Chepkurui Milgo who polled 6,247 votes, Mr Joel Amenya Ayieni (4,096) and Mr James Mugo Kariuki with 694 votes.

In the woman representative’s race, the incumbent, Ms Mary Mbugua, was given a rough contest by Nominated Senator Lisa Chelule and Ms Zipporah Karani.

Reporting by Caroline Wafula, Francis Mureithi, Eric Matara, Magdalene Wanja, Joseph Openda and Reitz Mureithi.

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