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Uhuru visit a referendum on Central Kenya governors as political punches thrown

President Uhuru Kenyatta’s visit to Central Kenya turned out to be a referendum on governors from the region and a chance for rivals to throw political punches at one another.

Crowds booed those they did not like and cheered others, to the chagrin of Mr Kenyatta.

On Monday, Laikipia Governor Joshua Irungu was booed by youths waving placards in support of former county secretary John Mwaniki.

They shouted down the governor at Nanyuki Central Park when Deputy President William Ruto asked him to greet the people.

Without mentioning anyone, Mr Irungu said his rivals gave the youths cash to jeer him.

“It is unbelievable that they paid the young people to ensure top county leaders were humiliated,” the governor said in a statement released by his assistant, John Wambugu.

In Kirinyaga, Governor Joseph Ndathi blamed the booing that greeted him on Tuesday on “a political enemy”.

Mr Ndathi said the motive for the heckling was to portray him in bad light.

“My political enemy who is a local tycoon planned to portray me as unpopular but he did not succeed,” the county boss said.

WAIGURU, GITARI CHEERED

His competitors, Anne Waiguru and Kirinyaga Central MP Joseph Gitari were cheered as was Woman Rep hopeful Wangui Ngirichi.

Mr Ndathi said the youths “who were mobilised from all corners of the region” were later paid at Kaitheri Polytechnic, Kerugoya Stadium and Kagumo Town.

In Murang’a, supporters of Governor Mwangi Wa Iria and Kigumo MP Jamleck Kamau clashed at General Kago Stadium minutes before the President’s chopper landed.

Trouble began when Mr Kamau’s supporters were denied access to the stadium for wearing T-shirts and shirts bearing his name and portrait.

They chided the police “for discriminating against us” after Mr Wa Iria’s supporters were allowed into the stadium.

Attempts by the area leaders to calm supporters of the two rivals bore no fruit.

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